July 2, 2020  An Audience of Plants, Buying Flowers in July, Marian Farquharson, Herman Hesse, Ralph Hancock, Kate Brandegee, Cordelia Stanwood, NASA’s ECOSTRESS, July Poetry, Glorious Shade by Jenny Rose Carey, and the Richard Wettstein Memorial

Show Notes

Today we celebrate a female botanist who fought to get recognition for women by the Linnaean Society.

We'll also learn about the German poet who loved trees.

We'll celebrate the Welsh garden-marker extraordinaire and also one of the all-time greats - a botanist from California.

And, we'll also honor the life of The Bird Woman of Ellsworth, who helped us to better understand birds and their individual uniqueness.

We will also celebrate the month of July with some poetry.

We Grow That Garden Library™ with a book about gardening in shade. (Shade gardens don't have to be dark and boring.)

And then we'll wrap things up with the story of an attempted murder that happened during a commemoration ceremony for one of Vienna's beloved botanists.

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

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

Barcelona Opera House Opens With Packed Audience — of Plants

“As lockdown measures lift in Spain, Barcelona’s opera house recently played to a sold-out crowd of some very unorthodox music lovers.

On Monday, a string quartet at the Gran Teatre del Liceu opera house in Barcelona did a performance in front of 2,292 plants, CNN reported.”


You Can't Plant Flowers If You Haven't Botany  (Click to read my 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

1846  The British naturalist, and women's rights activist, Marian Farquharson was born.

As a botanist, Marian had specialized in ferns and mosses. As an activist, it took Marian and other women four years of petitioning the all-male Linnaean Society to finally allow women to become members.

In 1904, when the issue was put to the vote, 83% of the Society voted to allow women members.

But then a great injustice happened.

When the first fifteen women were nominated to the Society, Marian Farquharson was overlooked.

It took four more years for Marian to be elected to the Society and it finally happened in March 1908. This moment happened to come at a difficult time for Marian. In fact, she was too ill to attend the Society's meeting to officially sign the register.

Four years later, Farquharson died from heart disease, in Nice, in 1912.


1877  Today we wish a happy heavenly birthday to Herman Hesse, who was a German poet, novelist, and painter. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946.

Hesse had a special appreciation for trees, and I thought I'd share some of his thoughtful and reverent prose with you today:

"Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth."

"A tree says:

A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail."


1893  The Welsh landscape gardener, architect, and author, Ralph Hancock, was born.

Hancock was a garden-maker extraordinaire, and he created several famous Gardens across Wales, England, and the United States. One of his most famous works was the rooftop garden at the Rockefeller Center in New York. Hancock designed his rooftop garden in 1934 and it was cutting-edge at the time.

In an interview, Hancock predicted:

"The days of penthouse gardening in boxes are over - and miles and miles of roof space in every metropolis in this country remain to be reclaimed by landscape gardening."

(Well, it's 2020, and Hancock's vision has yet to be realized. There's still plenty of concrete jungle to conquer, although the pandemic has turned more people than ever into gardeners, most rooftops go underutilized. But I have to say that it is refreshing that so many people are gardening now. Even my own mother is gardening - and giddily reporting on her progress - so there's that.)

Now, Hancock's rooftop garden at Rockefeller Center was called The Garden of Nations, and it featured gardens for eight different countries around a central, old English tea house and cottage garden. It was quite something to behold. To create it, Hancock's Garden of Nations required 3,000 tons of earth, 100 tons of natural stone, and 2,000 trees and shrubs. They all had to be hauled up there, and there's plenty of stories about how they used the service elevator in the building or a massive block and tackle pulley system that was erected on the side of the building. It was a herculean effort.

But, he finally finished it. And Hancock's 11th floor Garden of Nations officially opened on April 15, 1935. Nelson Rockefeller was there to see it - as well as students from Bryn Mawr College. The young women from Bryn Mawr arrived in costume representing the various nations. In the archives, there are beautiful photos of these young women - like the one of Nancy Nichol wearing a kimono in the Japanese garden.


1908  The great woman botanist and Californian Kate Brandegee wrote her husband, Townshend, who she lovingly called Townie.

On this day in 1908, Kate was 64, and though she and Townie often botanized together, Kate was not afraid to go explore alone. She let Townie know in this letter that:

" I am going to Eldorado County to walk from Placerville to Truckee - I may be gone two weeks. …”

Well, that would have been a 52 mile trip by foot. She was no slacker.

Kate and Townie's love story is one of my favorites. They found each other late in life, and they made up for lost time, and they were very affectionate with each other. Their botanical legacy is secure; after the San Francisco earthquake, they replaced the ruined botanical Library and specimens with their own personal collection. And Kate personally mentored many young botanized, including her backfill: the impressive Alice Eastwood.


