Today we celebrate the German reformer who added the cultivation of Mulberries and silkworms as part of his schools and the man who started the Linnean Society.
We'll learn about the Salem Botanist, who was a friend of Thoreau and Emerson and the man known as the Father of Texas Botany.
We'll hear the poem that takes us through the months of the year - ending with "And the night is long, And cold is strong, In bleak December."
We Grow That Garden Library with one of the best books of the year, and it takes us on a tour of the world's best gardens.
I start my new segment for Holiday Gardener Gift Recommendations, and then we wrap things up with the birth flower for December.
But first, let's catch up on a few recent events.
Today's Curated Articles:
Great post from Dr. Rupesh Paudyal @talkplant: "The best conversation killer that I know bar none: Plant science is important because… zzzzzzz (the person switches off)" We must flip the script. Plant science needs new scholars! Recruit, Recruit, Recruit!
Chicago Residence by Dirk Denison Architects | HomeAdore
@HomeAdore shared this incredible home where there is a whole lot of green going on - garden terraces, outdoor landscaping, an adjacent park, terrariums, and integrated aquariums with aquatic plants galore. I want!
Heres a Cheesy Acorn Squash Recipe from @allrecipes. It's a nice change from traditional sweet acorn squash. This variation is supposed to be so great that people who dislike squash like this recipe. Reviewers say to add some garlic to the sauté. Substitution ideas include using sautéed apples and onions, topping with panko breadcrumbs or bacon.
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 articles - 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 German theologian and educator, Johann Julius Hecker, who was born on this day in 1707.
Hecker recognized that a classical education didn't work for everyone, and so he founded secondary schools that prepared students for practical jobs and callings.
Hecker referred to his schools as, "the seed-beds of the state, from which the young, like trees from a nursery, could be transplanted in their proper places."
Hecker's work attracted the attention of the king of Prussia, Frederick the Great). King Frederick encouraged Hecker to expand his efforts. Hecker installed gardens near his schools to teach hands-on botany. The gardens included vegetables, herbs, and fruit trees. And, Hecker also taught the cultivation of the mulberry tree. This was a strategic decision by Hecker, who recognized that the production of silk and the care of silkworms would find favor with the King. Thanks to Hecker, both teachers and students tended a large mulberry plantation and learned the culture of silk and mulberries.
#OTD Today is the birthday of James Edward Smith, who was born on this day in 1759.
In 1784, on the recommendation of Joseph Banks, Smith purchased the entire collection of Carl Linnaeus.
When the King of Sweden learned of the purchase, he attempted to intercept the ship before it reached London. But he was too late.
With the collection securely in his possession, Smith founded the Linnean Society, and he also served as the first President.
The Linnean Society is the oldest biological society in the world. During the 18th and 19th century, the society was an important hub for scientific progress.
#OTD Today is the birthday of the Salem Massachusetts Unitarian minister and American botanist, John Lewis Russell, who was born on this day in 1808.
Russell attended Harvard along with his classmate of Charles Chauncy Emerson, whose big brother was Ralph Waldo Emerson. He graduated from the Harvard Divinity School in 1831 and served as a minister until 1854.
While he served his various congregations, Russell pursued his passion for botany.
In 1874, the Reverend Edmund B. Willson wrote a “Memoir of John Lewis Russell,” and he observed:
"Wherever this man went to fill a pulpit, the lovers of nature gravitated toward him, and he made them his allies. They attended him to the fields and ranged with him the steep hills and the miry swamps. His animated talk and moist, kindling eyes as he described the graces of the ferns and the glories of the grasses and the lichens quickened the love of beauty in them. He imparted stimulating knowledge of the secrets of the meadows and woods, and ... had an ear for the mysteries of the sea, [and] the forests, [and] the moss-coated rocks."
In late September of 1838, Russell visited Ralph Waldo Emerson, and they spent some time botanizing together. Emerson wrote about the visit in his journal:
"A good woodland day or two with John Lewis Russell who came here, & showed me mushrooms, lichens, & mosses. A man in whose mind things stand in the order of cause & effect & not in the order of a shop or even of a cabinet."
Almost twenty years later, Russell went to Concord and spent three days with Henry David Thoreau. It would not be the last time they spent together.
Thoreau showed him around town and asked Russell all of his botanical questions. He specifically sought help with plant identifications. For Russell, the trip was made special by finding the climbing fern during one of their walks. Russell had a particular life-long interest in cryptograms like ferns (plants that reproduce using spores).
As Russell's life was ending, he sent many charming letters to his younger family members. In a letter to his nephew, he wrote:
"When this reaches you spring will have commenced, and March winds... will have awakened some of the sleeping flowers of the western prairies, while we shall be still among the snow-drifts of [the] tardy departing winter. As I have not learned to fly yet I shall not be able to ramble with you after the pasque flower, or anemone, nor find the Erythronium albidum, nor the tiny spring beauty, nor detect the minute green mosses which will so soon be rising out of the ground. But I can sit by the Stewart’s Coal Burner in our sitting room and... recall the days when ... when we gathered Andromeda buds from the frozen bushes and traversed the ice-covered bay securely in the bright sunshine of the winter’s day. I often long.. for a return of those Arcadian days... As I grow older — now threescore and nearly ten — every year... interests me all the more in his [God’s] works and ways. Every little flower I meet with, ... that I never saw before, every little insect ... is a novelty... the ever-increasing discoveries of science and art, awaken my admiration, heighten my awe, and lead me to adoring trust... I will not trouble you to write to me, but I should like a spring flower which you gather; any one will be precious from you to your feeble and sick Old uncle and friend, J.L.R."
