February 14, 2020 Broken Plant Pots, Growing Chives, Captain James Cook, The Apple Paring Machine, Henry David Thoreau, Willow, the Philadelphia Botanical Club, A Taste for Herbs by Sue Goetz, Eleanor Bor and The Adventures Of A Botanist’s Wife

Show Notes

Today we celebrate one of Britain's great explorers and the first apple parer.

We'll learn about the wonderful willow, and we'll celebrate the very first field trip of the Philadelphia Botanical Club, which happened 128 years ago today.

Today's Unearthed Words feature poems from the author of Anne of Green Gables.

We Grow That Garden Library™ with a book that essentially offers an herb seasoning master class in between its pages

I'll talk about a garden item that comes in handy for gifting natural elements from the garden along with a whole host of other uses...

and then we'll wrap things up with the story of a woman who married a botanist and then wrote about her adventures with him.

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



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Curated Articles

10 Ideas For What To Do With Broken Plant Pots | Joy Us Garden

Don't toss that old, broken pot out just yet!

Whether you nestle it, fill it with herbs, stack it, lay it sideways, create a layered planting, or add cacti/succulents, the options are endless!


10 Benefits of Growing Chives | Great Post @GrowForCookFerm:

10 Benefits of Growing Chives in the Spring Garden!

They are perennial with a long growing season and are the perfect garnish. They also attract pollinators, have edible blossoms, tasty greens, and are high in Vitamins K & A.


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

1779 Today is the anniversary of the death of one of the great British explorers, and he commanded a vessel called The Endeavor, Captain James Cook.

At the age of 26, Cook joined the Royal Navy later than most, at the age of 26. He drew attention with his Superior map-making skills, which helped the British Launch a successful attack in Quebec.

Later, when Cook took command of his own ship, he was usually accompanied by artists, scientists, astronomers, and botanists like Sir Joseph Banks - who accompanied Cook on the first successful voyage to Australia.

A year later, Cook sailed again, but this time Banks would not be going. Instead, a German, Johann Reinhold Forster and his son Georg—would be the botanists for his next voyage.

Cook's death on this day in 1779  in Hawaii was gruesome. Angered when Hawaiian natives stole one of his cutter ships, Cook ordered the bay sealed off. Cook went ashore at the North end of the bay and asked the King and his sons to come away as hostages. The King's wife broke down, crying and begged him not to go with Cook. The King's people suddenly rose up and defended him and threw stones at Cook.

Meanwhile, on the South end of the bay, a high-ranking chief had tried to break through the barricade. Cook's men shot him. A battle started that swept up the bay just as Cook was attempting to leave the King. Cook signaled for boats to come and get them off the beach.

As Cook was making his way to the shore to escape, a native clubbed him with a piece of fencing and ran off. As Cook attempted to rise, another native stabbed in the back of the neck with a dagger. Cook's head was held under the water as he was killed with clubs and stones. Afterward, the islanders prepared a Royal Funeral for him, removing his hands from his body and preserving them in salt. The rest of his body was roasted in a pit so that his bones could be picked clean.

Last year, the Australian government announced they were budgeting $50 million to redevelop Cook's 1770 landing place. The plans include turning the area into a major tourist attraction and include the addition of a $3 million statue of Cook himself.

Australia Treasurer Scott Morrison said it would be,

"a place of commemoration, recognition, and understanding of two cultures and the incredible Captain Cook."

The redevelopment is slated to be ready this year, 2020, in time to mark the 250th anniversary of the landing.


1803 Today a patent for an Apple Paring Machine was given to Moses Coates of Downington, Pennsylvania.

Over the next hundred years, 150 different patents would be issued for apple parers - and most would be variations in improvements on Coates's original machine. The parer that Moses created was a cranked wooden gadget that had a metal blade and prongs that would hold the apple. If you're able to find one of Moses Coates apple parers today, you will pay between $200 and $400.

Coatesville, Pennsylvania, was named by Moses Coates. And, Moses patented a number of pieces of equipment, including a machine that was used to cut straw.

