April 1, 2020 The Daily Gardener Podcast Birthday, George Edward Post, Hugo Von Mohl, Peter cundall, Wangari Maathai, On the Wild Side by Keith Wiley, Isaac Wolfe Bernheim, and the Bernheim Arboretum

Show Notes

Today we celebrate the one year anniversary of the show and the man who wrote a flora of the Middle East.

We'll learn about the German botanist who discovered mitosis and chloroplasts.

We celebrate the 93rd birthday of an English-Australian gardener who learned to garden and survived during World War II.

We'll honor the tremendous work of Kenya's garden activist and founder of the Green Belt Movement.

Today's Unearthed Words feature words about April.

We Grow That Garden Library™ with a book that was released 16 years ago today.

And then, we'll wrap things up with the fascinating story of a whiskey baron who used his wealth to create an arboretum that is home to America's largest collection of Holly trees.

But first, let's catch up on some Greetings from Gardeners Around the World and today's curated news.



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>Gardener Greetings

Well, it's hard to believe that the show is already a year old. I started the show on April 1st because this month's name came from the Latin word aperio, meaning "to open [bud]," - so it was the perfect time to start something new. Plants outside and in are really beginning to grow now. Daisy and Sweet Pea are this month's birth flowers.

To participate in the Gardener Greetings segment, send your garden pics, stories, birthday wishes and so forth to Jennifer@theDailyGardener.org

And, to listen to the show while you're at home, just ask Alexa or Google to play The Daily Gardener Podcast. It's that easy.


Curated News

In chaotic times, gardening becomes therapy | Cleveland.com

"As spring's arrival in the Northern Hemisphere coincides with government stay-at-home orders, the itch to get outside has turned backyard gardens into a getaway for the mind in chaotic times.

Gardeners who already know that working with soil is a way to connect with nature say it helps take away their worries, at least temporarily.

"I love to see things grow," Lindsay Waldrop said. "It's incredibly therapeutic."

Families, too, are discovering that gardening gives cooped-up kids something to do, builds their self-esteem and brings variety to what has suddenly become a lot of time spent together.

This home-grown attitude goes back to World War II when millions of people cultivated victory gardens to protect against potential food shortages while boosting patriotism and morale.

Hollie Niblett, who lives near Kansas City, Kansas, hopes the victory gardens come back. Niblett, who has a degree in horticultural therapy, tends to a kitchen garden near her backdoor, perennial flowers, flowering trees and shrubs, and upper and lower grassy yards connected by a path through an area left in its natural condition.

"There are so many things about it that feed my soul," she said. "Right now, more than anything, my garden gives me hope, gives me purpose, and provides a sense of connection to something bigger than myself."


811 - Call Before You Dig - And, right now - Don't.

  • Add 811 in your phone contacts.
  • Save it under "Digging."
  • In the notes, add a reminder to call at least three days before you dig.

Alright, that's it for today's gardening news.

Now, if you'd like to check out my curated news articles and blog posts 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

1838  Today is the birthday of George Edward Post.

We remember George because he wrote a Flora of the Middle East. Westerners were delighted because, for the first time, it was written in English, and they could understand it.

George botanized in Syria, which is where he lived most of his life. He was in Syria, serving as a missionary and doctor. In his spare time, he would be off collecting plants and working on his Flora.

George was a man who had tremendous energy and stamina. He worked long hours, and many colleagues acknowledged that he accomplished more than most folks in a 24-hour period. In his personal life, it turns out that George had the ability to fall asleep quickly, which no doubt helped him recharge on-demand and as needed.

One account of George's tremendous lust for life and for plant collecting relayed that he would go off into the mountains on horseback. The story goes that George was such a good horseman, he could collect specimens without getting off his horse. He was allegedly able to lean below his saddle and reach way down to cut and collect a specimen. Then, he'd just sit back up and go on his way.

At the end of his life, George was aware that his body was worn out, and he said something to that effect in the days before he died. Around that same time, he received a visitor who knew just how to revive his spirits. The guest placed a few pieces of ripe wheat in his hand as a symbol of the harvest and of the specimens George had spent a lifetime studying. It also served as a reminder of the treasured bible passage:

"To everything, there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted."


1805  Today is the birthday of the German botanist Hugo von Mohl.

The greatest "botanist of his day," it said in one newspaper.

A German botanist, he was the first to propose that new cells are formed by cell division. Mitosis was discovered by Hugo von Mohl.

And, in 1837, he discovered chloroplasts - something von Mohl called Chlorophyllkörnen, which translates to "a grain a chlorophyll."

Forty-seven years later, the Polish-German botanist Eduard Strasburger shortened the term Chlorophyllkörnen to Chloroplast.

Von Mohl described chloroplasts as discrete bodies within the green plant cell. Today we know that chloroplasts are the food producers of the cell. Chloroplasts are only found in plant cells, and they convert light energy from the sun into sugar; so without chloroplasts, there would be no photosynthesis.

In 1846, von Mohl described the sap in plant cells as "the living substance of the cell," and he also created the word "protoplasm."


1927  Today is the 93rd birthday of English-born Australian horticulturalist, conservationist, author, broadcaster, and television personality Peter Cundall.

A Tasmanian gardener, Peter was the friendly host of the long-running TV show Gardening Australia - one of the first shows committed to 100% organic practices and practical advice. Peter inspired both young and old to the garden. In his epic "lemon tree episode," Peter got a little carried away and essentially finished pruning when the tree was little more than a stump. Thereafter, Cundallisation was synonymous with over-pruning.

