Today we celebrate the Feast Day of a gardener Abbott and an important day in the life of the Father of Taxonomy.
We'll learn about the man who planted the first pineapple in Hawaii on this day in 1813 and the botanist who shared a train with a President during his honeymoon to the Santa Catalina Mountains.
Today’s Unearthed Words feature garden-inspired New Year’s poetry from an artist and writer whose life has been obscured by time.
We Grow That Garden Library™ with a book that is trendy and handy and all about the greenery of January - Houseplants.
I'll talk about a great garden item to help your potting bench stay a little more organized,
and then we’ll wrap things up with the story of the couple who discovered the winter home of our most beloved butterfly.
But first, let's catch up on a few recent events.
Excellent design ideas from @Houzz featuring Amy Martin Landscape Design: clean, organic lines set the tone for the sloped yard. The hardscapes act as mini retaining walls. The grade was dealt with without a single retaining wall. It is gorgeous!!! The idea was to deal with the grade without making a highly structured terraced retaining wall,” Martin says. They regraded the yard, filling and sloping it to make navigating it easier and more comfortable.
Great Post by @ArchDigest featuring Landscape Designer Louis Benech: “For me, the garden is like walking into a dream, and my dreams are memories from other countries. I am more attached to the garden than to the house.”
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 search for links - the next time you're on Facebook, search for Daily Gardener Community and request to join. I'd love to meet you in the group.
827 Today is the anniversary of the death of Saint Adelard (pronounced Alard) of Corbie - a patron saint of gardeners - who died on this day in 827.
Adelard was related to Charlemagne; they were first cousins. In addition to serving as the Abbott of the Abbey, Adelard was also the gardener. Today, on St. Adelard’s Feast Day, Adelard is remembered in church iconography working in his garden while his Abbott’s crown is shown resting on the ground beside him.
1735 Today Carl Linnaeus went a-courting. He briefly visited an 18-year-old woman named Sara Lisa Morraea in full Lapp costume. He returned the next day and spent the entire day with Sara Lisa and her family. By the end of the month, his friends were betting bottles of wine that there would be a baptism within the next four years.
Sara Lisa was from a wealthy family. Her father was a doctor, and he agreed to allow Linnaeus to have her hand, once he had established himself. Linnaeus would return three years later. Carl Linnaeus and Sara Lisa were married on June 26, 1739.
Fourteen years later, on May 1st, 1753, Linnaeus published his masterpiece Species Plantarum and changed plant taxonomy forever.
Linnaeus is known as the Father of Taxonomy; his naming system is called binomial nomenclature. Binomial means "two names" which in the naming game includes the plant's genus (which is capitalized or could be abbreviated by its first letter) and species or specific epithet (which is all lowercase and can be abbreviated sp.) If you have trouble remembering taxonomy, I like to think of it as the given name and surname of a person, but in reverse order.
The names that Linnaeus assigned live on unchanged and are distinguished by an “L.” after their name. And, it was Linnaeus himself who said:
“God created, Linnaeus ordered.”
The national flower of Sweden is the Linnaea (Linn-ee-ah) Borealis or the Twinflower; After naming over 8,000 plants, the Twin Flower was the lucky plant to which Linnaeus gave his name. And, it was Linnaeus’ favorite plant.
Linnaea is the genus. Borealis is the species, and it references where it is found (Borealis means northern). As for the story of how Linnaeus named it after himself, he was persuaded to do so by a Dutch botanist - his great friend, Jan Frederik Gronovius.
Twinflower belongs to the honeysuckle family. It's a sweet tiny plant, offering a faint scent of vanilla.
1813 The first pineapple was planted in the kingdom of Hawaii by the Spaniard and botanist Don Francisco de Paula Marin. The Hawaiian word for pineapple translates to "foreign fruit."
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. Two years after planting the first pineapple, 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.
Marin is remembered as Hawaii's Original Farmer.
1831 Today is the birthday of the botanist John Gill ("J.G.") Lemmon.
Lemmon and his wife, Sara Plummer Lemmon, were both botanists. Although Sara partnered equally with her husband on their botanical work, their papers were always published with the credentials "J.G. Lemmon & Wife."
The Lemmons had found each other late in life in California. They had both suffered individually during the Civil War. John was taken prisoner at Andersonville. He barely survived, and his health was impacted for the rest of his life. Sara had worked herself ragged. She tended wounded soldiers in New York while teaching full time.
In 1881, the Lemmons took a honeymoon trip to Arizona. They called it their "botanical wedding trip." The Lemmons rode a train to Tucson along with another passenger - President Rutherford B. Hayes. When they arrived in Tuscon, the Lemmons immediately set off for the Santa Catalina Mountains.
In Elliot's History of Arizona, there are some recollections of the Lemmon’s time in the mountains that illustrate their fortitude and bravery:
"The Lemmons often sat on the stone porch of their cave and dug the thorns and spines out of their hands and feet." Once, they saw, " . . . a lion so large he carried a huge buck away without dragging feet or antlers."
