Today we celebrate the Versailles botanist who started organizing plants in a new way but kept his method a secret.
We'll learn about the young New Yorker and garden writer who met the perfect botanical illustrator for her garden books in the hospital as she was battling influenza.
We'll hear some glorious thoughts on November from the author of “Butternut Wisdom.”
We Grow That Garden Library with a book that helps us grow more by going vertical in our gardens.
I'll talk about burying your cold-hardy succulents, and then we'll wrap things up with the intrepid botanist who discovered a plant that's still almost too good to be true - the blue poppy.
But first, let's catch up on a few recent events.
@ruffledblog shared this gorgeous @lemonlime_event Modern Monochromatic Wedding at Baltimore’s Sagamore Pendry Hotel. Gardeners will love the green/white floral arrangements. And you MUST check out the bride's bouquet. That air plant!!
What is a Vegan Garden? I must confess I didn't fully appreciate all that it entails - so hats off to Garden Teacher Plews Garden Design @plewgd for a thorough and thoughtful explanation.
Great article in @PsychToday by @peterbongi called Saffron for Emotional Health.
Studies show the stigma & the petal of Saffron (Crocus sativus) are helpful for calming, mood support & more. And, love the Charlemange quote about herbs at the beginning...
Garden Betty shared a really lovely post called A Guide to Saving and Storing Seeds. As your end-of-season crops start to fade, now's the time to save the seeds from your favorite plants so you can grow them again next year! Here's a foolproof guide to show you how from @gardenbetty #gardenchat #gardening #growyourown
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 search for 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 French naturalist and botanist Bernard de Jussieu who died on this day in 1777.
Jussieu was a French botanist who developed the first natural classification of flowering plants.
Today, there's a metro station near the botanical garden in Paris that is named in honor of the Jussieu family - which boasted five members over several generations as notable botanists.
Bernard and his brother Antoine were both botany professors in Paris. Bernard was the stronger botanist, and there's a famous story about his incredible dedication to botany:
One time, after botanizing in Lebanon, Bernard was sailing back to France. Of course, drinkable water onboard a long voyage home would have been a precious commodity. Yet, Bernard Jussieu purportedly shared his precious water with a little Lebanon Cedar seedling he was bringing home. He wanted to plant in the Royal Garden, and he was determined to bring the little tree back alive to Paris. The French say the seedling lived to be over 200 years old and eighty feet high.
As for Bernard Jussieu, in 1759, he was brought to Versailles to develop the Royal Botanical Garden at the Petit Trianon. Unassuming and laid back, Bernard quietly began arranging the plants in the garden in a new way. Jussieu's system of organizing plants into a more natural order was revolutionary at the time and also something he wouldn't disclose to others. However, Bernard did put together a catalog of the plants in his garden.
Bernard recognized a kindred spirit in his nephew, Antoine-Laurent. Bernard trained him for four years, and when he came of age, Bernard confided his methods of plant classification. As a result, Antoine-Laurent's work was an extension of his Uncle Bernard's ideas around grouping plants.
It took Antoine-Laurent Jussieu almost twenty years of refinement and perfecting of his Uncle's work. He finally published his work on natural classification as the Bastille was falling in 1789. In Genera Plantarum, Antoine-Laurent Jussieu kept Linnaeus' binomial nomenclature, but he grouped plants by genera and then into families. He called his system natural and strived to let nature be his guide. Today, many plant families can be attributed to Jussieu.
#OTD Today is the birthday of the botanist and garden writer Alice Lounsberry who was born on this day in 1868.
(Note: Online accounts, based on a Who's Who biography have the date of her year of birth as 1873 - which is incorrect as she was already two years old on an 1870 census with her brother and parents.)
Lounsberry was a New Yorker, and she developed a love for botany as a young girl. In her mid-twenties, she was already serving as a board member for the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG).
Lounsberry is forever linked to her friend and collaborator - the Australian botanical illustrator, Ellis Rowan.
In the late 1890s, Rowan (b. 1848) decided to travel to New York. She caused a bit of a sensation during her first trip to the States a few years earlier. This trip was no different - except that after her arrival, Rowan contracted influenza, and she needed to be hospitalized.
New Yorkers, like Lounsberry, read about Rowan's illness, and they sent cards and flowers to her hospital room to cheer her. But Lounsberry had an enormous sense of admiration for Rowan, and she felt she needed to do something more personal. So, Alice personally brought a box of fresh-picked wildflowers to the hospital and gave them to Rowan's nurse. Rowan was thoroughly charmed by the bouquet and the card which read, "From one flower seeker to another - and an admirer of your work."
The following day, Alice visited Rowan. Even though Alice was twenty years younger than Rowan, the two hit it off. They spent an entire afternoon discussing botany and their work. When Alice offered to show Rowan where she liked to botanize for wildflowers, it was the incentive Rowan needed to get her health back on track. When Alice invited her to illustrate a book on Wildflowers she had been asked to write, their fates as writer and painter were jointly sealed.
