January 17, 2020 The Conifer Comeback, Best Plants to Paint for Beginners, Leonhart Fuchs, Gaspard Bauhin, John Ray, Peter Henderson, The Herb Lover’s Spa Book by Sue Goetz, Hanging Glass Wall Planters, and David Wheeler’s Hortus

Show Notes

Today we celebrate the German botanist who’s 1542 book is one of the most historically significant works of all time and the birthday of a man who discovered the rutabaga.

We'll learn about the man known as “The Father of English Botany” and the man known as the “Father of American Horticulture.”

Today’s Unearthed Words celebrate the sleeping winter landscape.

We Grow That Garden Library™ with a book that helps us create a spa experience in our own homes using herbs from the garden.

I'll talk about a garden item that can turn your plants into wall art, and then we’ll wrap things up with the story of a man who came up with the idea for a magazine for gardeners who read and readers who garden.

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



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Curated Articles

Great Dixter's Head Gardner, Fergus Garrett, On Conifers | House & Garden

Great post from @_houseandgarden about "Why the Conifer is Having a Comeback."

"Conifers do not have to be plonked in island beds with gaudy heathers, or peppered around Seventies-style rockeries like missiles...
Their range is mouth-watering, adding form and texture with a twist."


Best Plants To Paint For Beginners | Kew

Pick up your brushes - Here's Kew’s list of the best plants to paint for beginners | @kewgardens


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

1501 Today is the birthday of the German botanist Leonhart Fuchs.

Leonard and his wife had ten children. The genus Fuchsia is named after Fuchs. Leonhart published the first drawing of a corn plant. He also drew one of the first illustrations of the pumpkin plant.

It took Leonard 31 years to write his herbal masterpiece called Historia Stirpium. In the book, he describes 497 plants and 500 illustrations. In 1542, the book was published, and the medicinal uses for each plant were included in the descriptions. His goal was to make the knowledge of herbs accessible to the people. The fact that his book contained so many illustrations definitely helped him achieve his goal.

Leonard’s book described over a hundred plants that had never been written about - like Pumpkins, Chili Peppers, Corn, and Squash. Leonard's Historia Stirpium is regarded as one of the most historically valuable and significant books of all time.

Now, I wanted to share that the cover of the book - which is beautiful - was a bit of a mystery to me. It shows a tree with a coffin in its branches. It turns out it was a printer mark of the printer, Michael Isingrin, who was the printer of Historia Stirpium.

The image of the coffin in a tree forms a Christian cross, and the tree holding the coffin was a holly tree. The inscription "Palma Ising" (i.e., by the hand of Isingrin) is the mark that identifies Michael Isingrin, the printer. " The depiction of a holly tree (Ilex spp. ) was deliberate. Holly is a symbol of eternal life. So essentially, the image represents life and death - the coffin in the tree. Incidentally, the holly tree is regarded as the evergreen twin of the oak.


1560 Today is the 460th birthday of the Swiss botanist Gaspard Bauhin. Gaspard spent his life classifying plants, and he ordered plants in a way that's familiar to us today - using binomial names, one name for the genus, and one name for the species.

Gaspard was also the first to document a vegetable he named the napobrassica, the vegetable we know today as the rutabaga. Gaspard’s name for the rutabaga was prophetic because DNA testing has proven that the rutabaga is the result of a turnip crossing with a cabbage.

Gaspard mentioned in his work that the rutabaga was grown in the northern fields of Bohemia, where the people simply called it “root.” Can you survive on rutabaga’s or Swedish turnips, as they are sometimes called? Yes. Yes, you can. Rutabagas can grow to be as big or bigger than a bowling ball.

Almost a year ago, Helen Rosner wrote an article called, “What Rutabaga Does Better Than Anything Else.” It turns out; the rutagaba is perfect for making neutral-tasting, nicely-textured vegetable noodles. Use turnips and the noodles are too spicy. Use zucchini, and the noodles are meh. Use carrots, the noodles are too sweet. But, rutabaga noodles are just right.

Rosner’s favorite restaurant in Brooklyn makes rutabaga noodles using a Japanese slicer resulting in perfect paper ribbons of rutabaga. If you look at the finished dish, you’d never know they weren’t real pasta.

Gaspard wrote, “Pinax Theatri Botanici” (“An Illustrated Exposition of Plants”). In his book, he described thousands of plants, and he classified them using binomial nomenclature. Naturally, his work is considered a forerunner to that of Carl Linnaeus.


1705 Today is the anniversary of the death of the botanist and theologian John Ray. Ray is regarded as the most distinguished British naturalist of the seventeenth century and “The Father of English Botany.”

Ray was born to a blacksmith, and his mother was an herbalist. He was ordained as a minister but then turned his attention to zoology and botany after the King of England ordered the clergy to condemn their covenant with the church.

In 1650, twenty-five years before the first maps of Europe were written for the masses; Ray went on a quest. He traveled around Europe for three years - with two friends - and he observed flora and fauna. Ray coined the botanical terms ‘petal’ and ‘pollen.’ His book, Historia Plantarum, was the first textbook of modern botany.

The naturalist Gilbert White wrote,

”Our countryman, the excellent Mr. Ray, is the only describer [of plants and animals] who conveys some precise idea in every term or word, maintaining his superiority over his followers and imitators.”

The sculptor, Faith Winter, created a distinguished-looking statue of John Ray. It was unveiled by the botanist David Bellamy on October 11, 1986.


1890 Today is the anniversary of the death of the Scottish-American plantsman Peter Henderson.

Known as “The Father of America Horticulture,” he published "Gardening for Profit" in 1866, followed by "Gardening for Pleasure."

"Gardening for Profit" was the first to book ever written about market gardening in the United States.

