Today we celebrate the man who established the science of botany in America.
We'll also learn about the botanist who survived a plane crash in the Alaskan wilderness - an incredible story.
We celebrate a presentation from 1977 that encouraged, "Take a pill if you will; I say take a plant to cope with everyday stress."
We also learn about the little orchid that halted road construction in Louisiana and the British Plant Explorer that uncovered the orchid black market.
Today's poetry features poems about summer.
We Grow That Garden Library™ with a book about infusing your garden with more color.
And then we'll wrap things up with an adorable story about a botanically-inspired episode of an old TV show.
But first, let's catch up on some Greetings from Gardeners around the world and today's curated news.
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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“Even when fruits of invasive plants are abundant, migratory songbirds seek out native berries, according to new research.
As winter approaches and the food supply dwindles, birds move south and devour fall fruits along the way to fuel their trip. But they don’t eat just any fruit on their autumnal journeys: Birds are after native berries, according to a study published in Biological Conservation in January.
Even in late autumn, when fruits of invasive plants like Japanese barberry and multiflora rose dominate the landscape, migratory songbirds traversing New England seek out native blueberries, black cherries, and raspberries instead.
North American birds evolved alongside North American plants for many thousands of years, so these are the berries they’re most familiar with.
But that’s not the only reason to choose one fruit over another: Previous research has found that native fruits are more nutritious than their invasive counterparts. ‘They can’t be eating fast food before they take off on really long migrations,’ says ecologist Amanda Gallinat at the Utah State University, who led the new study. ‘They need something with high energy.’”
The Blackberry Garden
Leicester-based ‘amateur and somewhat obsessed gardener’ Alison Levey opens the gates to her own garden, as well as inspirations and things about gardening that make her happy.
Her Instagram is definitely worth a follow to: Instagram @blackberrygarden
Dig Delve features the writing of garden and landscape designer Dan Pearson and includes stories about gardens, horticulture, plants, landscape, nature, food ...all with stunning photography by Dan’s partner Huw Morgan.
The Patient Gardener
Helen Johnstone is the Patient Gardener and she says, “the title ‘Patient Gardener’ is quite aspirational as I’m not a particularly patient person… You will find that my posts are my own thoughts and ramblings mainly about my garden, my trials and tribulations as well as my triumphs.”
The Anxious Gardener
David Marsden writes about his life as a full-time, working gardener in East Sussex, England. He tends two, large private gardens and shows them, and their wildlife, through the seasons.
A garden writer based in Somerset, in the glorious countryside of the south-west of England.
Mr Plant Geek
Mr Plant Geek is Michael Perry, who brings over 18 years of experience in the horticultural industry to his blog … if you’re looking for shortcuts to gardening success, his blog is where to find uncomplicated tips – ‘I’m here to clear the fog, and help people enjoy easy gardens again!’
The Middle-Sized Garden
Alexandra Campbell uses her blog to cover everything from how to use a garden fertiliser, growing vegetables, and how to improve your pruning. Do you have a middle-sized garden? If your garden is bigger than a courtyard, but smaller than an acre, this is the one for you.
The Curious Gardener
Caleb Melchior describes himself as “a plant geek, writer, and designer. I believe in presence - being close, paying attention”
Plant Your Shade Trees Wisely.
Today's chore was featured in The South Bend Tribune out of South Bend, Indiana, on this day in 1952.
Here's what it said,
"Don't plant your shade tree so that It shades your neighbor's yard Instead of your own.
If you set the tree on the eastern border of your property, it will shade your neighbor's yard instead of your own garden during the hottest part of the day, in the afternoon.
...Consider your plantings as a permanent investment in beauty and comfort that is worth real thought."
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.
So, there's no need to take notes or search for links. The next time you're on Facebook, just search for Daily Gardener Community and request to join. I'd love to meet you in the group.
1838 On this day, the botanist Asa Gray resigned from the Wilkes Expedition.
Gray was frustrated by all of the delays, he was a person of action, and he also disliked Captain Charles Wilkes.
Gray disagreed with Wilkes about the Latin descriptions of the new taxa, and he also disagreed with Wilkes's staffing rules. Wilkes wanted to work with Americans only. But, Gray knew the work of the expedition would suffer without the help of European experts.
So, Gray decided to pivot, and he left the expedition to accept a position at the University of Michigan. But, before he could officially start that job, Harvard wooed him away.
At Harvard, Gray established the science of botany in America, and he guided the country into the international botany arena and made it competitive. And, that was due, in large part, to all of the great relationships Gray had established with European botanists.
And, Gray was also terrific friends with Charles Darwin. So, it's no surprise to learn that it was Asa Gray who said,
“Natural selection is not the wind which propels the vessel, but the rudder which, by friction, now on this side and now on that, shapes the course.”
1949 On this day, a 79-year-old botanist, Dr. Melville Thurston Cook, his wife, and their pilot were rescued by an Air Force helicopter after a week in the Alaskan wilderness.
Cook reported they survived on 90 dozen eggs after their plane was forced down in the rugged Brooks Mountain range.
