January 7, 2020 Blue in the Garden for 2020, Paris in Bloom, George Clifford III, Mary Somerset, David Landreth, Ignatz Urban, January Rhymes, The Essential Earthman by Henry Clay Mitchell, S-Hooks, and Eliza Amy Hodgson

Show Notes

Today we celebrate the wealthy Dutch banker who bought enough plants to fill a book for a young Carl Linnaeus and a royal gardener who is an ancestor of Princess Diana.

We'll learn about the man who started the first seed company in America and the German botanist buried in the Botanical Garden he curated during his lifetime.

Today’s Unearthed Words feature words for children about January.

We Grow That Garden Library™ with a book written by a beloved Washington DC garden columnist.

I'll talk about a garden item that I use all the time in my potting shed and around my garden (so many uses!),

and then we’ll wrap things up with the New Zealand gardener, who is featured in one of my all-time favorite garden photos.

But first, let's catch up on a few recent events.



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Curated Articles

Gardening: Going blue for 2020

The Pantone color of the year for 2020 is Classic Blue. Here's a great post from Nancy Szerlag Detroit News who suggests blue options for the garden:

"If I were to look for that color to use in the garden, my first thought would be a Delphinium. Nigella ‘Miss Jekyll' produces exquisite quarter-sized blue flowers on 15-inch plants in full to part sun in late spring or early summer. They are said to reseed annually, so I’m hoping a one-time planting of seed will do the job.

A favorite blue flowering shrub of mine is Proven Winners Color Choice ‘Blue Chiffon’ Rose of Sharon. In full sun, it will climb to 10 feet and be covered in lovely anemone-like blossoms for several weeks in summer."


Paris in Bloom - Flower Magazine

Here's an excerpt from Georgianna Lane's new book Paris in Bloom. Georgianna's charming images of parks, gardens, shops, and architectural motifs are a vision of Romance and Spring - the perfect gift for Valentine's Day.


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.


Important Events

1685   Today is the birthday of the wealthy Dutch banker and a director of the Dutch East India Company George Clifford III. Clifford loved gardens and had a passion for plants and plant collecting. His work with the Dutch East India Company had made him quite wealthy, and he could afford to purchase the latest plants discovered from around the world in the early 1700s.

Clifford invited a young Swedish naturalist to come and stay at his estate. Over two years from 1736 to 1738, Carl Linnaeus helped Clifford with his plant inventory, and he cataloged his vast herbarium. Clifford’s estate gave Linnaeus a treasure trove of botanical specimens, which became the subjects of a book - his early Botanical Masterpiece called Hortus Cliffortianus. The book is essentially an inventory of Clifford's plant collection.

Today Clifford's herbarium is housed at the National History Museum in London.


1715   Today is the anniversary of the death of Mary Somerset, Duchess of Beaufort ("BOH-fert"). She was an avid gardener and botanist. She survived two husbands and had eight children. After she was widowed a second time, she focused all of her discretionary effort on gardening. The best horticultural minds of her time helped Mary with her efforts: George London, Lenard Plukenet, and William Sherard. Her next-door neighbor was Sir Hans Sloane, and when Mary died, she (like almost every plant-lover of her era) left her herbarium and other valuable botanical items to him. This is how Hans Sloane became a one-man Botanical Repository. Among Mary's many descendants are Princess Diana and the genus Beaufortia was named in her honor by Robert Brown.


1784  Today, David Landreth started the first American commercial seed business in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

David and his family immigrated to Montreal from England in 1780. Four years later, David relocated his family to Philadelphia and named the company simply David Landreth.

David was one of the first nurseries to propagate seeds from the Lewis and Clark expeditions. He introduced the Mexican Zinnia in 1798, the garden tomato in 1820, the 'Landreths’ Extra Early' pea in 1822, and the 'Bloomsdale' spinach in 1826.

His son, David Jr, took over the business after his death. David Jr. was one of the founding members of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, which started in 1827.

Today the Landreth Seed Company is the fifth oldest corporation in America.


1848  Today is the birthday of the German botanist and curator of Berlin Botanical Garden, Ignatz Urban.  He helped catalog the Flora of the Caribbean and Brazil.

In 1986, Urban’s tombstone was moved to the Botanical Garden he helped relocate during his tenure. He lies alongside other well-known botanists in Berlin.


Unearthed Words

Today’s Unearthed Words were written to delight little ears, which makes them timeless in my book. The theme, of course, is January.


Little January
Tapped at my door today.
And said, "Put on your winter wraps,
And come outdoors to play."
Little January
Is always full of fun;
Until the set of sun.
Little January
Will stay a month with me
And we will have such jolly times -
Just come along and see.

