Today we celebrate the Spaniard who brought the pineapple and coffee to Hawaii.
We'll learn about the man who gardened at Monks House so much it would cause fights with his wife.
We'll honor the Japanese American Landscape Architect, who designed many of our Modern Urban Public Spaces and the man who came up with a new kind of berry in the heart of Napa Vally in the 1920s.
We'll hear some thoughts about the end of Fall from various poets and writers.
We Grow That Garden Library with one of the most beautiful and sophisticated books on our favorite houseplant: the orchid.
I'll talk about the five microgreens you should grow for the Holidays to impress your guests, and then we'll add things up with some charming advice on starting a Walking Club from 1890.
But first, let's catch up on a few recent events.
It's time to vote for your favorite - The Best Botanical Garden Holiday Lights @USATODAY Readers' Choice Awards.
During the winter season, a different kind of color lights up botanical gardens across the United States. Instead of spring flowers, visitors find twinkling holiday lights, often accompanied by a range of other holiday activities and events. Which botanical garden puts on the best seasonal lights show?
You decide by voting once per day until polls close on Monday, December 2 at noon ET.
The 10 winning gardens will be announced on 10Best.com on Friday, December 13
The current standings are:
1. A Longwood Christmas - Longwood Gardens - Kennett Square, Penn.
2. Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights - Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden - Richmond, Va.
3. Gardens Aglow - Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens - Boothbay, Maine
4. Nights of a Thousand Candles - Brookgreen Gardens - Murrells Inlet, S.C.
5. Million Bulb Walk/Dominion Energy Garden of Lights - Norfolk Botanical Garden - Va.
6. Illumination: Tree Lights - Morton Arboretum - Chicago
7. Lights in Bloom - Marie Selby Botanical Gardens - Sarasota, Fla.
8. River of Lights - ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden - Albuquerque
9. Fantasy in Lights - Callaway Gardens - Pine Mountain, Ga
10. Illuminations - Botanica - Wichita, Kan.
Zach Mortice wrote this great article in City Lab about an artistic seawall barrier. Gardeners can be inspired by taking the functional and making it so much more. Fencing, borders, raised beds, etc. don't need to be eyesores.
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.
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 birthday of the Spanish adventurer and botanist known as Hawaii's Original Farmer, Francisco de Paula Marín, who was born on this day in 1774.
By the time Marin was in his early twenties, he had already made his way to Honolulu, Hawaii. It would be his home for the rest of his life. Marin became a friend and advisor to King Kamehameha I, who consolidated all the Hawaiian Islands during his rule.
Marin served in the Kamehameha Dynasty in various capacities all through his life, but he is best remembered for his work in horticulture. In 1813, Marin grew the first pineapple in Honolulu - the Hawaiian word for pineapple translates to "foreign fruit." Two years later, Marin planted the first Hawaiian vineyard using vines of the Mission grape. And, in 1817, with the approval of King Kamehameha, Marin planted the first coffee seeds in Hawaii.
#OTD Today is the birthday of the man who designed Monks House garden Leonard Sidney Woolf who was born on this day in 1880.
Woolf was the husband of Virginia Woolf. Leonard was the primary gardener and garden designer of Monks House - although Virginia helped him. Virginia and Leonard lived at the house from the time they first purchased it in 1919 until their deaths.
The garden at Monks Hosue was a retreat and a place that they could both escape from the chaos of London.
Leonard loved to be in the garden gardening. He hated tea roses and floribunda roses. But, he loved fruit trees like apple and pears, and he sold the fruits to make money. Leonard's devotion to the garden was a source of consternation for Virginia. Leonard spent so most of his time and his money on the garden. Virginia famously complained, “We are watering the earth with our money!” Leonard recorded all of his Monks House garden income and expenditures in a gorgeous dark green and pink ledger book. The first line in the book is dated August 26th, 1919, and he recorded the first gardening work performed by gardener William Dedman.
Virginia described Monks House as "the pride of our hearts.’" In July of 1919, she wrote that gardening or weeding produced "a queer sort of enthusiasm which made me say this is happiness." When Virginia suffered bouts of depression, the garden at Monks House was the place she went to recover and heal.
Since both Virginia and Leonard kept diaries, the garden was a frequent topic.
On September 29, 1919, Virginia wrote:
"A week ago, Leonard's wrist & arm broke into a rash. The Dr called it eczema. Then Mrs. Dedman brushed this aside & diagnosed sunflower poisoning. [Leonard] had been uprooting them with bare hands. We have accepted her judgment."