Before the invention of the apple parer, people used to host apple harvest festivals where are all the apples would be gathered in paired in a paring spree. All the apples would be pared by hand.

The apple slices and quarters would end up and huge kettles that would have to be stirred all day - for about 8 hours. Then, when the mixture started to turn dark, biscuits would be made, and then everyone would line up for a biscuit with a slab of apple butter.


1856 Today Henry David Thoreau wrote in his journal about a natural willow hedge.

"I was struck today by the size and continuousness of the natural willow hedge on the east side of the railroad causeway... Some twelve years ago, when that causeway was built through the meadows, there were no willows there or near there, but now, just at the foot of the sand-bank, where it meets the meadow, and on the line of the fence, quite a dense willow hedge has planted itself.

I used to think that the seeds were brought with the sand from the Deep Cut in the woods, but there is no golden willow there; but now I think that the seeds have been blown hither from a distance, and lodged against the foot of the bank, just as the snow-drift accumulates there...

They plant themselves here solely, and not in the open meadow, as exclusively as along the shores of a river. The sand-bank is a shore to them, and the meadow a lake.

How impatient, how rampant, how precocious these osiers ("OH-see-ers")! They have hardly made two shoots from the sand in as many springs when silvery catkins burst out along them, and anon golden blossoms and downy seeds, spreading their race with incredible rapidity. Thus they multiply and clan together. Thus they take advantage even of the railroad, which elsewhere disturbs and invades their domains.

May I ever be in as good spirits as a willow! How tenacious of life! How withy! How soon it gets over its hurts! They never despair. Is there no moisture longer in nature which they can transmute into sap?

They are emblems of youth, joy, and everlasting life. Scarcely is their growth restrained by winter, but their silvery down peeps forth in the warmest days in January."

Willow (Salix) trees are native to northern China. They can reproduce from seeds, broken twigs, or even leaves. A speedy grower, Willows can grow 10 feet in a single year. In the spring, weeping Willows silver-tinged green catkins appear on the branches. The fuzzy catkins that contain either male or female flowers depending on the sex of the tree. You can force cuttings of willows to bloom by bringing them indoors. The catkins will open and flower in a vase of water. Don't forget to save your willow water for rooting. Willow water contains a natural rooting hormone. A mix of 50% fresh water and 50% willow water is an excellent solution to get cuttings to root.


1892 Today the Philadelphia Botanical Club took their very first field trip to Bartram's Garden.

In 1850, Andrew McCalla Eastwick (1806-1879), an engineer and the inventor of the steam shovel, bought the 46-acre Bartram estate from John Bartram's granddaughter, Ann Bartram Carr.

Eastwick had banked a personal mint after building railroads for Czar Nicholas I of Russia. Unlike the fate of many old homes, Eastwick decided not to tear down the existing house. Instead, he kept the Bartram family homestead as a memorial, building his own mansion beside Bartrams. He also made sure the historic garden was kept intact. He vowed not to harm "one bush" planted by the Bartrams.

In 2015, Bartram's Garden, in Philadelphia, was designated an American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) Horticultural Landmark.

The prestigious award commemorates sites based on their historical, scientific, environmental, and aesthetic value. The award was first presented to Monticello, home of President Thomas Jefferson. Other recipients include Longwood Gardens, Missouri Botanical Garden, New York Botanical Garden, Arnold Arboretum, and Fairchild Botanical Garden.


Unearthed Words

Here are wintery poems from the beloved author of the Anne of Green Gables series:

Frosty-white and cold it lies
Underneath the fretful skies;
Snowflakes flutter where the red
Banners of the poppies spread,
And the drifts are wide and deep
Where the lilies fell asleep.

But the sunsets o'er it throw
Flame-like splendor, lucent glow,
And the moonshine makes it gleam
Like a wonderland of dream,
And the sharp winds all the day
Pipe and whistle shrilly gay.

Safe beneath the snowdrifts lie
Rainbow buds of by-and-by;
In the long, sweet days of spring
Music of bluebells shall ring,
And its faintly golden cup
Many a primrose will hold up.

