Today we celebrate the botanist who created the second botanical garden in the United States and the botanist who was a dear friend to Asa Gray and was with him as he saw first hand one of the most sought after plants of the 1800s.
We'll hear some words about the falling leaves and autumn senescence.
We Grow That Garden Library with a book that is so gorgeous that some folks buy copies to cut out the pages to frame them.
I'll talk about the three things you need to do to winterize your pressure washer, and then we'll talk about a troublesome otter in Vancouver.
But first, let's catch up on a few recent events.
What I love about Alexandra's video is that she culls the best tips from top garden designers she's interviewed over the years.
Find out how to save money and still get the garden you’ll love. The designers share tips like designing off of the house or a tree, making your boundaries look smart, and the secret benefits of using a large pot instead of buying lots of little pots. Alexandra has pulled together a handy set of clips with commentary. It's a great video. Plus, I love her voice...
There are beautiful photographs of these plants and flowers from Jason Ingram in this great post from @GdnsIllustrated. There's plenty for gardens across all different growing zones. Northern Gardeners should check out Rosa 'Geranium' and Acer griseum - they both caught my eye.
You know those breathe/calming apps? This is basically that - but with flowers. Check out @Lamber_de_Bie & @WaterfordCastle on a private Island SE of Ireland. Lamber's woodland birch arch includes blue & pink summer hydrangea & tall plumes of pampas grass. It's a unique combination, and it's just incredible.
Now, if you'd like to check out these curated articles for yourself, you're in luck - because I share all of it with the Listener Community in the Free Facebook Group - The Daily Gardener Community. So there’s no need to take notes or track down links - the next time you're on Facebook, just search for Daily Gardener Community and request to join. I'd love to meet you in the group.
#OTD Today is the anniversary of the death of the botanist Humphrey Marshall who died on this day in 1801.
The Marshalls were cousins to the Bartrams - their mothers were sisters. John Bartram was known as the "Father of American Botany, and he ignited Humphrey's love of native plants. John had established the country's first botanical garden.
In 1773, after Marshall inherited his family estate and a sizable inheritance from his father, he created the country's second botanical garden. He incorporated natives, naturally, but also exotics.
Marshall forged a friendship with the British botanist John Fothergill who paid Marshall for his plant collecting. Fothergill was a collector and a connector, introducing Marshall to many of Europe's top botanists and a growing list of customers. Marshall's contacts helped him source new plants for his botanical garden.
And Twenty-five years before Thomas Jefferson sent Lewis & Clark on an expedition to the west, it was Humphrey Marshall who first made the suggestion - in 1778, 1785, and 1792. He really wanted the United States to sponsor an expedition to explore the west.
A fellow friend, Quaker, and botanist, Joseph Trimble Rothrock wrote this about Marshall:
"The earth abounds in beauty, all of which is open to his chastened senses. He revels in the sunlight and the breezes. The songs of the birds fall, welcome, into his ear. The colors of the flowers attract him."
Marshalltown Pennsylvania was named in honor of Humphrey Marshall. In 1785, Marshall published the very first American essay on trees and shrubs. Humphrey Marshall is also known as the "Father of American Dendrology" (or the study of woody plants, trees, and shrubs).
The genus, Marshallia, is named in honor of Humphrey Marshall.
#OTD On this day in 1896, the newspaper out of Buffalo, New York, reported that the John Redfield herbarium was looking for a home.
John H Redfield was born in Middletown, Connecticut, in 1815. In 1836, Redfield became friends with Asa Gray after joining the Lyceum of Natural History in New York, where Gray was the Librarian and Superintendent. The remained life-long friends.
When Redfield married in 1843, he moved to Philadelphia and worked for his Father-in-law's company making wheels for the railroad.
During his free time, Redfield went on plant hunting expeditions with Asa Gray and other botanists.
During the 1840's Gray was trying to locate a plant called the Shortia galacifolia (commonly known as Oconee bell). Andre Michaux had found the plant and had sent it back to Paris. In 1839, when Gray was in Paris on behalf of Harvard, he found a cabinet of unidentified plants, and there was Michaux's plant - the Oconee bell. Gray named the plant Shortia in honor of the Kentucky botanist, Charles Wilkin Short.
Gray made two serious attempts in 1841 and 1843 to find the spot where Michaux had found the Shortia, but both failed. Soon every botanist wanted to find the Shortia.
In 1863 Charles Short died - and still no Shortia. Botanists dealt with constant comments like "Found Shortia yet?"