Peter learned to garden as a little boy. His first garden was a vegetable patch on top of an air raid shelter in Manchester, England. His family was impoverished. His father was an abusive alcoholic. Two of his siblings died of malnutrition. Through it all, the garden brought stability, nourishment, and reprieve. Of that time, Peter's recalls,

"Lying in bed in the morning waiting for it to be light, so I could go out and get going in my garden. I used to think there was some gas given out by the soil that produced happiness."


1940  Today is the birthday of the Kenyan ecologist and first female Kenyan Ph.D. and professor Wangari Maathai ("One-Garry" - rhymes with starry - "Ma-TH-EYE")

Wangari was the founder of the Green Belt Movement. She fought for environmental protection and women's empowerment by working with communities to plant "green belts" of trees. Today, the Green Belt Movement has planted "over 45 million trees across Kenya to combat deforestation, stop soil erosion, and generate income for women and their families."

In 2004, Wangari became the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel committee recognized "her contribution to sustainable development, democracy, and peace." Wangari authored four books: The Green Belt Movement, Unbowed: A Memoir; The Challenge for Africa; and Replenishing the Earth.

Wangari died from ovarian cancer in 2011 at the age of 71.

Wangari said,

"We think that diamonds are very important, gold is very important, all these minerals are very important. We call them precious minerals, but they are all forms of the soil. But that part of this mineral that is on top, like it is the skin of the earth, that is the most precious of the commons."

"Using trees as a symbol of peace is in keeping with a widespread African tradition. For example, the elders of the Kikuyu carried a staff from the thigi tree that, when placed between two disputing sides, caused them to stop fighting and seek reconciliation. Many communities in Africa have these traditions."

"When we plant trees, we plant the seeds of peace and hope."


Unearthed Words

Here are some poignant words about this time of year.


The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year.

— Mark Twain, American writer & humorist


"The first of April, some do say,
Is set apart for All Fools' Day.
But why the people call it so,
Nor I, nor they themselves do know.
But on this day are people sent
On purpose for pure merriment."

— Poor Robin's Almanac, 1790


The April winds are magical,
And thrill our tuneful frames;
The garden walks are passional
To bachelors and dames."

― Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist and poet


Men are April when they woo,
December when they wed;
Maids are May when they are maids,
but the sky changes when they are wives.

— Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act IV Scene 1


"[W] ell-apparell'd April on the heel
Of limping winter treads…"

— Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act 1 Scene 2


Grow That Garden Library

On the Wild Side by Keith Wiley

It's hard to believe that this book was published on this day already sixteen years ago in 2004. The subtitle to this book is "Experiments in the New Naturalism."

Keith created his own wild garden in the early 2000s after being inspired by rural England.

He also discovered an entire world of influence as he studied New England roadsides, the Colorado Rockies, Swiss Alpine Meadows, and the South African savannas.

In this book, Keith strives to capture "only the spirit of wild plantings and never attempt to replicate exactly any landscape or combination of plants." Keith has learned to focus on form, color, and placement of plants. His attention to detail is what makes his approach work so well.

Keith was an early advocate of grouping plants into plant communities. He loves it when plants self-seed - especially when they create beauty in unanticipated ways.

Keith's book shares many of his favorite plants and plant groupings. He offers tons of advice and ideas for gardens. in this book, he's hoping to inspire us to get creative, "freeing your own creative inner spirit from the straitjacket of horticultural tradition."

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


Today's Botanic Spark

1945  Today is the anniversary of the death of American businessman Isaac Wolfe Bernheim.

Bernheim made a fortune selling and distilling whiskey - and in turn, he used some of his wealth to create the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest.

In 1931, the Frederick Law Olmsted firm was asked to design the park. They created roadways, paths, and natural areas, planted trees, and turned the farmland back into meadows, lawns, and forest. Sparing no expense, Bernheim provided the capital to add lakes, rivers, and ponds for "an enlivening effect." Nineteen years later, in 1950, the Bernheim Forest officially opened and was ultimately given to the people of Kentucky in trust.

Bernheim is the largest privately-owned natural area in Kentucky. Today, the arboretum's holly collection is among the best in North America, with more than 700 specimens representing over 350 individual species and cultivars.

Love is like the wild rose-brier;
Friendship like the holly tree.
The holly is dark when the rose-brier blooms,
But which will bloom most constantly?

— Emily Brontë, author

The holly collection features 176 American Holly (Ilex opaca), 44 Japanese Holly (Ilex crenata), over 50 deciduous hollies (Ilex decidua, Ilex verticillata, Ilex serrata, and hybrids), and 19 cultivars of Inkberry (Ilex glabra) - as well as many specialty hybrids.

The arboretum is also home to maples, crab apples, conifers (including dwarf conifers), oaks, buckeyes, ginkgoes, ornamental pears and dogwoods. There is also a sun and shade trail, a quiet garden, and a garden pavilion.

By 1994, the State of Kentucky made Bernheim the state's official arboretum.

A true visionary, Bernheim wrote that "nothing is static in this world." He appreciated that the natural world was constantly going through continuous change. He believed that people needed to spend time connecting with nature.

In August of 1939, Bernheim set up some conditions for his forest in a letter to the trustees, and he proposed the following rules for the forest:

No discussion of religion or politics, no trading or trafficking. . .

No distinction will be shown between rich or poor, white or colored.

My vision embraces an edifice, beautiful in design,... It may be made of marble or of native stone. . . . Within it, there will be an art gallery . . . . Therein there will be busts in bronze of men and women whose names have risen to places of distinctive honor in Kentucky.

A museum of natural history containing specimens of every animal … of this hemisphere...

. . . a tall steel pole … will float the American Flag… [and] children… will be told the story of liberty.

To all, I send the invitation to come . . . to re-create their lives in the enjoyment of nature . . . in the park which I have dedicated ... and which I hope will be kept forever free.


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