As luck would have it, one thousand eighty eggs were aboard the plane as cargo. Cook shared their ingenuity with the world, telling how they had not lacked for variety in their preparation of the eggs, enjoying fried eggs, boiled eggs, poached eggs, scrambled eggs, shirred eggs, and omelet.
Naturally, when he wasn't eating eggs, Dr. Cook collected specimens.
Dr. Cook, who would be 80 in September, and his wife had been vacationing in Alaska. In newspaper accounts, he said he never doubted the party would be saved. But the crash had impacted their priorities. Following the accident, Cook and his wife moved to be closer to their children. One of their four kids followed Cook's footsteps to become a plant pathologist, Dr. Harold T. Cook.
Before the accident, Cook was finishing up his career by working as a visiting part-time professor of plant pathology at Louisiana State University.
During his prime, Cook had gone botanizing with Nathaniel Lord Britton and Elizabeth Gertrude Britton in Puerto Rico. He had also worked with Henry Allan Gleason at the New York Botanical Garden - rubbing shoulders with botanical giants.
1977 On this day, Ethan Allen and Elvin McDonald of House Beautiful (ww.housebeautiful.com) gave an inspiring presentation called "Decorating with Plants."
McDonald revealed many new decorating-with-plant ideas.
Keep in mind; this was three decades before Instagram. Otherwise, McDonald would have no doubt share photos of the over 300 plants in his apartment.
In the newspaper promotions for his presentation, McDonald was quoted as saying,
"Take a pill if you will; I say take a plant to cope with everyday stress."
1983 On this day newspaper headline on this day in The Town Talk in Alexandria, Louisiana said, 'Rare Plant Halts Road Work.'
It turns out, a fifteen-million-dollar highway-widening project near College Station was stopped because it threatened a tiny, rare, and unusual orchid plant.
The Spiranthes parksii (ii = "ee-eye"), is also known as Navasota Ladies' Tresses because it grows along the Navasota River. This rare orchid is only six inches tall with white blooms.
First discovered in 1945, the Spiranthes parksii was described by Donovan Stewart Correll in his 1950 book, Native Orchids of North America North of Mexico.
And, when it became protected, the Navasota Ladies' Tresses were only the 54th U.S. plant species to be classified as endangered.
1988 On this day, British plant explorer Roy Lancaster revealed that a thriving black market for plants was threatening rare Chinese orchids.
In the same way, an art collector might buy stolen works of art underground; elite plant collectors are the wealthy clients of orchid smugglers.
Lancaster shared the plight of Paphiopedilum armeniacum ("paff-ee-oh-PED-ih-lum ar-MEN-ee-A-cum"), commonly known as the Golden Slipper Orchid - a rare orchid, which was discovered in 1980 but was 100 percent harvested from the world in 1983.
In just three short years, the Golden Slipper Orchid had gone from discovery to presumed extinction.
Here are some poems about summer:
The summer looks out from her brazen tower,
Through the flashing bars of July.
— Francis Thompson, English poet, A Corymbus for Autumn
Leaving the house,
I went out to see
The frog, for example,
in her satiny skin;
and her eggs
like a slippery veil;
and her eyes
with their golden rims;
and the pond
with its risen lilies;
and its warmed shores
and the long, windless afternoons;
like a dropped cloud,
taking one slow step
then standing awhile then taking
her own soft-footed poem
through the still waters.
— Mary Oliver, American poet, Summer
Summer is come, for every spray now springs;
The heart hath hung his old head on the pale;
The buck in brake his winter coat he flings;
The fishes flete with new repaired scale;
The adder all her slough away she slings;
The swift swallow pursueth the flies small;
The busy bee her honey now she mings;
Winter is worn that was the flowers' bale.
And thus I see among these pleasant things
Each care decays, and yet my sorrow springs.
—Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, English poet and politician, Sonnet 7
Grow That Garden Library
This book came out in 2018, and the subtitle is Supercharge Your Borders and Containers with Bold, Colourful Plant Combinations.
The author Sarah Raven said,
"Full of good tips, growing and design guides, and an invaluable, zippy-zappy plant encyclopedia, Andy Vernon's new book will help you plot your own flower-powered collections to make your garden glow."
Andy Vernon is an award-winning garden writer, photographer, and horticultural consultant.
This book is 300 pages of illustrated ideas to improve and redo beds, advice on caring for plants, fifteen incredible color themes, and plant-picks to help you create a garden bursting with color.
Today's Botanic Spark
1966 On this day, the New York Daily News shared the TV listing for 9 pm: it was a repeat episode of Bewitched starring Elizabeth Montgomery and Dick York.
In the episode, rare black Peruvian roses robbed Samantha of her witching powers and gave her little green square spots on her face. Aunt Clara remembers that the Peruvian black rose was used to drive witches out of Peru. She sends Darrin off to gather items for the antidote, and then she brewed them all together. She needed bat wings, porpoise milk, the eye of newt, and an ostrich feather.
Luckily for Samantha, Aunt Clara said that she could only get Peruvian black rose sickness once.
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