There’s that lovely saying that goes something like, "One man’s weed is another man’s wildflower."
This is especially true in the case of Queen Anne’s Lace.
In the Facebook group for the show, listener Danny Perkins shared how much he enjoyed allowing Queen Anne’s Lace to reign all over in his garden. I feel the same way. But, others do not.... and, I respect that.
I think one of the reasons I personally enjoy Queen Anne’s Lace is because it reminds me of Baby's Breath - which does not like to return as a perennial in my garden. On the other hand, this year, I started growing Valerian, and I would say that it is another alternative to Baby's Breath, and it is similar to Queen Anne’s Lace.
Another charming characteristic of Queen Anne’s Lace is that it’s a member of the carrot family. If you crush the leaves and stem, you’ll notice a carrot odor.
It's no wonder the scientific name for Queen Anne’s Lace is Daucus carota, and the common name is the wild carrot.
Here’s a fun fact: The Romans ate Queen Anne’s Lace as a vegetable.
And here’s an herbal application: The root juice of Queen Anne’s Lace is terrific for treating itchy skin.
#OTD It’s the anniversary of the death of Andreas Marggraff, who died on this day in 1782.
Marggraff was a German chemist. In 1747, he figured out a way to isolate glucose from raisins.
That same year, he announced his discovery of finding sugar in beets, and he came up with a way to use alcohol to extract it.
Marggraff’s discovery was not used commercially while he was alive. It wasn’t until 1802 that the first beat sugar refinery opened its doors... and the modern sugar industry was born.
#OTD Today, in 1840, the world lost an excellent physician and botanist by the name of Henry Perrine.
As a botanist, Perrine was first recognized for his work with quinine as a cure for malaria.
Perrine also served as a US Ambassador to the Yucatán. As a result of his position, Perrine was able to bring many tropical plants from Mexico and the Caribbean to the United States.
In 1838, the United States Congress gave Perrine a land grant, which he used to establish a place to grow plants in the Florida Keys.
At the time, Florida was a territory. Perrine believed that the Florida Keys and South Florida offered the perfect climate for creating what he hoped would be one of the magnificent botanical gardens of the world.
Perrine's vision was to turn the wasteland into a tropical paradise.
Perrine shared his hopes when he wrote to Congress, saying:
“This land will grow every tropic a growth in abundance… With settlers on 5-acre parcels, growing such plants - this South Florida area [can] support more population than any... area in the entire south end [as well as] the happiest living conditions…"
On Christmas day and 1838, Dr. Perrine and his wife and their children moved to Indian Key.
Perrine was in love with his new surroundings. Unlike many South Florida settlers, Perrine believed that he could live in peace, side-by-side with the local American Indians.
Perrine's work was showing promise until this day in 1840.
Perrine ’s neighbor was a radical named Jacob Hausman. Hausman had gathered a small militia and had offered Congress a deal; he would kill every American Indian in South Florida, and they would pay him $200 per body. Congress never got Hausman's letter, but the Seminole Indians in Florida had learned of Hausman’s plan.
It's no wonder, then, that on this day in 1840, they attacked Indian key. But, their chief target, Hausman, had escaped the attack by slipping away in a boat.
Dr. Perrine could hear the attack happening outside his house. He quickly tucked his wife and children into a turtle crawl beneath their home, and he slid a chest of his Mexican seeds over the trap door to conceal it.
When the opportunity presented itself, Dr. Perrine spoke to the Indians in Spanish, identifying himself as a friend and a doctor. The Indians left... but they returned that evening. They chased Perrine to the cupola of his house, where they killed him. Then they set the house on fire.
Perrine's wife and children survived the entire ordeal in the turtle crawl, making their way through a narrow tunnel to the sea alongside the turtles.
The following day a naval vessel rescued Hester Perrine and her children.
Today, Perrine and his legacy live on in the botanicals he brought to Florida: the avocado, the key lime, the mango, and many agaves.
#OTD Today is the birthday of the Indian geneticist MS Swaminathan.