— Winifred Marshall Gales, Abolitionist & Author, January


The sun came out,
And the snowman cried.
His tears ran down
on every side.
His tears ran down
Till the spot was cleared.
He cried so hard
That he disappeared.

— Margaret Hillert, American author, poet, and educator, January Thaw


January opens
The box of the year
And brings out days
That are bright and clear
And brings out days
That are cold and grey
And shouts, "Come see
What I brought today!

—  Leland B. Jacobs, Poet & Literature Professor at Ohio State, January 


In January
it's so nice
while slipping
on the sliding ice
to sip hot chicken soup with rice.
Sipping once
Sipping twice.

— Maurice Sendak, American illustrator, and writer of children's books (Where the Wild Things Are), In January


Grow That Garden Library

The Essential Earthman by Henry Clay Mitchell

Mitchell was a garden columnist for the Washington Post, and this book was the sharing of the many posts featured in his column.

As a writer, Mitchell was down-to-earth and funny. As a gardener, Mitchell was down-to-earth and funny. This is why, for me, his book is a personal favorite.

Here is an excerpt regarding his suggested New Year’s Resolutions for gardeners:

“The days are now at their shortest, and the gardener should keep it in mind that his ill humor and (as it may be) gloominess is directly linked to this nadir of the year. All that is necessary is to hold on until spring or a few sunny days, which will surely come in January, February, March, April, or May at the latest. Meanwhile, several activities will help the gardener keep cheerful.

  • Whenever it snows, go out with a broom and swat all conifers likely to be broken down by snow.
  • Whenever there are ice storms, pull the window shades down.
  • When Christmas gift plants… stop blooming, either give them conditions they require or else throw them out. There is no point making yourself miserable by watching a Poinsettia, Cyclamen, or Azalea died over a period of 3 months.
  • Force yourself, for once, to order the varieties of annuals you want from a seedsman in January, so you will not find yourself in a snit in March.
  • Decide those old gardeners are correct, who have been saying for the past few hundred years, that nothing is lovelier or more cheerful in Winter than common ivy, common holly, and common yew. And, you might add, junipers.
  • Put a couple of logs in Lily pools to absorb or deflect some of the pressure of the ice. Do not chop holes in the ice. Fish do not need air holes.
  • If it ever gets warmish again, admire the swelling buds of Elm, Ash, Azalea, flowering Quince. Make up your mind once and for all whether you will give space to a Pussy Willow Bush. Whichever you decide, decide, and stop being of two minds about it.
  • Thank God you do not have to stay in the garden all winter like a blasted Snowdrop ( which should, incidentally, be showing some signs of activity within the year’s first month). Gardeners, on the other hand, will stir about April 8th.

You can get a used copy of Mitchell's book and support the show, using the Amazon Link in today's Show Notes for around $3.


Great Gifts for Gardeners

RETON 20 PCS Black Color Heavy-duty Steel S-hooks for Plants, Towels $7.99

  • Package includes: 20 x S Hooks
  • Heavy-duty steel with PVC coating for durability
  • Great for hanging plants, towels, pans, pots, bags or dozens of other uses around kitchen and bedroom
  • Hook size: Length about 3.4"; Width of open end about 1.2"; Thickness about 0.1" or 3mm
  • The storage hooks can hold up to 40 lbs.; they are made to handle heavier loads.


Today’s Botanic Spark

1983  Today is the anniversary of the death of New Zealand botanist Eliza Amy Hodgson.

Hodgson specialized in liverworts. Liverworts are nonvascular plants like mosses. Without a vascular system, mosses and liverworts don’t get very big. These are tiny plants to be sure, and worts are considered one level simpler than mosses. They grow flat on the ground and have large leaf-like structures. Like mosses, worts thrive in moist areas.

The word "wort" means "little plant, herb or root" (St. John’s Wort, Pennywort, lungwort, and Bladderwort.)

Long ago, herbalists likely thought one of the liverworts resembled a liver - and so used it as a medicine for liver ailments. Thus, the word liverwort means a "liver-like small plant."

Now, the reason I chose Eliza Amy Hodgson to close the show today is that she is often shown in a photo, standing in front of a flower border with green foliage and white blossoms. The only problem with the photo is that Eliza is wearing a green hat along with a green dress that is covered in white leaves, which turns the photo into a bit of a Where’s Waldo - and it makes sweet Eliza look like her head is floating above the Landscape.

So, here’s a thank you to dear Eliza - who gives us the good reminder never to have your clothes blend in too much with the garden - lest you, in an odd way, become part of the garden itself.

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