1917  The Bird Woman Of Ellsworth, Cordelia Stanwood, went into a swamp at twilight and reported,

"The black flies crawled over my face like so many bees. I could not stand still."

It was just one of many times Cordelia would find herself in an uncomfortable position for the sake of pursuing her passion for ornithology.  

Her photograph the birds were handpicked by the great Edward Howe Forbush to be featured in his masterpiece Birds of Massachusetts. In general, her bird photography was par excellence.  

Cordelia's "Six Little Chickadees" is regarded as her finest piece.  The photo shows six Little Chickadees separated into two groups of three, and they're all sitting perched on the same little branch. Like a litter of puppies, each chickadee had its own characteristics - proving what Cordelia had already observed firsthand; that a single batch of chickadees contained many variances in the chicks in terms of size, features, etc.


2018 NASA's ECOSTRESS berthed at the space station.

ECOSTRESS's mission was to measure the temperature of plants in space - helping researchers determine how much water plants use and how drought affects plant health.


Unearthed Words

This week, we are still welcoming the new month of July. Here are some poems about this hot and stormy month.

Then followed that beautiful season,
Called by the pious Acadian peasants the Summer of All-Saints!
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape
Lay as if new - created in all the freshness of childhood.
— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, American poet and educator


In July month one bonny morn,
When Nature's rokelay green
Was spread over like a rigg of corn
To charm our roving evening.
— Robert Fergusson, Scottish poet, Leith Races


A ghost is roaming through the building,
And shadows in the attic browse;
Persistently intent on mischief
A goblin roams about the house.

He gets into your way, he fusses,
You hear his footsteps overhead,
He tears the napkin off the table
And creeps in slippers to the bed.

With feet unwiped he rushes headlong
On gusts of draught into the hall
And whirls the curtain, like a dancer,
Towards the ceiling, up the wall.

Who is this silly mischief-maker,
This phantom and this double-face?
He is our guest, our summer lodger,
Who spends with us his holidays.

Our house is taken in possession
By him, while he enjoys a rest.
July, with summer air and thunder-
He is our temporary guest.

July, who scatters from his pockets
The fluff of blow-balls in a cloud,
Who enters through the open window,
Who chatters to himself aloud,
Unkempt, untidy, absent-minded,
Soaked through with smell of dill and rye,
With linden-blossom, grass and beet-leaves,
The meadow-scented month July.
— Boris Pasternak, Russian poet and writer, July


Grow That Garden Library

Glorious Shade by Jenny Rose Carey

This book came out in 2017 of this year, and the subtitle is Dazzling Plants, Design Ideas, and Proven Techniques for Your Shady Garden.

Jenny Rose Carey is a renowned educator, historian, and author, and the senior director at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society's Meadowbrook Farm in Jenkintown.

In their review of this book, Gardens Illustrated said,

"A practical guide to maintaining a shade garden with a useful calendar of seasonal tasks, plant directory and inspiring design ideas.”

This book is 324 pages of plants, ideas, and tips - all shared with today's shade gardener in mind.

And, I love what it says in the front flap of this book -

“Most gardeners treat shade as a problem to solve.”

This is sooo true.  But Jenny, and many experienced shade gardeners, know that shade gardens don't have to be dark and boring. In fact, once you've mastered shade gardening, you'll wonder why you ever doubted the beauty and serenity of these cool, relaxing, and colorful spaces.

You can get a copy of Glorious Shade by Jenny Rose Carey and support the show, using the Amazon Link in today's Show Notes for around $8.


Today's Botanic Spark

1932   On this day in 1932, the Sydney Morning Herald shared a harrowing story of attempted murder at a commemoration ceremony for a botanist.

It turns out, a botanist named Richard Wettstein had been responsible for the Botanical Garden of the University of Vienna.

A year after Wettstein's death, the new head of Vienna University, a Dr. Able, had just unveiled a statue of Wettstein.

Dr. Able had just finished giving his speech in praise of Wettstein when suddenly, an old professor named Karl Schneider pushed through the crowd and shouted, "At last we settle an old score!"

Luckily, Karl's revolver shot went wide. Dr. Able was not harmed (and neither was the statue of Wettstein), and the Mayor of Vienna grabbed old Karl before he could shoot again.

Now, all this excitement was a far cry from the persona of the botanist Richard Wettstein - who was known for his polite, controlled, and courteous demeanor.

And here's a little-known fact about the botanist Richard Wettstein: he was an excellent speaker. On more than one occasion, the speaking skills of this Vienna botanist led him to be considered by those in powerful positions in government to be a potential contender for the president of Austria.

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