January 27, 2020 Butterfly Symmetry as Camouflage, The Love of Peat, Karl Wilhelm von Baden-Durlach, Samuel Palmer, Lewis Carroll, the National Geographic Society, the Humboldt Botanical Garden, Sissinghurst by Vita Sackville-West and Sarah Raven, Stylus 10 Pack, and Terramycin

Show Notes

Today we celebrate the King whose dream castle incorporated 1,200 varieties of tulips and the man who is regarded as the greatest channeler of the English rural landscape.

We'll learn about the mathematician who wrote a book inspired by the Oxford Botanic Garden and the relatively young Botanic Garden that was started in the 90s for the Northern California region.

Today’s Unearthed Words feature a beloved American poet who wrote a poem about Flowers in Winter.

We Grow That Garden Library™ with a book that dives deep into the behind-the-scenes of Sissinghurst - sharing all of Vita’s plant choices and how she created her masterpiece.

I'll talk about a garden item that can help you keep your phone clean and useable during the garden season - no more dirty or smudged screens!

And then we’ll wrap things up with the anniversary of an important antibiotic discovery from a soil sample taken in the great state of Indiana.

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



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Curated Articles

Moths And Butterflies Shift Their Symmetry To Improve Camouflage - Discover Wildlife

Using predation experiments and image analysis, this new study provides insights into how camouflaged prey have evolved.

A symmetrical midline makes the animal more noticeable to predators who can compare closer symmetrical patterns more easily.


For The Love Of Peat - By John Walker

Peat-free compost for carnivorous plants..."David Morris now grows his cobra lilies and sarracenias successfully in a basic mix of equal parts of Melcourt Growbark Pine, perlite and lime-free grit." (from John's article).


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

1679 Today is the birthday of German King Karl Wilhelm von Baden-Durlach.

In 1715, Karl founded the city Karl’s Ruhe or Charles’ Repose after he actually had a dream about building the city. At Karl’s castle in Durlach, there was a large flower garden with nearly 1,200 varieties of tulips. He also had over 7,000 orange trees.

In 1738, Karl  died while he was working in his tulip bed.

After his death, The Karlsruhe Pyramid was installed between 1823–1825 over his grave.


1805 Today is the birthday of the English painter, etcher, and printmaker Samuel Palmer.

Samuel Palmer is regarded as the greatest artist of the English rural landscape. Palmer’s landscapes exude a strong connection with the land and nature. Samuel was one of the lead members of an artist group called The Ancients who followed the visionary artist William Blake in the final years before his death in 1827. The Ancients often expressed their work with a mystical view of nature. For instance, Palmer painted trees with as if they had individual personalities.

It was Samuel Palmer who said,

“The visions of the soul, being perfect, are the only true standard by which nature must be tried.”

With regard to the garden, Palmer built a studio in for himself in his garden. He would access it by exiting the house through a secret door that looked like a bookcase.


1832 Today is the birthday of the English mathematician and writer Charles Lutwidge Dodgson also known as Lewis Carroll.

Lewis had worked as a librarian at Christ Church College in Oxford. His office window had a view of the Dean's Garden. Lewis wrote in his diary on the 25th of April in 1856 that he had visited the Deanery Garden, where he was planning to take pictures of the cathedral. Instead, he ended up taking pictures of children in the garden. The children were allowed in the Deanery Garden But not in the Cathedral Garden, which was connected to the Deanery Garden by a door.

The Oxford Botanic Garden inspired Lewis Carroll to write Alice in Wonderland.

The same garden also inspired the authors JRR Tolkien and Philip Pullman.

In Lewis Caroll’s Through the Looking-Glass is this favorite passage among gardeners:

“In most gardens," the Tiger-lily said, "they make the beds too soft-so that the flowers are always asleep.”


1888 Today the National Geographic Society was officially incorporated.

The National Geographic Society was founded by a group of elite scholars, explorers, and scientists. National Geographic celebrates the power of science, exploration, education, and storytelling. It was founded to “increase and diffuse geographic knowledge while promoting the conservation of the world's cultural, historical, and natural resources."

“Only if we understand, will we care. Only if we care, will we help. Only if we help, shall all be saved.” –Jane Goodall


1992 The Humboldt Botanical Garden was incorporated in the State of California. Organized by a small group of volunteers, the goal was to create an educational botanical garden for the Northern California region. The Gardens are constructed on a 44.5 -acre site south of Eureka near the Humboldt Bay adjacent to the College of the Redwoods.


Unearthed Words

Here’s a poem from the American poet John Greenleaf Whittier called Flowers in Winter. Whittier was a Quaker. He was a staunch abolitionist and a great lover of nature.


How strange to greet, this frosty morn,
In graceful counterfeit of flowers,        
These children of the meadows, born
Of sunshine and of showers!        

