August 16, 2019 Zucchini, Magness Holman, François-Andre Michaux, Serviceberry, Francis Darwin, Kenneth Woodbridge, Sylvia Plath, Sara Baume, Sue Monk Kid, Plant Parenting by Leslie Halleck, Bee Balm, and the Secret of Stourhead Garden

Are you swimming in zucchini yet?

Emily Seftel, of The Tennessean, wrote an article in 2006 that was titled Gad zuks! - which I think is hilarious; we don’t use that term enough, do we?

Anyway, the article started this way:

"Zucchini, the summer squash, is the Rodney Dangerfield of the produce world it gets no respect."

Then, the article goes on to share some recipes, which were offered by Chef Laura Slama who said,

"When you’re cooking with zucchini, all you need to do is add a little olive oil and kosher salt to bring out it’s flavor."

The three recipes she shared were for Mexican Zucchini Corn and Black Tostadas - that looked amazing. Then, Sautéed Zucchini Strings, which is zucchini that’s been turned into spaghetti. And, finally, she shared an Orzo Pasta with Roasted Zucchini.

One of my favorite recipes for zucchini is from The New Zucchini Cookbook and Other Squash by Nancy Ralston and Mary Jordan.

It’s for a zucchini basil tart:

  • You drain salted zucchini and tomato slices on paper towels.
  • You purée basil in a food processor with ricotta and eggs, and you add mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
  • Then you line a 9-inch pie shell with zucchini slices.
  • Spoon the basil mixture over the top and then put tomato slices on the top.
  • Then brush the whole top of it with olive oil and bake it for 40 to 50 minutes. Yum.

 I’ll put the link to the recipes in today's show notes as well as a link to the cookbook.





#OTD Today is the birthday of Magness Holman, who was born in 1745.

Holman was the painter who completed a portrait of Carla Ness that most people recognize. The picture was painted around 1780. 




#OTD  Today is the birthday of François-Andre Michaux.

He was the son of the botanist, Andrea Michaux. His father named an oak in his honor.

Michaux's mother died a few weeks after he was born. His father was so depressed, and he turned to botany to deal with his grief. His mentors just happened to be some of the top gardeners in the Royal Gardens. 

When François-Andre was 15 years old, he accompanied his dad to North America.

His father established a botanical garden in 1786 on the property that’s now occupied by the Charleston Area National Airport.

As you leave the airport, you’ll notice a stunning mural that pays tribute the Michaux's - from the rice fields along the Ashley River to the Charleston Harbor, where he introduced one of the first camellia plants. Andre-François and his father are depicted in the potager or kitchen garden. The mural was installed in 2016.

François-Andre stayed in America, where he established a nursery in Hackensack, New Jersey, and also in Charleston, South Carolina.

France was still eager to obtain trees from North America to replenish their forests, and François-Andre grew them in his nursery.

He returned to France briefly in 1790 and participated in the French revolution. By 1801, he returned to the United States because the French government wanted him to get rid of the nurseries in Hackensack and Charleston.

François-Andre did as instructed and also explored the United States as far north as Maine, as far south as Georgia, and as far west as the Great Lakes. After his explorations, he returned to France. He had enough material and experience to prepare his masterpiece, North American Silva or North American Forests.




#OTD   Today, in 1805, the Lewis and Clark expedition was near the Narrows of the Columbia River when the serviceberry was discovered.

Serviceberry is available in several different species.

There’s a beautiful graphic showing the different types of serviceberry featured on the I'll share a link to that in today's show notes.

Serviceberries are a member of the Rose family. Now that you know that, you’ll be able to recognize the family resemblance the next time you see one.

Serviceberry is primarily prized for its four-season interest: you get beautiful blossoms in the spring, fruits in the summer, fantastic autumn color, and unusual bark coloration in the wintertime.

The Maryland Department of Resources says that the etymology of the name serviceberry comes from church services which resumed around Easter time. People used to say that when the serviceberries were in flower, the ground had thawed enough to dig a grave.



#OTD  Today is the birthday of the third son of Charles Darwin, Francis Darwin - known to his family as Frank.

Francis published the results of his work with his dad in a book called The Movement of Plants. The book details their experiments, which showed that young grass seedlings grow toward the light.




OTD  It’s the anniversary of the death of Kenneth Woodbridge, who died on this day in 1988.

Woodbridge was known for his work on the history of garden design in England and France.

Woodbridge wrote a book called The Stourhead Landscape, a book about one of England’s most magnificent gardens.

Stourhead was the work of an English banker named Henry Hoare who lived during much of the 1700s.

Woodbridge's last book was called Princely Gardens. It was published in 1986.

Princely Gardens analyzes the formal French style of landscape architecture. Despite not having the academic background of many garden historians, Woodbridge was a relentless researcher and writer. His obituary stated that his wife, Joanne, always balanced his intensity.



Unearthed Words

“August rain: the best of the summer gone, and the new fall not yet born. The odd uneven time.”
― Sylvia Plath

“This morning, the sun endures past dawn. I realize that it is August: the summer's last stand.”
― Sara Baume, A Line Made by Walking

“The month of August had turned into a griddle where the days just lay there and sizzled.”
― Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees




Today's book recommendation: Plant Parenting by Leslie Halleck

This is a new book that just came out in June of this year from Timberpress.

The images are gorgeous, and this book feels quite modern and very on-trend. This is a very beginner-friendly introduction to plants, flowers, and seeds.




Today's Garden Chore

Add more color to your garden with bee balm or monarda.

It is also an herb.  Plant it in full sun.

Pollinators love it, as do hummingbirds.

I remember the first time I planted bee balm. I was blown away by the incredible enticing fragrance - a beautiful combination of mint, oregano, and thyme.

Once you smell it, you'll never forget it. 

Bee Balm starts flowering now and will last throughout the summer. 

When John Bartram was exploring North America, he made contact with the Native Americans who shared with him that they brewed a tea with bee balm to treat chills and fever. He called it Oswego.

But, it was made with Monarda. After the Boston tea party, the colonists needed something to drink, and Oswego tea tasted pretty good, and it also helped with sore throats and headaches.

Monarda is considered both a flower and an herb.

And in the fall, you can harvest the leaves and dry them and store them for later - when you want to make your own Oswego tea.




Something Sweet 
Reviving the little botanic spark in your heart

When I was researching  Kenneth Woodbridge, I ran across an article about his son, Tim Woodbridge.

Tim was piggybacking on the subject his dad wrote about, which was Stourhead Garden in Wiltshire. Tim says his dad discovered 95% of everything that is known about the garden today.

The garden is breathtaking because it is surrounding this gloriously breathtaking man-made lake.

All along, people have assumed that the lake was part of the plan by Henry Hoare, the banker, who established the garden as his lasting legacy. But Tim believes he’s uncovered a secret about the garden that had been lost to time.

In 2005, the National Trust commissioned an underwater survey of the lake.

Tim’s book, called The Choice, explains that the lake is hiding a first garden – the garden that was built to honor Hoare's dead wife, Susan.

The garden was nearly completed when suddenly Hoare's son and only heir, Henry, died of smallpox in Naples. He was just 22 years old.

Tim believes that the garden became too painful and that Hoare's shocking next move was to do something about it.  Tim thinks that Hoare built a dam and then flooded the garden, creating the magnificent great lake that people drive to see from all over the world. Instead of a planned part of the design; The lake was an outward sign of grief of a husband and father whose tears hid the garden he had built for posterity.

And I think, if a garden could cry... this is what it would look like. 




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and remember:
"For a happy, healthy life, garden every day."

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