#OTD Today is the anniversary of the death of the Father of Texas Botany and legend, Ferdinand Jakob Lindheimer, who died on this day in 1879.
Lindheimer immigrated from Frankfurt, Germany, and spent more than a decade searching the wilds of Central and Southeast Texas for new species of plants.
The botanist George Engelmann was a friend and fellow immigrant from Frankfurt. Engelmann introduced him to other botanists from around the world, and he helped Lindheimer process and identify his numerous specimens.
In January of 1842, Lindheimer wrote Engelmann:
“Herewith I am sending you 180 species of plants, most of which I collected in the spring of 1840... Send me the names soon - so that I don’t have to keep creating nicknames such as I have been using as an aid... especially for the grasses; for instance, narrow ear, panicle ear, long ear, twin ear…”
While botanizing in Texas, Lindheimer discovered several hundred new plant species, and many now bear his name. Over his lifetime, Lindheimer collected close to 100,000 plant specimens in Texas.
There are many incredible stories of Lindheimer's botanizing. Once he came across an Indian war party and ended up in a staring competition with the chief. Lindheimer won.
Another time, Lindheimer had become friends with the Comanche chief Santana who wanted to trade Lindheimer two mules and a Mexican girl for his blue-eyed, blonde-haired grandson. Lindheimer politely declined the offer.
"January cold and desolate;
February dripping wet;
March wind ranges;
Birds sing in tune
To flowers of May,
And sunny June
Brings longest day;
In scorched July
The storm-clouds fly,
August bears corn,
In rough October
Earth must disrobe her;
Stars fall and shoot
In keen November;
And night is long
And cold is strong
In bleak December."
- Christina Giorgina Rossetti, The Months
The subtitle to this book is A Botanical Tour of the World’s Best New Gardens, and it is a fascinating and glorious armchair read to the most incredible gardens of our lifetime.
The cover of this 416-page book shows a garden that's at the Golden Rock Inn in Nevis. Miami-based designer Raymond Jungles designed the gardens under the stewardship of New York artists Helen and Brice Marden, the owners of Golden Rock.
After a long career in public horticulture, Chris Woods spent three years traveling the world seeking out contemporary gardens, and he found fifty of the best. His book is a botanical tour of the world's best new gardens - public, private, and corporate. Chris focuses on the gardens around the world that had been created or significantly altered -this century, the 21st century.
Chris views the gardens through a variety of themes, including beauty, conservation, architecture - plant and landscape, as well as urban spaces. Chris's book was published in late September, and it's such a great reminder for us to get out of our own gardens and see and learn from other gardens - especially public gardens.
Gardens Illustrated called this book,
"An extraordinary collection of 21st-century gardens that will arouse wanderlust… Whether you are a garden globetrotter or an armchair explorer, this book is definitely one to add to your collection. With wit and humor, Chris describes the most arresting features in public parks in exotic locations like New Delhi and Dubai, mission-redefining botanic gardens in Chile and Australia, and the most enviable details of lavish private estates and gemlike city yards. Throughout, he reveals the fascinating people, plants, and stories that make these gardens so lust-worthy."
Today's Recommended Holiday Gift for Gardeners
Crabtree & Evelyn's GARDENERS HAND CREAM - 25ML - $10
Buttery texture. Rich moisture. Botanical goodness.
For hands that are always on the go, press pause and treat them to our Gardeners Hand Cream.
• The nature-inspired formula, rich in herbal extracts.
• Super-hydrators macadamia seed oil and shea butter help replenish lost moisture.
• Created with lovers of the great outdoors in mind.
• The signature Gardeners fragrance inspired by summer memories of freshly-cut grass on a sunny day.
Reviving the little botanic spark in your heart
As we begin December, you may be wondering what December’s birth flower is? Well, it's no surprise that the December birth flower is the Poinsettia. Poinsettia is botanically known as the Euphorbia pulcherrima. Pulcherrima means “very beautiful.” Like all Euphorbias, the Poinsettia has milky sap. The Aztecs used the sap as a medicine to control fevers, and the red bracts were to make a reddish dye. In the 1820s, President John Quincy Adams appointed the botanist Dr. Joel Roberts Poinsett to serve as a US ambassador in Mexico. Poinsett soon observed a shrub on the side of the road that caught his eye. He sent specimens to his friends, and the Poinsettia became a sensation.
In 1836, English newspapers reported:
"Poinsettia Pulcherrima, the bracts which surround the numerous flowers, are of the most brilliant rosy-crimson color, the splendor of which is quite dazzling. Few, if any of the most highly valued beauties of our gardens, can vie with this.
Indeed, when we take into consideration the profuse manner in which it flowers, the luxuriance of its foliage, and the long duration of the bracts, we are not aware that there is any plant more deserving of a place in all select collections than this lovely and highly prized stranger."
Thanks for listening to the daily gardener,
"For a happy, healthy life, garden every day."
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