Have you ever tried drying flowers?
Successfully drying one of your favorite flowers is such a joy.
Some flowers look even better when they are dried.
There are many options for drying flowers; air drying is the simplest. Then, of course, there's pressing.
If you've never tried sand drying a bloom, you should give it a shot. Just fill a microwave-safe container with a layer of silica sand. Put the flower on top of the sand and then bury the bloom in the sand. Place the bloom along with a cup of water in the microwave. Heat in microwave in 30-second increments. Your flower should be dried in 2-3 minutes.
#OTD On this day in 1842, Asa Gray arrived at Harvard.
He didn't have to start teaching until the following spring. Gray wasn't a great speaker, but he was respected by his peers and his students for his knowledge.
#OTD It's the anniversary of the death of the physician and botanist Hugh Algernon Weddell, who died on this day in 1877.
Weddell specialized in South American flora, and he collected specimens there for five years.
Before he left Paris, Weddell was asked to look into the Cinchona, or "fever bark" tree. Cinchona is the source of quinine.
Weddell did the job. He found multiple regions where the tree grew. Also, he discovered fifteen species of the genus Cinchona (Rubiaceae). Weddell returned to Paris with the seeds, and they were germinated in the botanical garden there. Weddell's seeds helped establish the Cinchona forests that were brought to Java and other islands in the East Indies.
#OTD It's the birthday of Cornelius Herman ("Neil") Muller, the American botanist and ecologist, who was born on this day in 1909.
Muller pioneered the study of allelopathy. Allelopathy occurs when one plant species release chemical compounds that affect another plant species.
Most Gardeners know that black walnut is an example of allelopathy. In addition to the leaves, black walnut trees store allopathic chemicals in their buds, in the hulls of the walnuts, and their roots.
#OTD Today, in 1938, the St. Cloud Times ran a story about Miss Louise Klein Miller.
Miller, at the age of 84, was retiring as supervisor of Cleveland's Memorial Gardens - after supervising them for over a quarter of a century.
The first woman to attend Cornell University's school of forestry, Miller became the landscape architect for Cleveland schools; she was the only female landscape architect working in an extensive city school system.
Collinwood is a neighborhood on the east side of Cleveland. On Ash Wednesday, March 4, 1908, the Collinwood school fire became one of the country's biggest tragedies.
The school had only two exits. The construction created a chimney effect; the school became a fire trap. Almost half of the children in the building died.
In 1910, Louise Klein Miller planned the Memorial Gardens to honor the 172 children, two teachers, and one rescuer who died in the blaze.
The year before, in 1909, the Ohio General Assembly passed legislation that, "a memorial should stand in perpetuity to honor those who lost their lives in this school fire tragedy.”
The memorial is comprised of a large square planting bed is rimmed 3.5-foot walls made of concrete that is tiled — the plantable area of the memorial measures roughly 20’ x 40’. There's also a deep bench around the perimeter, and the walls are slanted to make seating more comfortable. The downside is that the bench and the scale of the raised bed make access to the planting area is sometimes very challenging.
During Miller's era, students grew flowers in a school greenhouse for the Memorial.
Over 70 years, the garden fell into neglect. 2018 was the 110th Anniversary of the Collinwood School Fire; there have been a few attempts to make sure that the garden continues to be a meaningful memorial. The struggle to maintain the Memorial continues.
In July of 1910, there was an article in the Santa Cruz newspaper that described the new memorial garden - which at the time included a large lily pond:
"There was a poet who said he sometimes thought that never blows so red the rose as where some buried Caesar bled;
That every hyacinth the garden wears, drops in her lap from some once lovely head.
Then there will never be lilies so fair as those that will bloom in the lily pond that is to be on the site of the Collinwood school."
"Our fear of death is like our fear that summer will be short, but when we have had our swing of pleasure, our fill of fruit, and our swelter of heat, we say we have had our day."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
This gorgeous book features 20 unique British gardens and people who own and manage them. The book is photographed by Hugo Rittson-Thomas and written by Victoria Summerley, both of whom live in this part of England. Their combined knowledge and love of these gardens shines through in their depictions of each garden, and the families blessed to call them part of their home. Beginning with the book cover, the pictures are gorgeous, and the garden stories include their fascinating pasts as well as the recent story of each property.
This is a lovely book.
Today's Garden Chore
Prepare a spot in your garden shed, garage, pantry, or kitchen for drying flowers.
Repurpose pot rack or do something simple like string some twine between some eye hooks. Sometimes just creating space can inspire you to take some cuttings and bring beautiful blooms indoors. One of my favorite pictures from my garden is a single row of hydrangea cuttings drying upside down in my kitchen. Bliss.
Reviving the little botanic spark in your heart
While researching Louise Klein Miller, I ran across a delightful story about her time teaching horticulture:
"Miller had been telling a crowd of pupils about the different insects that arrack plants, and warned them especially against the malevolent San Jose scale. She suggested that they go to tho school library and get a book about it and read of Its habits and the remedy for checking its career.
One young woman went to the librarian the next morning, and said she wanted something about the San Jose scale.
"without even looking up from her desk, the Librarian said, "Go to the music department."
Thanks for listening to the daily gardener,
"For a happy, healthy life, garden every day."
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