A wizard of the Merrimac,        
So old ancestral legends say,        
Could call green leaf and blossom back        
To frosted stem and spray.
The settler saw his oaken flail
Take bud, and bloom before his eyes;
From frozen pools, he saw the pale,        
Sweet summer lilies rise.        

The beechen platter sprouted wild,        
The pipkin wore its old-time green        
The cradle o’er the sleeping child
Became a leafy screen.        

And, while the dew on leaf and flower        
Glistened in moonlight clear and still,
Learned the dusk wizard’s spell of power,        
And caught his trick of skill.

The one, with bridal blush of rose,        
And sweetest breath of woodland balm,        
And one whose matron lips unclose
In smiles of saintly calm.        

Fill soft and deep, O winter snow!        
The sweet azalea’s oaken dells,
And hide the bank where roses blow,
And swing the azure bells!

Overlay the amber violet’s leaves,        
The purple aster’s brookside home,        
Guard all the flowers her pencil gives
A life beyond their bloom.        

And she, when spring comes round again
By greening slope and singing flood        
Shall wander, seeking, not in vain,        
Her darlings of the wood.

— John Greenleaf Whittier, Flowers in Winter


Grow That Garden Library

Sissinghurst by Vita Sackville-West and Sarah Raven

The subtitle to this book is Vita Sackville-West and the Creation of a Garden.

The British poet and writer Vita Sackville-West wrote a weekly column in The Observer, where she shared her life at Sissinghurst. Who better than Sarah Raven,  who happens to be married to Vita's grandson Adam Nicholson,  to write this extraordinary book and to share with us Vitas love of flowers and gardening.

Every year, gardeners and non-gardeners alike visit Sissinghurst for inspiration and enjoyment. In fact, Sissinghurst remains one of the most visited gardens in the world. Sarah's book is loaded with beautiful photographs and drawings that help convey the triumph of this special place for gardeners and lovers of beauty. Gardeners will especially appreciate the level of detail regarding almost every plant in the garden - why they were chosen and Vita’s personal take on each plant. Vita’s plant lists are part of her legacy and gift to gardeners who want to model her gorgeous plant combinations.

You can get a used copy of Sissinghurst by Vita Sackville-West and Sarah Raven and support the show, using the Amazon Link in today's Show Notes for under $12


Great Gifts for Gardeners

LIBERRWAY Stylus Pen 10 Pack of Pink Purple Black Green Silver Stylus Universal Touch Screen Capacitive Stylus for Kindle Touch iPad iPhone 6/6s 6Plus 6s Plus Samsung S5 S6 S7 Edge S8 Plus Note $6.98 

Here’s a great little item for your garden tote - it’s a ten pack of stylus pens. Slip them into your garden apron, put them in your shed or garage. Keep one in your purse, pocket, or in your truck. Now when you need to use your phone and your working in the garden, you won’t need to remove your gloves to use your phone.

  • NO MORE BIG FINGERS - A stylus has a better touchpoint than the tip of your finger, giving better accuracy to little touch focuses like keys on the console. No more big finger troubles.
  • ANTI-SCRATCH TIP - The stylus tip is made of soft, and scratch-resistant rubber. Fingerprint resistant and anti-stick screen tip, great for drawing writing, etc.
  • EASY TO CARRY - It is very light and compact. The clip design is great for clipping in your pocket, iPad, diary, etc.
  • SHARE THEM TO YOUR FRIENDS - Get 10 of the stylus with an unbeatable price instead of a high-priced apple pencil or Samsung pencil. You can share a stylus pen with your friends or family and still have plenty left for you.
  • 1 YEAR WARRANTY! - This stylus fits for all kinds of touch screens, like iPhone 4S 5S 6/6s 6Plus 6s Plus/ iPad Samsung S7 S7 Edge S6 Edge Plus S5 Note 2 3 4 5/ Kindle 2/3/4/ Kindle Fire.


Today’s Botanic Spark

1950 Science magazine announced a brand new antibiotic made by Charles Pfizer & Company, and it was called Terramycin.

Pfizer & Co. Was a small chemical company that was based in Brooklyn, New York. The company developed an expertise in fermentation with citric acid. The method allowed them to mass-produce drugs.

When Pfizer scientists discovered an antibiotic in a soil sample from Indiana, their deep-tank fermentation method allowed them to mass-produce Terramycin.

Pfizer had been searching through soil samples from around the world - isolating bacteria-fighting organisms when they stumbled on Terramycin - found to be effective against pneumonia, dysentery, and other infections. Later in 1950, it was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The name Terramycin is created from the two Latin words: terra for earth and mycin, which means fungus. - thus earth fungus.

Terramycin was the first mass-marketed product by a pharmaceutical company. Pfizer spent twice as much marketing Terramycin as it did on R&D for Terramycin. The gamble paid off; Terramycin, earth fungus, made Pfizer a pharmaceutical powerhouse.

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