When Peter arrived in the US, he worked for a time for the nurserymen George Thorburn and Robert Buist.

After years of refining his growing systems and practices, he established his seed company on his 49th birthday. Peter ran the company - alongside his two sons, Alfred and Charles.

In Peter’s biography written by his son, Alfred, it said:

“His long experience as a market gardener probably made him realize more than most seedsmen, the necessity of testing seeds before offering them for sale, but whatever the cause, the fact remains, that he was the first in this country to initiate the true and natural way of proving the vitality of seeds—that is, by sowing them in the soil, the seedman's usual plan being to germinate them in moist cotton or flannel—nearly always a misleading method.”

Peter lived nearly his whole life in Jersey City. He began of friendship with Andrew Carnegie after reading his book called Triumphant Democracy. He also became friends with the Reverend Henry Ward Beecher; they shared a giddy love for flowers. Mr. William R. Smith, the superintendent of the Botanic Gardens at Washington,  paid Peter the highest possible tribute in calling him "The Great Horticultural Missionary."


Unearthed Words

Here are some poems that use a sleeping metaphor to describe the Landscape in Winter.


The hiss was now becoming a roar -
the whole world was a vast moving screen of snow -
but even now it said peace,
it said remoteness,
it said cold,
it said sleep.

— Conrad Aiken, American Writer


I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields,
that it kisses them so gently?
And then it covers them up snug,
you know, with a white quilt;
and perhaps it says
“Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”

— Lewis Carroll, English Writer


The cold earth slept below;
Above the cold sky shone;
And all around,
With a chilling sound,
From caves of ice and fields of snow
The breath of night like death did flow
Beneath the sinking moon.

The moon made thy lips pale, beloved;
The wind made thy bosom chill;
The night did shed
On thy dear head
Its frozen dew, and thou didst lie
Where the bitter breath of the naked sky
Might visit thee at will.

— Percy Bysshe Shelley, English Romantic Poet, The cold earth slept below


When against earth a wooden heel
Clicks as loud as stone on steel,
When stone turns flour instead of flakes,
And frost bakes clay as fire bakes,
When the hard-bitten fields at last
Crack like iron flawed in the cast,
When the world is wicked and cross and old,
I long to be quit of the cruel cold.

Little birds like bubbles of glass
Fly to other Americas,
Birds as bright as sparkles of wine
Fly in the nite to the Argentine,
Birds of azure and flame-birds go
To the tropical Gulf of Mexico:
They chase the sun; they follow the heat,
It is sweet in their bones, O sweet, sweet, sweet!
It's not with them that I'd love to be,
But under the roots of the balsam tree.

Just as the spiniest chestnut-burr
Is lined within with the finest fur,
So the stoney-walled, snow-roofed house
Of every squirrel and mole and mouse
Is lined with thistledown, sea-gull's feather,
Velvet mullein-leaf heaped together
With balsam and juniper, dry and curled,
Sweeter than anything else in the world.
O what a warm and darksome nest
Where the wildest things are hidden to rest!
It's there that I'd love to lie and sleep,
Soft, soft, soft, and deep, deep, deep!

— Elinor Wylie, American Poet, Winter Sleep


Grow That Garden Library

The Herb Lover's Spa Book by Sue Goetz

This book came out in 2015, and the subtitle to this book is: Create a Luxury Spa Experience at Home with Fragrant Herbs from Your Garden.

Sue shows us how easy it is to grow and prepare therapeutic herbs for a custom spa experience in the comfort of your own home. It will help you unplug, relax, and make the world go away.

Sue was the perfect author for this book - an herb gardener, spa enthusiast, and award-winning garden designer - she gives simple steps for growing and preparing herbs for aromatherapy oils, lotions, tub teas, masks, scrubs, sachets, and more.

You can get a used copy of The Herb Lover's Spa Book by Sue Goetz and support the show, using the Amazon Link in today's Show Notes for under $3. Great deal!


Great Gifts for Gardeners

Pack of 6 Glass Planters Wall Hanging Planters Round Glass Plant Pots $22.99

I had a friend who had these little glass globe planters on her walls, and she filled them all with succulents, and over the holidays, she added mini led lights with the warm color, and they are battery-operated, and it looked so great. She hung hers with screws.

I’m planning to use my favorite moldable glue product -Sugru - to hang mine. Anyway, they look very cool on the wall with air plants or with pathos or what have you. It ends up looking like plant art for your walls. Perfect anywhere - mine will be going in the guest bathroom.

  • The package includes six glass hanging planters with six nails.
  • Size: 4.7-inch diameter for each glass ball air plant pot.
  • The hole on the back of the glass planter allows you to hang it on the wall with the small white nail without doing any harm on your wall.
  • The wall hanging planter is a perfect container for your air plants, water plants, and any other plant accessories.


Today’s Botanic Spark

1989 David Wheeler's gardening journal, Hortus, was started.

Adrian Higgins wrote about David’s founding of Hortus in the Washington Post eight years ago saying:

“A curious throwback to the analog age landed in my mailbox the other day: Hortus, a journal of garden writing.

Almost everything about the quarterly periodical is wonderfully old-fashioned: It produces tactile and aesthetic pleasures once taken for granted ...

Flop in a soft chair, thumb the pages and ponder that Hortus doesn’t exist in some electronic ether ...

David Wheeler started Hortus 31 years ago, and he has a motto that Hortus “is for gardeners who read and readers who garden.”

Thirty-one years later, the subscription list continues to stay modest. Subscriptions are about $75 a year, which includes airmail postage. Wheeler also writes for newspapers and other periodicals to supplement his income.

He tells his friends that Hortus “pays for the tonic, but not the gin.”

FYI: I just bought a subscription myself — Merry Christmas to me.

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