July 15, 2020 Climate-Change-Ready Trees, St. Swithin’s Day, Inigo Jones, John Wilson, Almira Hart Lincoln Phelps, Niagra Falls, Insect Poetry, How to Cheat at Gardening and Yard Work by Jeff Bredenberg, and William Robinson

Show Notes

Today we celebrate St. Swithin's Day.

We'll also learn about the English architect who brought classical Roman architecture and the Italian Renaissance to gardens.

We celebrate the botanist who attempted to sell his cow to buy a botany book by Robert Morison.

We also celebrate the birthday of a botanist and a teacher of Emily Dickinson.

We learn about the grand opening of Niagra Falls.

Today's poems feature insects.

We Grow That Garden Library™ with a book about making gardening and yard work less work and more enjoyable.

And then we'll wrap things up with a heart-warming story about a beloved gardener and journalist from Ireland.

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

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

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Curated News

New research pinpoints which of the world's trees are climate change-ready | The Global Plant Council

"Botanists from Trinity College Dublin have discovered that "penny-pinching" evergreen species such as Christmas favorites, holly and ivy, are more climate change-ready in the face of warming temperatures than deciduous "big-spending" water consumers like birch and oak.

Remarkably, we found that with rising CO2 evergreen trees and shrubs are more efficient in using water than deciduous plants in cooler climate locations, but there is no evidence for such a pattern in parts of the world with warmer climates.

The reason for the detected differences in the evergreen and deciduous plant responses to climate change lies in their leaf texture. The leaves of evergreens are generally thicker and sturdier than deciduous plants in colder climates, while they are mostly similar in texture between the two groups in the warmer climates."


St. Swithin's Day (Click to read this original post)


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

1573  Today is the birthday of the English architect, Inigo Jones.

Inigo introduced classical Roman architecture and the Italian Renaissance to Britain.

He left his mark on London building designs, such as the classically styled Queen's House for Anne of Denmark.

Today, gardeners remember that Inigo designed the layout for Covent Garden square ("Cuv-int"). The Duke of Bedford asked Inigo to build a residential square using the Italian piazza for inspiration. The Duke felt he had to include a church, but he told Inigo to put up something simple like a barn. Inigo's famous response was that the Duke would have "the finest barn in Europe." And Covent Garden became the excellent setting for London's farmer's market for over three centuries.


1751  It's the anniversary of the death of the botanist John Wilson.

It was John Wilson who first attempted a systematic arrangement of the plants of Great Britain in the English language. From a professional standpoint, John was a shoemaker and then a baker.

There is a little story that is often told about John with regard to his love of botany.

Apparently, John was so intent on learning about botany that he almost sold his only cow to buy a book written by the Scottish botanist and taxonomist Robert Morison. The transaction would have almost certainly caused John's financial ruin had a neighbor lady not purchased the book for him.

And there's another story that reveals John's self-taught botanical expertise and personality.

John had traveled to the county of Durham, where he met a man who enjoyed growing rare plants.

Confident he could beat John, the man challenged him to a plant-naming contest. To his shock and dismay, John was able to name all of the rare specimens in his garden. When it was John's turn, he looked about and grabbed a wild herb growing nearby, which the man simply dismissed as a weed.

John stated that the word "weed" was not sufficient, and he said that the man's answer proved he was merely a gardener and not a botanist.

And that's how John Wilson ended up winning the contest.


1793  Today is the birthday of Almira Hart Lincoln Phelps.

Almira wrote about nature, and her textbook, Familiar Lectures on Botany, was first published in 1829.

Almira taught at Amherst Academy, and her textbook was undoubtedly known and used by Emily Dickinson, who was a student there.

The following quotes show us that Almira was hip to the idea of mindfulness over 200 years ago.

Here's what she wrote:

"So, in the physical world mankind is prone to seek an explanation of uncommon phenomena only, while the ordinary changes of nature, which are in themselves equally wonderful, are disregarded.

How often are the beauties of nature unheeded by man, who, musing on past ills, brooding over the possible calamities of the future, building castles in the air, or wrapped up in his own self-love and self-importance, forgets to look abroad, or looks with a vacant stare.

Each opening bud, and care-perfected seed, is as a page, where we may read of God."


1885   On this day, thousands of people watched as Niagra Falls was officially opened.

The area had been thoroughly cleaned up, improved, and made more accessible.

Prior to the restoration, Frederick Law Olmsted said of the Falls,

“I have followed the Appalachian chain almost from end to end, and traveled on horseback, in search of the picturesque; over four thousand miles… without finding … the same quality of forest beauty which was once abundant about the falls.”


Unearthed Words

Today's poems are about insects:

The Poetry of earth is never dead:
When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,
And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run
From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead;

That is the Grasshopper's — he takes the lead
In summer luxury, — he has never done
With his delights; for when tired out with fun
He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed.

The poetry of earth is ceasing never:
On a lone winter evening, when the frost
Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills
The Cricket's song, in warmth, increasing ever,
And seems to one in drowsiness half lost,
The Grasshopper's among some grassy hills.
— John Keats, English Romantic poet, On the Grasshopper and Cricket


Mosquito is out,
it's the end of the day;
she's humming and hunting
her evening away.
Who knows why such hunger
arrives on such wings
at sundown? I guess
it's the nature of things.
— Niels Mogens Bodecker, Danish-American author and illustrator, Midsummer Night Itch


Grow That Garden Library

How to Cheat at Gardening and Yard Work by Jeff Bredenberg

This book came out in 2009 and the subtitle is Shameless Tricks for Growing Radically Simple Flowers, Veggies, Lawns, Landscaping, and More.

Jeff Bredenberg outlines essential tips for beginning gardeners. He aims to show gardeners:

“How the right tool can save you time—and save your back, that doing less for your lawn actually means a better result, why planting a diversion crop cuts down on your pest-patrol efforts, and that groundcovers and foliage plants are no-hassle solutions for weedy flowerbeds.”

The book is 384 pages of tips and tricks - all shared with today's gardener in mind.

You can get a copy of How to Cheat at Gardening and Yard Work by Jeff Bredenberg and support the show, using the Amazon Link in today's Show Notes for around $2.


Today's Botanic Spark

1838   Today is the birthday of the Irish practical gardener and journalist, the passionate William Robinson.

It's been fun researching William Robinson, and I came across many different accounts of a story from his early days in horticulture. This gem was particularly memorable, and I thought you'd enjoy hearing about it:

When he was young, William was working on the estate of an Irish baronet. One cold night, the fires for keeping the greenhouses warm failed - the reason is unclear. Whatever the particulars, whether he argued with his boss, forgot to tend the fire, or acted in revenge, the result was that the tender plants in the greenhouse died. That night, William left, and he walked all the way to Dublin - which he did not reach until the following morning.

When William arrived in Dublin, he asked for a Dr. David Moore, the head of the botanical garden, and when they met, he asked Moore what he should do. Well, Moore must have liked William because he offered him a job on the spot - but not with the greenhouses. Instead, William was put in charge of herbaceous plants - plants that die back in the winter and return in the spring after their season of rest (no greenhouse required!) These plants also included English wildflowers.

In any case, the truth remains that William Robinson forever after did not care for greenhouses, and he did not allow them at Gravetye Manor.

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