July 19, 2019 Marjoram vs Oregano, Caroline Dormon, John Macoun, Philip Moffitt, The Wild Garden by William Robinson, Rick Darke, Visit Public Gardens, and Robert Fenton

What’s the Difference Between Oregano and Marjoram?

If you've grown both, you know they look quite similar, and they are often confused for one another. But, when it comes to flavor and taste, it is easy to tell them apart.

Oregano tends to be earthy, pungent, and spicy. It can easily overpower the other flavors in a dish. To subdue the pungency, cooks recommend using the dried form of oregano.

On the other hand, marjoram is milder. Use that alliteration to help you remember, Mild Marjoram. Marjoram’s flavor is more refined; it's floral and woodsy. Because marjoram is sweeter and milder, chefs recommend using fresh marjoram instead of dried marjoram for cooking.




#OTD It's the birthday of the naturalist, botanist, ornithologist, prizewinning horticulturist, painter, archaeologist, historian, author of six books, and a proud daughter of the great state of Louisiana: Caroline Dormon.

Her friends called her "Carrie."

Carrie was a tiny woman; she was also a powerhouse; she formed her own opinions and ideas about the natural world, and she always wore dresses; she thought pants were quite scandalous.

Carrie was born at her family's summer home called Briarwood

In the 1920s at Briarwood, Carrie built a writing cabin she called Three Pines because of the trio of tall pines around it. Carrie told her friends it was a place for daydreams.

In the 1950s, a second cabin was built at Briarwood. Carrie liked to take the screens off the windows every spring so wrens could build nests inside.

At Briarwood, Carrie installed trails through the woods, planted hundreds of plants, and she even installed a reflecting pool for "Grandpappy" - her favorite tree on the property.

Grandpappy is a longleaf pine, and he's still alive today. Grandpappy is estimated to be over 300 years old.

There's a story about Grandpappy that Carrie used to share with visitors. Once a forester wanted to "core" Grandpappy to determine a more exact age for the tree. Carrie stopped him and said, "It's none of your business how old Grandpappy is, or how old I am for that matter."




#OTD On this day in 1920, John Macoun, one of Canada's leading botanists, passed away. He was 90 years old.

Here's a little story he shared about Macoun's early life, growing up in Ireland:

"We had a garden well fenced in. She encouraged us to spend our idle time in it... I seemed to prefer taking an old knife and going out to the fields and digging up flowers and bringing them in and making a flower garden of my own. I only remember primroses and the wild hyacinth.

Another characteristic was the power of seeing. I could find more strawberries and more birds' nests ... than any other boy."

After arriving in Canada, Macoun had started out as a farmer. In 1856, he became a school teacher, partly to nourish his nearly "obsessive" interest in botany, but also to find a more balanced life. Macoun wrote that before teaching,

"I had never had more than one holiday in the year, and that was Christmas Day. [My brother] Frederick and I might take a day's fishing in the summer, but an eight-mile walk and scrambling along the river was not very restful."

Within five years, Macoun had begun regular correspondence with prominent botanists like Asa Gray and Sir William Hooker.

In Macoun's autobiography, there are many touching passages about his love of botany. Here's a little glimpse into how he cultivated his understanding of plants:

"I would take a common species of roadside or garden plant of which I knew the name and then immediately endeavor to work out its correct name from the classification.

The Mullein was the species that I took first. I found it more difficult than I had thought on account of its long and short stamens, but I soon came to understand the arrangement of the stamens and pistils so well that most plants could be classified by their form alone."

Once, Macoun was approached by his future father-in-law, who was a bit skeptical of Macoun's prospects. Macoun wrote,

" Simon Terrill, who was a well-known Quaker in that district, ... found me with a plant in my hand and said : "John, what dost thee ever expect to make out of the study of botany?"

I told him that I did not know but that it gave me a great deal of pleasure."



Unearthed Words

Flowers reflect the human search for meaning. Does not each of us, no matter how our life has gone, ache to have a life as beautiful and true to itself as that of a flower?

- Philip Moffitt



Today's book recommendation: The Wild Garden by William Robinson

Rick Darke updated this garden classic. At the time when Robinson first published the book, his natural vision for gardens was considered revolutionary. Today, we regard it as standard gardening.

In addition to the complete original text and illustrations from the 1895 edition, this expanded edition includes material from Rick Darke, the esteemed photographer and landscape consultant. Like Robinson, Darke seeks to show wild gardening in a modern context. The result is even more inspiration for today's wild gardens.



Today's Garden Chore

Schedule some time to visit public gardens.

This is a great activity to help inspire you to make some garden changes. And, if you're on vacation, make sure to include some public gardens.



Something Sweet
Reviving the little botanic spark in your heart

Today is the birthday of Landscape Architect Robert Fenton who was born in 1933.

Fenton was a Harvard grad, and he settled down in Pennsylvania.

While researching Fenton, it was impossible to avoid all the newspaper articles that covered a disagreement Fenton had with the city of Pittsburgh.

In 1965, Fenton was a young, 32-year-old Landscape Architect with an office at 6010 Centre Avenue. Newspaper accounts said he had wanted to "spruce up what he called a drab neighborhood in the East Liberty section." After trying for weeks to get permission from the City Forester Earl Blankenship, Fenton went ahead and planted the tree. Fenton told reporters that planting the tree was in line with President Johnson's thinking on beautification and that,

"If you try to get anything done through the city, you get, "no, no, no." So we decided to break up the sidewalk and put it in... hoping no one would notice. Unfortunately, the installation accidentally took out a parking meter.

Newspaper accounts shared that,

"In the dead of night, Fenton brought in a high lift, a 15-ton truck and five men. The tree he had selected was a beauteous 25-foot ash with a five-inch base and it cost Fenton $110 (in 1965). The total project cost Fenton $275.

The city departments took umbrage at Fenton's actions. After two weeks of discussions, the City Attorney David Stahl said the tree was cut down and hauled away by City Forester Earl Blankenship in the middle of the night. Fenton came to work and was shocked to discover the tree gone, cut down to the ground. Just days earlier, Fenton had told town reporters that,

"I think it's going to be so difficult to remove the tree that the city will let it stay and merely warn me not to let it happen again."

Newspaper accounts of this story were super punny:

Tree Goes, City Barks

Citizen on a Limb

Poetic Tale of a Tree Somehow Lacks Meter

A Tree Grew In...Violation

'Woodman Spare That Tree' Cry of Architect Falls on Deaf Ears

City Thinks Meter Lovelier Than Tree

Want Meter There and No Shady Deal

Today, if you look at the same spot on Google Earth, whaddya know? There's a tree growing in front of the building... but no meter.



Thanks for listening to the daily gardener,
and remember:
"For a happy, healthy life, garden every day."

Featured Book


The Daily Gardener Circle Logo with Signature

Ways to Connect with The Daily Gardener

What Listeners Say


"I just discovered you!
I googled garden podcasts and
I'm so glad I found the show.
I start every day with The Daily Gardener!"

"I love gardening.
I been gardening for over 40 years. 
A friend got me started on listening to gardening podcasts and yours just popped up. 
I am all the richer for it!"

"I've been a Still Growing podcast listener for years.

You are so welcoming and your voice is so soothing!
I love The Daily Gardener because it's different. I can't imagine how much work it is to make a show like this but I thank you for it."


"If you have a garden, a garden podcast, and a library,
you have everything you need."

Leave a Comment