Together, they produced three books:
"A Guide to the Wild Flowers" (1899) describing around 500 wildflowers. "A Guide to the Trees" (1900) describing nearly 200 trees & shrubs. And, "Southern Wild Flowers & Trees" (1901) where Alice wrote in the preface:
"To learn something of the history, the folk lore and the uses of southern plants and to see rare ones growing in their natural surroundings, Mrs. Rowan and I traveled in many parts of the south, exercising always our best blandishments to get the people of the section to talk with us. Through the mountainous region we drove from cabin to cabin, and nowhere could we have met with greater kindness and hospitality."
While they were working on their book on Southern Wildflowers, Alice and Rowan's time together was marred by tragedy. They were surrounded by the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains when a telegram came for Rowan. Her only son, Eric, had died in South Africa. He was 22 years old.
After finishing these books, the two went their separate ways.
After working with Rowan, Alice continued to write - but without Rowan's artwork, her books failed to attract the same level of popularity.
After suffering a stroke, Alice Lounsberry died at the age of 81 on November 20, 1949.
Walking down the country road this morning, I noticed the swamp in late fall has lovely colors. The chalky purple of the wild blackberry canes, the cinnabar of frosted weeds, and the garnet of oak seedlings seem like music. Farther on, the cutover fields have variations on the theme of brown, from tawny to copper. Squirrels go a-marketing under the hazel bushes, for, under the burs, the satiny brown nuts begin to show. A fawn-colored rabbit hops ahead along the grey stone wall, and a pheasant leads three females toward the thicket.
As I pass the neighbor's old red barn, the smell of dried hay is as sweet as honey. Pumpkins and cabbages and smoky hubbard squash lie in the garden. Blue smoke rises from a pile of burning cornstalks. "Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness," Keats called it, and also, "Think not of spring, thou has thy beauty too."
-Gladys Taber, The Best of Still Meadow
The subtitle to this book is Simple Projects that Deliver More Yield in Less Space.
Going vertical is something I love to do indoors in small spaces - but as Amy shows us in this book, it's a strategy that works brilliantly in our gardens as well. Amy points out that when you grow upward rather than outward, you will double or triple the yield from your small-space garden. Not only does growing vertically not only potentially increase your yield, but also it also gets your plants off the ground - increasing airflow, reducing the risk from soil-borne disease, and making a crouch-free harvest.
Vertical Vegetables is packed with valuable information. Amy includes lists of plants that are best suited for vertical growing. The book is packed full of beautiful DIY garden projects anyone can do thanks to step-by-step instructions. Beyond the trellis, Amy shares what you can grow vertically using cages, stakes, tee-pees, a classic obelisk, or pergolas in addition to providing creative plans for even more functional structures.
Today's Garden Chore
It's time to have a funeral: Bury your pots with hardy succulents like Hens and Chicks and Sedums.
In a Northern garden, you cannot leave your cute little pots with these cold-hardy succulents sitting out in the garden. They won't make it - or should say - they won't make it above ground in a pot.
To avoid the heartbreak of having to re-buy them and the hassle of repotting them, I simply gather up all my pots - terra cotta, iron, strawberry pots, etc. - collecting them in a cleared area by the water feature. I'll add in my succulent wreath form as well. Then I bury them under a couple of bags of wood mulch. Sheltered under the mulch, the plants continue to grow until the first hard freeze. In the spring, I dig out my pots and then return them to their homes throughout the garden.
Reviving the little botanic spark in your heart
#OTD Today is the birthday of the British plant collector and explorer Frank Kingdon Ward who was born on this day in 1885.
During the beginning of the twentieth century, Frank Kingdon Ward went on twenty-four Indiana-Jones-like expeditions throughout Tibet, China, and Southeast Asia, in search of rare and elusive species of plants.
Among his many accomplishments, Ward found the legendary Tibetan blue poppy.
Ward’s accounts of his adventures are captivating. In 1942, he arrived in New Delhi after a 500 hundred mile walk over mountains and through jungles. The newspaper account said:
"A thin, wiry little man in his 50s, Captain Kingdon-Ward...decided that the Japanese were getting too close for comfort so he loaded two 60-pound bags of rice on two mules... But instead of taking the short road through the Chaukan pass, [he] decided to travel the 500 mile mule trail through Tibet...
[Kingdon-Ward tramped] knee-deep in snow [and] crossed the Himalayas at the 14,500 foot pass....
[He said] "It was a pleasant walk and [my] reward is in the finding of dazzling flowers never seen before. You know they may always blush unseen unless you manage to take them back and make them grow where others can admire them. They are a little bit of the enchantment of Asia transplanted into England or America. It is satisfaction enough if you can feel in an industrial age like the present that you have brought home a little beauty for others to enjoy."
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"For a happy, healthy life, garden every day."
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