Today we celebrate a diary entry made by Columbus as well as the man who introduced the potato to England.
We'll learn about the Botanical Painter, who served botanists and French Royalty and the garden writer who inspired many with his Lancashire garden diary.
We'll hear some amusing garden prose.
We Grow That Garden Library with a book that helps you make your vegetable gardens more beautiful by strategically adding cut flowers.
I'll talk about the kind of coal gardeners will want in their stockings this Christmas, and then we'll wrap things up with some thoughts on flowers by the Impressionist painter we lost 100 years ago today.
But first, let's catch up on a few recent events.
Today's Curated Articles:
Great post from @learningherbs with five herbs that are great to start from seed or cuttings for your winter apothecary: rosemary, horehound, mullein, ground cherries, and common sage. The Grateful Tree – A Thanksgiving story | @wwediting Ya’ll need to stop and read this. There are still some sacred parts of nature that remain untouched by us - this is a story about that. Thanks for writing it @wwediting. It's a lovely read. The Grateful Tree – A Thanksgiving story
A Visit to Jupiterartland | @EllenMaryGarden Ellen Mary tweeted, "Today I visited @jupiterartland in Edinburgh for a private tour of which I’m super thankful I’ve never been to a garden that has floored me quite like it! A mix of awe & terror, inspiration & confusion... the artwork & sculptures are quite something#art #landscape #garden https://pic.twitter.com/kE0rs2ARSY," I replied:
"Now THAT's a garden visit. It will be interesting to hear what your thoughts are about this place over time. It's always fascinating to me how a garden speaks to us long after a visit. Sometimes first impressions are shadows of a more profound understanding that comes later."
Now, if you'd like to check out these curated items 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 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 On this day in 1492, Christopher Columbus noted in his diary:
"I climbed a mountain and came to level ground, which was sown with many different crops and with gourds."
The gourds Columbus was referring to were squashes that were used for more than food. After the skin had been cleaned and dried, they were used as utensils.
#OTD On this Day in 1586, Sir Thomas Herriot introduced Colombian potatoes to England.
Over fifty years earlier, the Spanish had been the first to discover potatoes - but Herriot's potatoes were the first to reach England.
Harriot had spent time in Sir Walter Raleigh’s English colony on Roanoke Island in modern-day North Carolina. There, he studied not only wildlife but also potatoes from Columbia.
Herriot was also an astronomer. In July of 1609, he created a drawing of the moon through a telescope over four months before Galileo.
#OTD Today is the anniversary of the death of the French botanical painter for King Louis the XIV and XV, Claude Aubriet, who died on this day in 1742.
When Aubriet was appointed "Painter to the King" after the death of his master Jean Joubert in 1707, he technically didn't have the right credentials because he didn't belong to the Academy of painting and sculpture. But, the King approved Aubriet's appointment anyway, and he lived at the Royal Garden until he died.
Aubriet was sponsored by the French botanist Joseph Pitton de Tournefort to create over a thousand illustrations for his acclaimed book - Elements of Botany. Other botanists, including Sebastien Vaillant and Antoine Jussieu, also hired Aubriet to do their illustrations.
During his time at court, Aubriet painted twenty-four miniatures a year for 35 years resulting in nearly 600 vellums for the royal collection. Today, they are preserved at the Museum national d’Histoire Naturelle of Paris.
What distinguishes Aubriet’s work was his desire to paint all the known species in both the animal and plant kingdoms. Aubriet painted fish and insects and birds and mammals - in addition to plants.
In 1722, Aubriet changed his will. His most prized possession was a cabinet he had inherited from his former master Jean Joubert. Aubriet left the cabinet to his friend, the botanist Bernard Jussieu. The cabinet was described this way:
“In a wood veneer, exquisite paintings of parrots... ornamented the panels ... with their golden border.”
As you might have already suspected, the genus Aubrieta (“Aubreesha”) was named for Claude Aubriet by the French Botanist Michel Adanson. Aubrieta is an ornamental plant, and it grows well in rock gardens. The leaves resemble succulents, and after flowering, a light clip will encourage new shoots.
