May 18, 2021 Solomon’s Seal, Omar Khayyám, John Culyer, Purée Of Spring Vegetables, Mary Delany Stationery, and Bertrand Russell

Show Notes

Today we celebrate an old poet who loved gardens,

We'll also learn about an inventor and architect who created a large machine to help move established trees during the establishment of Prospect Park.

We hear a delightful excerpt about a purée of spring vegetables.

We Grow That Garden Library™ with a beautiful set of Paper Flower Cards - a little stationery set for the gardener today.

And then, we’ll wrap things up with a British philosopher, mathematician, and author who won the 1950 Nobel Prize for literature. He spent a great deal of time studying happiness, and no surprise - he found it in a garden.



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Gardening 101: Solomon’s Seal | Gardenista | Marie Viljoen


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Important Events

May 18, 1048
Today is the birthday of the Persian mathematician, astronomer, and poet Omar Khayyam (“Ky-yem”).

In 1859, the British writer Edward FitzGerald translated and published Omar’s signature work, The Rubáiyát (“Rue-By-yat”).

In The Rubáiyát, Omar wrote some beautiful garden verses:

I sometimes think that never blooms so red
The rose that grows where some once buried Caesar bled
And that every hyacinth the garden grows dropped in her lap from
Some once lovely head.

Today in Iran, tourists can visit the beautiful mausoleum of Omar Khayyam and the surrounding gardens.

And gardeners in zones 4-9 can grow a pretty pink damask rose named Rosa 'Omar Khayyam.' Over on the Missouri Botanical Garden website, they report that,

“'Omar Khayyam' ... is reputed to have grown on the tomb of Omar Khayyam in Persia, [and] was brought to England by William Simpson, an Illustrated London News artist, and in 1893 was planted on the grave of Edward Fitzgerald, who translated the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam into English. According to the Modern Roses 12 database of the American Rose Society, it was registered in 1894. It is a small, dense shrub with grayish-green, downy foliage and numerous prickles. Its clear pink, double flowers are 2 in. wide with a small center eye and 26 to 40 petals. Blooming once per season in late spring to early summer, the flowers are moderately fragrant and in groups of 3 to 4. 'Omar Khayyam' grows 2 to 3 ft. tall and wide.”


May 18, 1839

Today is the birthday of the American civil engineer, landscape architect, inventor, and plantsman John Yapp Culyer.

John was commissioned to work on parks in major cities across America - like Chicago and Pittsburgh. He was the Chief Landscape Engineer of Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, which opened to the public in 1867.

During his time at Prospect Park, John invented a machine to help relocate large trees. His impressive tree-movers (he had two of them built) moved established trees and placed large specimen trees from nurseries. In February 1870, the Brooklyn Eagle reported that John’s tree-moving machines had relocated 600 trees - a feat in scope that had never been attempted.

To aid with pruning old-growth forest trees, John invented the extension ladder. John’s ladders would stand on a platform and extend over fifty feet in the air. The New York Historical Society shares photos of John’s workers on these ladders, and the images are breathtaking - the danger of working on those ladders is so obviously apparent.


Unearthed Words

“Beef consommé or purée of spring vegetables," she read aloud. "I suppose I'll have the consommé."

"You'd choose weak broth over spring vegetables?"

"I've never had much of an appetite."

"No, just listen: the cook sends for a basket of ripe vegetables from the kitchen gardens- leeks, carrots, young potatoes, vegetable marrow, tomatoes- and simmers them with fresh herbs. When it's all soft, she purées the mixture until it's like silk and finishes it with heavy cream. It's brought to the table in an earthenware dish and ladled over croutons fried in butter. You can taste the entire garden in every spoonful.”
― Lisa Kleypas, a best-selling American author of historical and contemporary romance novels, Devil's Daughter

Grow That Garden Library

Paper Flowers Cards and Envelopes: The Art of Mary Delany by Princeton Architectural Press  

“Each exquisite paper flower in this elegant collection blooms with extraordinary detail and color. Eighteenth-century British artist Mary Delany created each piece by cutting and layering tiny pieces of paper on black ink backgrounds. The fine shading and depth are as intricately detailed as a botanical illustration and scientifically accurate as well. Printed on thick, textured paper, the set features sunflowers, rhododendron, cornflower, water lilies, and more. Perfect for any occasion that warrants beauty and sophistication.”

You can get a set of Stationery featuring The Art of Mary Delany by Princeton Architectural Press  and support the show using the Amazon Link in today's Show Notes for around $15


Today’s Botanic Spark

Reviving the little botanic spark in your heart

May 18, 1872
Today is the birthday of the British philosopher, mathematician, pacifist, and author Bertrand Russell.

Bertrand won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950 for his work called A History of Western Philosophy (1945).

One of Bertrand’s first works was about happiness and how to find it.

He wrote,

“Anything you're good at contributes to happiness.”

Bertrand also wrote:

“I've made an odd discovery. Every time I talk to a savant I feel quite sure that happiness is no longer a possibility. Yet when I talk with my gardener, I'm convinced of the opposite.”


“The happiest person I have ever known is my gardener, who each day wages war to protect vegetables and flowers from rabbits.”

As for the cure for anxiety, Bertrand once told this story,

“I knew a parson who frightened his congregation terribly by telling them that the second coming was very imminent indeed, but they were much consoled when they found that he was planting trees in his garden.”

When it came to the natural world, Bertrand recognized the limits of the earth’s natural resources, and he liked to say,

"It's co-existence or no existence."

It was Bertrand’s study of happiness that led him to recognize the power of hope. He wrote,

"Man needs, for his happiness, not only the enjoyment of this or that but hope and enterprise and change."

Bertrand hoped that humankind would get smarter about the natural world and our planet. He wrote,

“The world is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.”


Thanks for listening to The Daily Gardener.
And remember:

"For a happy, healthy life, garden every day."

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