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.
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.
#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.
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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