Swaminathan is the father of India’s Green Revolution, a movement that distributed high-yield wheat and rice varieties to poor farmers.
When Swaminathan had graduated from college, he recognized that the number one issue facing his country was food scarcity. While others were concerned with independence, Swaminathan felt that agriculture was the country's highest priority.
Instead of pursuing medicine, which was his natural inclination, he decided to pursue degrees in agriculture. And, he continued to get a variety of degrees from numerous top universities from around the world. Swaminathan felt he could best help his country by solving the food problem.
On January 4, 1968, Swaminathan gave a lecture at the Indian Science Congress, where he first coined the term Green Revolution. Swaminathan wanted to marry technology development and dissemination with ecology. By developing high yielding wheat and rice varieties that small farmers could afford, the people of India became more independent.
Today, Swaminathan believes that every person has the right to have food. This belief was forged during what he calls India’s ship to mouth existence - when India had to wait for ships from America, or other parts of the world, to bring in food. The journey from ship to mouth to seeing food as a right is a massive paradigm shift, one which professor Swaminathan has so humbly lead.
"In August, the large masses of berries, which, when in flower, had attracted many wild bees, gradually assumed their bright velvety crimson hue, and by their weight again bent down and broke their tender limbs."
- Henry David Thoreau
"Summer is delicious; rain is refreshing, wind braces up, snow is exhilarating; there is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather."
- John Ruskin
Today's book recommendation: The Evening Garden: Flowers and Fragrance from Dusk Till Dawn by Peter Loewer
This book reveals both the history and science of the night garden. The topic of night-blooming plants has always fascinated gardeners. For example, newspaper articles over the past two centuries have shared exciting reports of blooms on the night-blooming cereus.
This book came out in the early '90s and was advertised to gardeners who found themselves working long hours during the daytime, which equated to little time for gardening.
This book offers information about the history and the raising of night-blooming plants as well as chapters on night fragrances, wildlife, and plans for outdoor lighting. It’s an oldie but goodie.
You can get copies of this book on Amazon using today's show notes for as little as $.25
Today's Garden Chore
Add another layer of mulch to your summer garden.
Just adding an extra layer of mulch helps keep the roots of your plants cooler and moister during hot weather. In turn, that helps to lower the stress level of your plants during this time of the year.
This is also an excellent time to cover up some of the unsightly areas in your garden (spots where you have divided or harvested).
Or you can also refresh areas where your mulch has decomposed. Don’t forget that organic mulch continuously decomposes in your beds, which in turn helps feed the soil. That said, you don’t want to go into fall or winter with your ground uncovered because open soil is an invitation for weeds - and that's a party you do not want to have to clean up after.
Reviving the little botanic spark in your heart
Here's a little story about the New Zealand botanist Lucy Cranwell who was born On this day in 1907.
Imagine yourself at 21? What were you doing? Well, at 21, Lucy was appointed the curator at the Auckland Museum.
Barely more than a child herself, Lucy had a unique talent for engaging young students. Ever-encouraging and relatable, Lucy sparked a love of horticulture in her students.
Lucy, herself, had an excellent teacher growing up in the form of her father, who was a trained nurseryman. Lucy grew up helping with the large orchard on their property.
It's no wonder then that Lucy loved exploring and being in the field. During her days at the University Field Club, her peers knew her as the strongest and fastest walker at the University.
One of Lucy‘s dearest friends was the botanist Lucy Beatrice Moore. The two Lucys went on many botanical field trips together. It was a common practice during these trips to sleep out in the open in a sleeping bag. There were many mornings when the women woke to find themselves covered in frost.
Lucy Cranwell served as the curator in Auckland for 14 years. During that time, she collected over 4,000 plants for the herbarium, and she created something she called "Botany Trots" - a term I absolutely adore.
Botany Trots were these little botanical excursions for the children of New Zealand. Now, isn't that sweet?
Thanks for listening to the daily gardener,
"For a happy, healthy life, garden every day."
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