When the Lemmons returned to Tucson unsuccessful and discouraged, they were told to meet a rancher named Emerson Oliver Stratton. Thanks to Stratton, they were able to ascend the Catalinas from the backside. When they arrived at the summit, Stratton was so impressed with Sara's drive and demeanor he named the mountain in her honor - Mount Lemmon. Sara was the first woman to climb the Catalinas. Twenty-five years later, in 1905, the Lemmons returned to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. When they climbed the Catalina's in celebration, Stratton was again at their side, helping them retrace the steps of their "botanical wedding trip" to the top of Mount Lemmon.
1899 The first issue of the New England Botanical Club’s journal, Rhodora, was published.
The first editor was Dr. Benjamin Robinson of Harvard University. Robinson served as an assistant to Sereno Watson and succeeded him as the curator of Gray Herbarium at Harvard University.
From the Rhodora website, “Rhodora is a journal of botany devoted primarily to the flora of North America. It has been in publication continuously since 1899. This peer-reviewed quarterly comprises 400-500 pages per year. Members of the New England Botanical Club receive the journal with their annual membership.” Individual membership (in the USA & International) is $50.
The artist and writer Minnie Aumônier ("o·mo·nyé") wrote some of the most beautiful verses about the garden and about ringing in the new year. Although little has been written about Minnie’s life, she was part of an artistic family.
Her father, William, founded the Aumonier Studios in 1876, an architectural sculpture firm in London. Her Uncle James was a painter.
"Pure as the joy a garden gives, the memory of a true friend lives. And like a garden, through the changing year is ever lovely, ever fresh and dear."
"The Old Year passes into the New, and gladness fills all the earth for the joyous awakening of bud and blossom is at hand."
Grow That Garden Library
The subtitle to this book is A Guide to Keeping Happy House Plants, and it came out in April of 2018.
I ran across this book in a gift store over Christmas break, and I absolutely love it. The cover is gorgeous!
Btw, Leaf Supply is the name of their book as well as their Sydney-based houseplant-delivery company. Leaf Supply is a beautiful, practical, and offers advice for choosing and caring for over 100 easy-to-find houseplants.
And, Lauren and Sophia recommend houseplants over giving fresh flowers as a gift. Of course, everyone loves receiving fresh flowers. But houseplants are a gift that has staying power.
More than a plant guide, Lauren and Sophia give inspiring plant styling advice - choosing pots, making the most of your indoor greenery, plus advice on pet-friendly (as well as harmful) plants for your home.
Great Gifts for Gardeners
I got this little tin desk organizer for my potting shed, and I love it. It is perfect for gathering up all the small odds and ends that manage to find their way onto my workbench. This little organizer will save gardeners time from hunting for bits and bobs. I love the compact size, the patina of the tin, and the cute hardware and label holders.
- Product Dimensions: 10½"W x 5"D x 6"H
- Includes two label holders and a decorative handle.
Today’s Botanic Spark
1975 The naturalist Kenneth C. Brugger (“Brew-ger”) and his then-wife, Cathy Trail, discovered the first winter refuge of monarch butterflies in Mexico.
Kenneth had been born in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in 1918. After serving in World War II, Kenneth began working for Jockey International - the company known for making underwear.
Kenneth was mechanically inclined, and he ultimately became Jockeys Chief Engineer. Kenneth was credited with many of Jockey’s innovations. He even invented a machine that minimized shrinkage in the fabric of the underwear. It was called a compactor.
During the 1960s, Kenneth moved to Mexico. There, Kenneth met his future wife, Cathy.
In 1972, Kenneth read an advertisement that had been placed in a Mexico City newspaper by the Canadian zoologist husband-and-wife team of Fred and Norah Urquhart (“Irk-Heart”).
The Urquharts had followed the monarchs as far as Texas. Fred and Norah believed that the butterflies ended up settling somewhere in Mexico - but they needed help, which was the reason they placed their advertisement in search of citizens to help their research.
Luckily, Kenneth and Cathy answered the advertisement. Kenneth was an avid amateur naturalist, and Cathy was a native Mexican. She knew the country, understood the culture and the people, and she was fluent in Spanish. Together, Kenneth and Cathy ultimately became paid assistants of the Urquharts.
Finally, on this fateful day in 1975, Kenneth and Cathy completed the work began by Fred and Norah 38 years earlier when they discovered the winter home of the monarch butterfly in the mountains of Mexico.
Twenty months later, in August of 1976, Kenneth and Cathy’s discovery made the cover of National Geographic magazine. The image showed a picture of Cathy - covered in monarch butterflies. She was 26 years old.
In the years since the discovery, Kenneth and Cathy separated and then divorced. Cathy changed her name to Catalina and moved to Austin, Texas. She tells people, "I'm not a scientist… I'm a gardener that likes insects."
Kenneth died at the age of 80 in 1998.
Kenneth and Cathy’s quest was part of an IMAX movie called Flight of the Butterflies.
There is one touching fact worth mentioning about Kenneth’s personal story. His Wikipedia entry says that he couldn’t fully appreciate the beauty of witnessing the monarchs at their winter home; Kenneth was colorblind.
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