Did you know that poppies were Christopher Lloyd's his favorite flower?
In his short essay about poppies, he introduces 'Goliath' poppies which grow to 4 feet tall and offer the largest blooms of any poppy.
Lloyd wrote about the blooms saying,
"They are rich crimson, which is as exciting as scarlet. In choosing plant neighbors to vie with it, I have been best pleased with an equally bright and pure yellow giant buttercup. Ranunculus acris ‘Stevenii.’ It is, however, shocking to discover that there are some gardeners (and non -gardeners) of congenitally weak and palsied constitution who do not like strong colors and who even pride themselves, as a class apart, on their good taste. The good-taste brigade can only think comfortably in terms of color harmonies and of soft and soothing pastel shades."
Oh, how it pains the heart to be called out by Christopher Lloyd, doesn't it?
Well, even though he thinks we're too meek when it comes to color in the garden, we are in violent agreement when it comes to procurement. You'll love this little snippet about how he came to own the poppy "Beauty Queen":
"I took a fancy to ‘Beauty Queen’ in a friend’s
garden in Scotland in June, when it was flowering,
and received permission to take a piece. When you see a plant that you must have, the answer to the question “Would you like some at the right time? should be “I’d rather have it now,” right time or not. Otherwise, the right time will surely slip by, the transference of the coveted piece from central Scotland to the south of England (or from California to Maine) will be in convenient, and all you’ll have is a gnawing gap in the pit of your wish-world."
#OTD It was on this day in 1703 that Daniel Defoe was made to stand in the pillory in front of the temple bar.
The pillory was basically a stockade; the hands and head would be caught between two large beams of wood. It was a horrible punishment. It was usually reserved for the most hideous crimes.
When Dafoe was convicted of sedition, the crowds did their best to show their support; they threw flowers at his feet instead of mud.
#OTD It’s the birthday of Mary Vaux Walcott born in Philadelphia today in 1860.
Gardeners know Walcott for her work as a botanical illustrator; she created meticulously accurate watercolors of plants and flowers. She is known as the "Audobon of botany".
Walcott became an illustrator one summer after being challenged to paint a rare blooming Arnica. Although her effort was only a modest success, it encouraged her to pursue the art. In that pursuit, she met Charles Doolittle Walcott. They were both doing fieldwork in the Canadian Rockies and they found they were equally yoked. They married the following year.
At the time, Charles was the secretary of the Smithsonian; that's how Walcott came to develop the Smithsonian process printing technique.
Walcott created hundreds of illustrations of the native plants of North America.
Her five volume set entitled North American Wildflowers showcases the stunning beauty of everyday wildflowers, many of which are at peak bloom right now.
In addition to her work as a botanist, Mary was a successful glacial geologist and photographer.
She was the first woman to summit a peak over 10,000 feet in Canada when she tackled Mount Stephen. Today Walcott even has a mountain named after her in Jasper - Mount Mary Vaux.
#OTD Today’s the anniversary of the death of Richard Morris Hunt who was an American architect during the gilded age.
Gardeners know Hunt for his collaborations with the Frederick Law Olmsted. They worked together on the Vanderbilt mausoleum and the Chicago world‘s fair. Their ultimate collaboration occurred in Asheville, North Carolina, where they worked together to design the gardens, house, and manor village for the Biltmore estate.
"The first thing you've got to remember is that it's your clients' money you're spending. Your goal is to achieve the best results by following their wishes. If they want you to build a house upside down standing on its chimney, it's up to you to do it."
#OTD It was on this day in 1972 that the horticulture program at the Smithsonian Gardens was established by Sydney Dylan Ripley who was the secretary of the Smithsonian.
An American ornithologist and conservationist, as a child Ripley had been inspired by the area around the Louvre in France. He had hoped to make the Smithsonian a bustling area with activities for visitors and tourists. The purpose for the establishment of the horticultural services division was to provide landscaping in and around the Smithsonian museums.
Here's a poem by Robert Frost called ‘Lodged’.
This is a short garden poem. In six little lines, Frost connects himself to the flowers in the flowerbed, pelted by wind and rain; yet through it all, managing to survive.
The rain to the wind said,
'You push and I'll pelt.'
They so smote the garden bed
That the flowers actually knelt,
And lay lodged--though not dead.
I know how the flowers felt.
Today's Garden Chore
Check for overcrowding and overall areas of meh.
Garden chores tend to get pushed aside this time of year.
But it's worth spending a little time this week looking closely at the overall appearance of your beds, borders and containers.
Take your camera with you to document what you see.
If the beds are both crowded and unattractive, you'll probably need to do a bit of pruning and transplanting to whip those beds into shape for the remainder of the season.
Reviving the little botanic spark in your heart
Thanks for listening to the daily gardener,
"For a happy, healthy life, garden every day."
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