November 7, 2019 An Ingenious Compost Bin, Hedge Planting Advice, Six Hardy Annuals to Sow Now, Winter’s Day, Warren Manning, Willis Linn Jepson, Irvin Williams, Ruth Pitter, Thoreau, Onward and Upward in the Garden by Katherine White, Outdoor Rugs, and Norman Taylor
Today we celebrate the Landscape Architect, who left a mark on over 50 towns in the United States.
We'll learn about The Botany Man, who helped start The Sierra Club.
We'll hear beautiful words about the mists of November from two of the world's best nature writers.
We Grow That Garden Library with the book written by the wife of the author of Stuart Little and Charlotte's Web.
I'll talk about getting your outdoor rugs cleaned, and then we'll wrap things up with the story of an award-winning botanical writer who was once tutored by Nathaniel Lord Britton.
But first, let's catch up on a few recent events.
1. Here's a very helpful video tutorial on How to Make a Compost Bin for Next to Nothing from Richard Spencer @RS_Garden_Care. I really like the simplicity and functionality of this.
2. Excellent Hedge Planting Advice from Buckingham Nurseries. It made me of that saying... The best time to plant a tree (or a hedge) was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
3. Here are Six Hardy Annuals to Sow in Autumn for a beautiful Spring & Summer from @theenglishgarde Think California Poppy, Centaurea, Borage, Love-in-a-Mist, Calendula, & Clary sage. I'd also add Cornflower and Larkspur!
Book Winner: Kathy Brown
The Garden in Every Sense and Season by Tovah Martin
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 Happy Winter's Day!
In the Old English poem of the Anglo-Saxon Calendar known as the Menologium, November 7th is considered to be the first day of winter - 'Winter's Day.'
According to the poem, winter has 92 days, lasting from November 7th to February 6th.
#OTD Today is the birthday of the American landscape designer Warren H Manning who was born on this day in 1860.
The day Manning was born, his father recorded the moment in his diary:
"At five minutes past 12 this morning, we had a son born to us. He is strong and healthy to all appearances. I set Hackett at work to dig the hole while I planted the Elm tree to commemorate the day that our first child was born. I think that there should be a tree planted at the birth of every child so that in the after times it may be seen which is most useful."
Manning's dad was undoubtedly proud of his son, who worked on design projects in almost every state in the country. Manning started out as an apprentice to Frederick Law Olmsted before going out on his own. Ultimately, Manning designed on all types of properties, from estates to golf courses and everything in between. All told, his portfolio included over 1,600 projects. One of the signature aspects of Manning's practice was promoting "Wild Gardens." Wild gardens appealed to Manning because they were more affordable (at least initially) for his clients compared to formal gardens. Adding wild spaces meant that Manning would generally get an opportunity to follow up on his projects as they usually needed some fine tunings. Then, third, many of Manning's private wild garden designs ended up becoming a gift to the community. And Manning was always thrilled to see more natural areas transitioned into public spaces.
The Birmingham artist and Landscape Architect Frank Hartley Anderson gave a moving tribute to Manning upon his death:
"Fifty other towns and cities today arc better places to live because of the vision of Warren H. Manning. Eleven hundred communities, in part, were made pleasanter places through his 50 years of wholehearted service."
#OTD Today is the anniversary of the death of The Botany Man Willis Linn Jepson, who died on this day in 1946.
Carved on his tombstone are the following words:
“Profound Scholar, Inspiring Teacher, Indefatigable Botanical Explorer, ... In the ordered beauty of nature, he found enduring communion.”
When Jepson was 25, he created the Sierra Club along with John Muir and Warren Olney.
During Jepson's junior year at Berkeley, he decided to start a diary. His diaries became known as his field books. Like many botanists, Jepson was an archivist at heart, and he recorded everything - not just dates, but as much as he could. It was a practice Jepson never abandoned and resulted in over fifty Jepson field books.
In 1894, Jepson began to think seriously about creating a Flora of California.
As long as he was working on the flora, Jepson thought he might as well create a herbarium, which he considered to be his legacy.
Although Jepson often said he disliked common names, he came up with many on his own. He once named a plant Mountain Misery after suffering the after-effects of walking through it.