One of Virginia's favorite places to write was in the garden at Monks House. She had a small converted shed that she called her writing lodge. Every morning on her way to the lodge, Virginia walked through the garden. The Monks House garden was THE place where she wrote some of her most famous works.
One story is often shared to illustrate Leonard's devotion to gardening. In 1939, as the second world war approached, Virginia called for him to come inside to listen to "the lunatic" Hitler on the radio. But Leonard was in the middle of tending to his Iris, and he shouted back:
”I shan’t come. I am planting iris, and they will be flowering long after he is dead.”
After Virginia's tragic suicide, Leonard wrote:
"I know that V. will not come across the garden from the Lodge, and yet I look in that direction for her. I know that she is drowned, and yet I listen for her to come in at the door."
At Monks House garden, there were two Elm trees that the Woolf's had sweetly named after themselves, “Virginia and Leonard.”
Leonard buried Virginia’s ashes under one of those Elms and installed a stone tablet with the last lines from her novel The Waves:
“Against you, I fling myself, unvanquished and unyielding, O Death! The waves crashed on the shore.”
#OTD Today is the birthday of the Japanese-American landscape architect who designed some of the country’s best-known industrial parks, urban spaces, and campuses, Hideo Sasaki, who was born on this day in 1919.
Sasaki was born in Reedley, Calif., and grew up on his family’s truck farm in the San Joaquin Valley. During WWII, Sasaki and his family suffered at an internment camp in Arizona, where Sasaki worked in beet fields.
As a very bright student, Sasaki went on to study at the University of Illinois and Harvard Graduate School of Design.
Sasaki lived in the Boston area, where he taught at Harvard for more than 20 years, chairing its landscape architecture department from 1958 to 1968, and he founded his Sasaki Associates firm. By 1993, more than a third of all landscape architecture professors had been trained by Sasaki.
Sasaki created industrial parks for big companies like John Deere and Upjohn. He also designed urban spaces like Boston’s Copley Square, New York’s Washington Square Village and the St. Louis Gateway Mall.
In 1971, Sasaki became the first recipient of the American Society of Landscape Architects medal.
Sasaki died of cancer back in August of 2000.
#OTD Today is the anniversary of the death of the plant hybridizer Rudolph Boysen who died on this day in 1950.
In the 1910s and '20s, Boysen had been playing around with plant genetics. He worked on an 18-acre farm owned by John Lubbens in Napa Valley. On one June morning, Boysen took a walk along a creek bank to inspect some of his new berry creations. Boysen was astonished when he saw that one of the vines bore fruit that was almost two inches long. The fruit would become known to the world as the Boysenberry.
Boysenberries are similar to blackberries but have a larger, juicier, and sweeter fruit. The Boysenberry is a cross between the loganberry, the raspberry, and the blackberry. In 1927, Boysen advertised them as "the sensation of the 20th Century."
The grower, Walter Knott, had been looking for new varieties of berries, and when he got some of Boysen's plants, he knew it was the berry he had been looking for over the past decade. Knott gave Boysen credit by naming the plant in his honor. But, Knott managed to make an empire for himself with the proceeds - establishing the world-renown Knotts Berry Farm. As for Boysen, he never earned a dime from the Boysenberry.
"The melancholy days are come, the saddest of the year,
Of wailing winds, and naked woods, and meadows brown and sear."
- William Cullen Bryant
"She calls it "stick season," this slow disrobing of summer,
leaf by leaf, till the bores of tall trees, rattle and scrape in the wind."
- Eric Pinder, Author
And November goes,
With the last red berries
And the first white snows.
With night coming early,
And dawn coming late,
And ice in the bucket
And frost by the gate.
The fires burn
And the kettles sing,
And earth sinks to rest
Until next spring."
- Elizabeth Coatsworth
Marc Hachadourian is the senior curator of the incredible orchid collection at the New York Botanical Garden, and his book, Modern Orchids is outstanding. The subtitle for the book is Living and Designing with the World’s Most Elegant Houseplants - so true, Marc.
You can read for yourself in Marc's book about the history of orchids and all the different types of orchids, but most of us simply want to know the answer to one or two questions like 'how do I keep my orchids happy and healthy?' and/or 'how do I get them to rebloom?'
To Marc, the answer to those questions is pretty straightforward. In general, we simply need to understand the growing conditions that orchids prefer. Marc teaches us what orchids like by asking us the following six questions:
Does the location have natural sunlight?