Though the winds are keen and chill
Roses' hearts are beating still,
And the garden tranquility

In the summer days of blue
All its dreamings will come true.
— Lucy Maud Montgomery, The Garden in Winter


Above the marge of night, a star still shines,
And on the frosty hills the somber pines
Harbor an eerie wind that crooneth low
Over the glimmering wastes of virgin snow.
Through the pale arch of orient the morn
Comes in a milk-white splendor newly-born,
A sword of crimson cuts in twain the gray
Banners of shadow hosts, and lo, the day!
— Lucy Maud Montgomery, A Winter Dawn


Grow That Garden Library

A Taste for Herbs by Sue Goetz

The subtitle of this book is: A Guide To Seasonings, Mixes, and Blends from the Herb Lover's Garden.

Sue's book helps you become an herbal taste master. The preview to this book challenges us to think of this book as an herb seasoning Master Class - filled with simple secrets for capturing the power of flavor from your herb garden.

And here's how Sue describes her book. She writes:

In these pages you'll find all you need to know about 20 of the most commonly used and flavor-rich herbs: how to grow them (which is easy), the best varieties to choose, what parts to use, essential information, and tips throughout.

I'll take you step-by-simple-step, through harvesting,preserving the herbs, and capturing all those precious flavors.
And, as promised, there are the recipes - over a hundred - showing you how to flavor, mix, mingle, and blend herbs into almost any meal. The big takeaway is that you become a creator of flavors, a master of blends, an infusion maven.
And, you deepen your relationship with the plants that you bring to your table and the garden that produces them.

Now, this book just recently celebrated its one-year anniversary on February 1st.

You can get a used copy of and support the show, using the Amazon Link in today's Show Notes for under $8.


Great Gifts for Gardeners

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Today's Botanic Spark

1897 Today is the birthday of the English writer Eleanor Constance Rundall Bor.

Eleanor is remembered for her book "The Adventures of a Botanist's Wife" - a book I own multiple copies of - it's a favorite of mine.

In 1931, Eleanor went to India, where she married her Irish botanist husband, Norman Bor. Norman became the Director of the Forest Research Institute at Dehra Dun. After establishing himself as a world authority on Asian grasses, Norman returned to England to become Assistant Director of Kew Gardens. Eleanor wrote and illustrated "The Adventures of a Botanist's Wife" about their life together in India.

In 1952, the newspaper in Melbourne Australia featured Eleanor's book in an article called "On Top of the World." Here's an excerpt:

SHE WORE SAND SHOES for a simple reason. They were the only comfortable shoes she could buy in Shillong and, since she was determined to miss none of the mountain trips made by her botanist husband, she accepted the shoes. Surprisingly, they proved comfortable, and, as she clambered around the incredible cliff edge paths, thousands of feet above deep Himalayan gorges, she was grateful for the firm grip of the rubber.

Mrs. Bor had expected to share exciting plant discoveries and, at least, to give her name to a rare orchid. Instead, she found her husband was a specialist in grasses, and it was a new species of grass extremely rare but, to her, looking no more than a "mangy bit of fur" that finally bore her name.

Once [ on a mountain] stepping from mist and snow, they saw below them, on the white mountain slopes, a blaze of rhododendrons and magnolias, and In their camp that night burned rhododendron logs.

Their mountain trips were often dangerous. Mrs. Bor hated crossing the cobweb-like cane bridges strung hundreds of feet above foaming torrents. The Rupa bridge was especially terrifying, with only strands of cane for a foothold and tall hoops set a yard apart for the hands to grip.

More menacing than cane bridges and cliff tracks were the insects. Wild animals were not alarming, but the hornets, centipedes, horse flies, dam dims, and above all, the leeches made camping In the Jungle foothills a nightmare.

One reviewer wrote:

"Here is a story told with the charm and simplicity of a life spent in the foothills of the Himalayas where Eleanor Bor and her botanist husband tramp through jungled terrain establishing friendly relations with hill tribes and villagers, discovering the enchantments of mysterious undergrowth and carrying with them the domestic problems of household pets and family happenings. Their years in the jungle, as told by the author, are those of a true traveler."

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