In May of 1877, a North Carolina teenager named George Hyams was walking beside the Catawba River when he spied a plant he couldn't name. His father was an amateur botanist, and he sent the specimen to a friend. A specimen made it to Gray, who could be heard crying 'Eureka' when he found it.
In 1879, Gray organized a group to see the Shortia. Along with his dear friend, John Redfield, Gray brought his wife, Charles Sprague Sargent, and William Canby. Sure enough, they found the Shortia growing in the spot Hymans found it. It was an honor for Redfield to be there with his old friend.
Redfield devoted most of the final 20 years of his life to the herbarium of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. During Redfield's lifetime, botanists would visit Torrey if they were in New York, Asa Gray, if they were at Harvard or in Boston, and John Redfield when they passed through Philadelphia. It helped that people genuinely liked Redfield; his botanist friends noted his "strong yet tender character" when they wrote about him in his obituary. Redfield's work at the Academy was both worker bee and preservationist. In the early 1800s, Philadelphia had been a major botanical hub in the country. Redfield made sure the early botanical work was indexed and mounted, preserving the precious botanical history of the city of brotherly love.
"Nature is, above all, profligate. Don't believe them when they tell you how economical and thrifty nature is, whose leaves return to the soil.
Wouldn't it be cheaper to leave them on the tree in the first place?"
- Annie Dillard, author
"Saw the rainbow in the heaven,
In the eastern sky the rainbow,
Whispered, "What is that, Nokomis?"
And the good Nokomis answered:
"'Tis the heaven of flowers you see there;
All the wild-flowers of the forest,
All the lilies of the prairie,
When on earth they fade and perish,
Blossom in that heaven above us."
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Song of Hiawatha
I got my own copy of this book just last week, and it immediately became one of my favorites. And, it's a beautiful coffee table book with stunning pictures and heavy paper - although it actually was written for kids ages 8 -12. Don't let that dissuade you. It really is a remarkable book, and it's chock-full of information. Just seeing it on my ottoman in the family room makes me so happy. In fact, some people buy copies of this gorgeous book to cut the pages out to frame them. So just a quick heads up - they sell a Botanicum poster book too. The cover is spectacular.
OK - now let me tell you about it.
This book came out in 2017 and is part of Big Picture Press's Welcome to the Museum series.
Botanicum is a brilliantly curated guide to plant life. The text was written by Kathy Willis, the director of science at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, England. Botanicum also features artwork from the fabulous Katie Scott of Animalium fame.
Botanicum is designed to make you feel like you are having a museum experience - visiting a fascinating exhibition about the world of plants -from perennials to bulbs to tropical exotica. Like any excellent exhibit, Botanicum offers a beautiful feast of botanical knowledge complete with superb cross-sections of how plants work.
This is an excellent gift book for the holidays or gift for yourself. It's undoubtedly one of my unexpected favorites this year - a treasure of art and botanical information.
You can get a used copy and support the show, using the Amazon Link in today's Show Notes for under $20.
Today's Garden Chore
Take 5 minutes and winterize your pressure washer.
If your pressure washer is gas-operated, you need to start with this step:
First, add a fuel stabilizer to the gas tank. Then run the engine for 2 minutes to get the stabilizer to circulate through the engine's system.
If your pressure washer is electric, you begin the process here (gas pressure washer, continue):
Second, hook up the pressure washer to your garden hose. Let it run to clean the detergent out of the system. Turn off the water and remove the garden hose and then spray it until no more water comes out of the system.
Finally, add anti-freeze “Pump Saver” to pump inlet if the temperatures are going near or below freezing, so that your pressure washer doesn't freeze up.
Reviving the little botanic spark in your heart
Finally, this past week, the Global News shared a story called Koi Tremble in Fear as Otter makes a reappearance in the Vancouver Chinese garden.
"Nearly a year after a hungry otter began decimating the koi population at Vancouver’s Chinese Gardens... The Vancouver Park Board said Saturday the otter was spotted in the koi pond on Wednesday morning after the carcasses of three koi were found.
Park board staff began draining the pond that same day to transfer the remaining koi to a temporary holding area off-site.
It’s not yet known whether this otter is the same one that ate 11 of the garden’s 14 prized koi fish in November of last year, including a prized 50-year-old fish named Madonna."
When I shared this story in the Facebook Group, I wrote: "There Otter be a law!"
In all seriousness, for pond owners, there's nothing worse than losing your koi. You should watch the measures the park is taking to prevent animals from getting into the pond area. It's pretty intense. And, it just goes to show that whether you're a big public garden or a small private garden, dealing with critters like this can require ingenuity and hard work and even then - there are no guarantees.
Thanks for listening to the daily gardener,
"For a happy, healthy life, garden every day."
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