How strong is the sunlight?
How long does the location, receive natural light each day?
What temperatures will there be throughout the year? In the daytime? In the night?
Is the air constantly dry or doesn't have some moisture
And finally, how often will I water and care for the plants?
If you have an orchid lover in your family, this is the book for them. It would make a lovely Christmas present.
In addition to learning how to care for the orchids, you will get Marc's top picks for orchids, and he has 120 of them.
And, Marc also shares some pretty amazing projects that will add to the decor of your home, including terrariums, a wreath, and a kokedama. There's also a project that teaches us to make an orchid bonsai tree that is absolutely stunning. All of Marc's crafts and projects are a level up from something you would typically see in a gardening book.
Marc provides a level of sophistication and elegance with his work that I just have not seen in a garden book in some time. When I can look at a project and learn something - whether it's a new tool or new product that I can source for working with my own floral arrangements - I'm so appreciative.
So, hats off to Marc for tackling a subject that most of us feel we could use more help with (orchids) and by not dumbing it down.
Overall, Marc shares super-helpful pro-insights and modern options for incorporating our most beloved houseplant: orchids.
Today's Garden Chore
Start sowing some microgreens for the holiday season.
There is nothing like a microgreens garden to satisfy your winter gardening needs and at that same time, growing those fresh, nutrient-dense, garden to table greens that you can grow in the comfort of your own home.
For most gardeners, I think the biggest challenge with growing microgreens is learning what dishes can be enhanced with them.
Btw, microgreens are just the little seedlings that pop up after you plant the seeds.
So, what five microgreens will I be planting in time for Christmas?
- Arugula - this is the perfect topping for your Christmas Lasagna or bruschetta — and it offers the same amount of calcium as spinach.
- Basil - the PERFECT addition to many tart Christmas drinks. Basil is an anti-inflammatory.
- Radishes - wonderful, fresh addition to salads and even stuffing. As tasty as a full-grown radish. Vitamin C + Protein. If you like radishes, you'll love radish microgreens.
- Cilantro - for soups and stews. Super easy to grow. Lutein and Beta-Caratein Powerhouse.
- Pea - excellent for garnishing any egg dish and FANTASTIC for adding to mashed potatoes. 7x Vitamin C of blueberries.
- Onion Sprouts - use just as you would an onion. The sprouts taste just like an onion.
Reviving the little botanic spark in your heart
On this day in 1890, The San Francisco Call shared an article with this headline: Walking Clubs. Lazy People Have No Interest in the Subject.
Here's an excerpt:
"You may have heard of a hundred kinds of clubs, ... and you may belong half a dozen and yet have never heard of a walking club.
If so, you have missed one of the best of all. Autumn is here, and the bracing air makes you feel like exercising briskly.
The leaves are turning to gold and scarlet, the nuts are nearly ripe, and the squirrels are scampering through the trees, chattering challenges with saucy eyes.
Now is the time to organize walking clubs. A number of bright, boys and girls might get up such a club in an hour, No initiation, no fees. A President perhaps and maybe a Secretary to put down anything wonderful that may happen during the walks. The only business of the club will be to settle where they will walk. No constitution, no by-laws.
Take any morning when it does not rain, see that your feet are shod strongly and comfortably, and walk as many miles as you can without fatigue.
Hold up your head, throw your chest forward, and walk. Don't mince along or shuffle, but strike a long, swinging step from the hip joints.
Have a destination. Select a farmhouse or a country inn three miles out. Manage to get there in time for dinner or supper, and after eating, rest one hour. Then come home by a different route.
At night take a bath and go to bed.
Take a walk once the first week, twice the second week, and keep that up for six weeks. Then walk three times a week, if the weather permits. Begin with a six-mile walk and lengthen it to ten.
Keep up these walks during the autumn and winter — in fact, up to next summer. Get a number to go, and keep on enlisting new members. Seek a new route for every walk, if such a thing is possible. If not, add variety by dividing the club into two detachments, which shall meet at some previously agreed upon place to lunch. Then "swap routes" for the return trip, or return all together by a third route.
There are a hundred ways of preventing monotony. Incite members to discover new points of interest and get an amateur botanist or geologist to join you. Study natural history as you walk, discuss, argue, reason, but don't quarrel. This is the way to be healthy and wise. Never mind the wealth— that will come of itself."
Thanks for listening to the daily gardener,
"For a happy, healthy life, garden every day."
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