#OTD Today is the birthday of the grandson of Genghis Khan, Kubla Khan, who was born on this day in 1215.
Kubla Khan's Summer Garden at Xanadu is the subject of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's 1797 poem Kubla Khan.
Coleridge's Kubla Kahn is regarded as one of his most important works. Coleridge said that he composed the entire poem while in a dreamlike state, drowsy from opium he had as medication. When he woke up, he remembered the entire poem and immediately set about writing it down. But then, he was interrupted by a knock at his door and he received a visitor. Sadly, when the visitor left, his perfect recollection of the poem failed him and he was only able to finish the poem in fragments.
The poem begins by describing Kahn's palace and the garden contrasted with the setting of the ancient Mongolian forest.
Although Coleridge wrote this poem in 1797, he didn't share it with the world until urged to do so by his friend Lord Byron.
Together, Coleridge's poem and the adventurer, Marco Polo, brought world-wide attention to Kubla Kahn and his achievements.
#OTD Today in 1806, Lewis and Clark returned to St. Louis after spending over two years exploring the headwaters of the Missouri River in an effort to find a route to the Pacific.
They returned with their journals and with plant specimens. Here's just a handful of the plants they discovered (I picked the ones you might be the most familiar with):
Snow-on-the-mountain (Euphorbia marginata)
Creeping juniper (Juniperus horizontalis)
False indigo (Amorpha fruticosa)
Needle-and-thread grass also called porcupine grass (Hesperostipa comata)
Purple coneflower (Echinacea angustifolia)
Rough gayfeather also called large button snakeroot (Liatris aspera)
Wild four-o'clock (Mirabilis nyctaginea)
Wild rice (Zizania palustris)
Wild rose (Rosa arkansana)
#OTD Today is the anniversary of the death of Stuart Robertson who died on this day in 2009.
Robertson was a professional gardener in Montreal, although he was born in England. In 1981, Robertson began work as a gardening columnist for the Montreal Gazette. In 1982, Robertson added the title of broadcaster to his repertoire, as a member of the show Radio Noon on CBC Radio One.
Robertson also wrote two books on gardening. A passionate, leading organic gardener, his first book was Stuart Robertson's Tips on Organic Gardening, which was published in 2007. The following year, he wrote Stuart Robertson's Tips on Container Gardening.
At the age of 50, Robertson learned he had non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a type of cancer of the lymph nodes. When it returned later in life, he received a bone-marrow transplant.
Robertson's colleagues recall him as a gentleman; he had class, strength, and optimism.
In an article announcing Robertson's passing in his hometown paper, The Gazette out of Montreal, poignantly reported:
"His final column, which appeared Sept 19, read in part 'We're getting to the sad time of the year, when we have to start thinking about cooler weather and the end of the growing season.'"
#OTD Today is the anniversary of the death of the botanist Ruth Patrick who died on this day in 2013 at the age of 105.
Patrick was known for a little saying that went like this: you can’t live a day without diatoms. Diatoms are a single-celled algae; this was Patrick's way of saying that all life is interconnected and that nature matters.
Ruth Patrick understood this premise very well. She was a leading voice in the recognition that the smallest organisms, living in communities, were more reliable than an individual species as indicators of pollution.
Ruth Patrick was born in Topeka, Kansas. Her father was an attorney and when he wasn't working he loved to take Ruth and her sister out into nature. The girls would collect samples from streams and ponds and then get a closer look with the brass microscope in their father's study. Later, Ruth would often say that her father had always encouraged her to leave the world a better place for having passed through it.
In 1975, Patrick was the first woman elected president of the American Society of Naturalists. She worked for 80 years at The Academy of Natural Sciences. In 1996, she was awarded the country's National Medal of Science from President Bill Clinton.
- Mike Garofalo, Cuttings:Haiku, Concrete and Short Poems
Today's Garden Chore
Reviving the little botanic spark in your heart
#OTD On this day in 1937, the Evening Report out of Lebanon, Pennsylvania reported on a rose garden in Hershey, Pennsylvania.
The 12,500 rose plants of the Hershey Rose Garden were in their September glory.
The rose garden was to be dedicated the following June, when its 20,000 plants would be in bloom. The garden had attracted, 125,000 visitors from Pennsylvania and ... other neighboring states since its opening in May, 1937.
An unusual feature of the garden was that, instead of twenty or twenty-five roses of one variety in a bed, the plants in the Hershey Rose Garden numbered as high as 175 in a single bed. And there was a lake within the garden. It was surround with the deep orange-red Gloria Mundi, the Mermaid (with its single, pale yellow bloom), the Jacotte (with its orange bloom), and the Eblouissant (a wonderful tiny rose with double, globular flowers that had long-lasting red color and was nested in bronze foliage on a very dwarf plant).
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"For a happy, healthy life, garden every day."
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