#OTD On this day in 1873, the gardener and writer Henry Arthur Bright began a diary, which would become known as the book "A Year in a Lancashire Garden" - one of the most beloved garden biographies of the nineteenth century.
Bright's book would inspire future garden writers like Eleanor Vere Gorden Boyle, Henry Nicholson Ellacombe, Maria Theresa Earle, and Elizabeth Lawrence.
Here are some excerpts from Bright's journal entry for this day in 1873. At the very end, he talks about making a potent tincture with petals from a Madonna Lily:
"These notes are written for those who love gardens as I do... and they are written ... to convey to others some little of the delight, which grows (more certainly than any bud or flower) from the possession and management of a garden.
Lancashire is not the best possible place for a garden, and to be within five miles of a large town is certainly no advantage. We get smoke on one side, and salt breezes on another, and, worst of all, there comes down upon us every now and then a blast, laden with heavy chemical odors, which is more deadly than either smoke or salt. Still, we are tolerably open, and in the country.
These are certainly what the American poet Bryant calls “the melancholy days, the saddest in the year.” The late autumn flowers are over; —the early spring ones are still buried under the soil. I could only find this morning a single blighted monthly Rose, a Wallflower or two, an uneasy-looking Polyanthus, and some yellow Jasmine against the house—and that was all. Two days of early frost had killed the rest.
Lastly, the Chrysanthemums are in flower. The Chrysanthemum has three merits above almost every flower. It comes in the shortest and darkest days; it blooms abundantly in the smoke of the largest cities; it lasts longer than any flower when cut and put into water. If flowers have virtues, the virtue of the Chrysanthemum is its unselfish kindliness.
In the hybrid beds, I shall plant a number of roots of the Lilium candidum—the dear old white Lily of cottage gardens. And as I write I am told of a recipe [using] the firm white petals. You must gather them while still fresh, place them unbroken in a wide-necked bottle, packed closely and firmly together, and then pour in what brandy there is room for. In case of cut or bruise, no remedy is more efficacious and certainly none more simple."
“There are many in this old world of ours who hold that things break about even for all of us. I have observed, for example, that we all get the same amount of ice. The rich get it in the summertime, and the poor get it in the winter.”
- Bat Masterson - who had a Daylily named in his honor
"An onion can make people cry, but there's never been a vegetable that can make people laugh."
- Will Rogers
The subtitle for this book is Companion Planting for Beauty and Bounty.
As the description of this book reminds us,
"Planting vegetables and flowers together is one of the oldest ways to create a healthy, bountiful garden, but there's more to the method than you might think. Vegetables Love Flowers will walk you through the ins and outs of companion planting, from how it works to which plants go together and how to grow the best garden for your climate."
Lisa provides excellent guidance on how to incorporate flowers into a vegetable garden. She offers helpful tips and ideas for stunning vegetable gardens that are full of color - btw, the images in this book are beautiful.
If you've ever wondered how you can enjoy a year of beauty in your garden - growing both healthy veggies and gorgeous flowers to boot, this book will be an inspiration.
- Charcoal soil conditioner
- Improves drainage and absorbs impurities
- Horticultural charcoal is an additional item recommended by garden writers for custom mixing potting
- Will not burn releases nitrogen slowly, feeding plants over a long period, pelletized for easy application
This is the kind of coal a gardener would love to find in their stocking.
Reviving the little botanic spark in your heart
Today is the 100th anniversary of the death of the impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir who died on this day in 1919.
There's a little-known story about Renoir. For many years, he hung a sign on his garden gate which read,
"No Renoirs sold here. Beware the dog."
Pierre-Auguste Renoir said, when he was painting flowers, he was able to paint “freely and boldly without the mental effort he made with a model.”
“If you paint the leaf on a tree without using a model, your imagination will only supply you with a few leaves,” he said. “But Nature offers you millions, all on the same tree. … The artist who paints only what is in his mind must very soon repeat himself.”
It was Renoir who said,
“The pain passes but the beauty remains.”
“What seems most significant to me about our movement [Impressionism] is that we have freed painting from the importance of the subject. I am at liberty to paint flowers and call them flowers, without their needing to tell a story.”
Thanks for listening to the daily gardener,
"For a happy, healthy life, garden every day."
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