By the early 1900s, automobiles were becoming mainstream, but Jepson warned,
“You must still go afoot if a real botanist. No field botanist should become soft and travel only in an auto.“
Jepson had started numbering plants for his flora in 1899. His last specimen was No. 27,571 - the Salsola kali - a little plant commonly known as Prickly Russian Thistle. Jepson collected it on October 28, 1945. Earlier that year, Jepson suffered a heart attack when he attempted to cut down a dead Almond tree on his ranch. Sadly, he never fully recovered, and on this day in 1946, Jepson passed away.
Jepson impacted many botanists. One was Mary Bowerman, who was one of Jepson's doctoral students. She wrote once,
“Little did I know, 65 years ago, that my senior project would become my life‘s work.“
Another botanist influenced by Jepson was George Dexter Butler. Butler's story is unusual. He was trained as a lawyer, but his passion was botany. Yet, he put his botanical efforts aside to raise his family. But when he was 56, he passed by a book store in Oakland. The store had a copy of Jepson's Flora. His time to pursue botany had come, and the trigger was that little book written by Willis Lynn Jepson.
#OTD A year ago today, we said goodbye to Irvin M Williams, who died on this day in 2018 at the age of 92.
Williams served as Chief Horticulturist at the White House from 1962 to 2008, becoming the longest-serving gardener in White House history. Williams helped develop the Rose Garden during the Kennedy administration. He once said that the Merion bluegrass that made up the famous White House lawn as "the best grass you can have."
Today is the birthday of the poet Ruth Pitter who was born on this day in 1897
As a gardener herself, Ruth had an excellent understanding of flowers. Pitter once shared that she liked to write her poetry only after she finished bother her chores and her gardening.
My favorite book by Pitter is The Rude Potato. It's is a very witty and entertaining collection of poems about gardens and gardeners.
Here's a verse from Ruth Pitter about November from her 1941 book called The Diehards:
"All in November's soaking mist
We stand and prune the naked tree,
While all our love and interest
Seem quenched in the blue-nosed misery."
On this day in 1855, Henry David Thoreau was writing about the November mist as well:
"Another drizzling day, — as fine a mist as can fall... My thoughts are concentrated; I am all compact. The solitude is real, too, for the weather keeps other men at home. This mist is like a roof and walls over and around, and I walk with a domestic feeling... The world and my life are simplified. What now of Europe and Asia ?"
Today's book recommendation: Onward and Upward in the Garden by Katherine White
After Katherine separated from her first husband, she married E.B. White, who was the author of three beloved children’s books, Stuart Little (1945), Charlotte’s Web (1952), and The Trumpet of the Swan (1970). In the early 1930s, Katherine and E.B. bought a farmhouse in North Brooklin, Maine. By the end of the decade, they moved there from New York. White began writing garden pieces for The New Yorker in 1958. Onward and Upward in the Garden (1979) is her only book, edited and published posthumously by her husband E.B. White. Gardeners especially enjoy EB White's tenderly written preface to his gardener wife.
You can get a used copy and support the show, using the Amazon Link in today's Show Notes for $3.
Today's Garden Chore
Get your outdoor rugs cleaned.
Sonny had an accident in the front room this week. When the carpet cleaner arrived, I asked if they could clean the outdoor rugs, and even the natural fibered welcome mat got a makeover with a quick professional clean. It was the perfect first step toward getting the house ready for the holidays. Next week is all about putting together containers and pots for the holidays.
Reviving the little botanic spark in your heart
On this day in 1967, The Daily Times out of Salisbury, Maryland, reported the death of botanist and author Norman Taylor who died on November 5th.
Taylor immigrated from England with his parents when he was a little boy. He was very sickly and was not able to stay in school. In his early 20's, Taylor was hired to work at the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) by Nathaniel Lord Britton. It was a lucky break for Taylor as Brittain became his personal tutor in Botany, taking Taylor along on expeditions to the Caribbean.
Taylor also worked as the curator of plants at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. There, he came up with the idea of a Garden Dictionary. It brought Taylor accolades and popularity.
His obituary in The Daily Times shared what Taylor considered one of his most significant endeavors:
"Besides writing over a dozen books and articles by the score on botany, Mr. Taylor is responsible for what he considered a "terrific undertaking." This was the amount of work required in framing 33,000 botanical definitions for Webster's New International Dictionary, second edition, published by Houghton, Mifflin Co. 1933-36."
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"For a happy, healthy life, garden every day."
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