July 13, 2020 Garden Ideas to Boost Curb Appeal, Julius Caesar, Jane Loudon, John Charles Frémont, John Clare, The Power of a Plant by Stephen Ritz, and the Fairchild Tropical Garden

Show Notes

Today we celebrate the Roman Leader who is still honored with flowers.

We'll also learn about one of the best botanical writers of all time.

We celebrate the man remembered with the naming of the Cottonwood.

We also celebrate the life of a beloved English poet through his poetry - every year on this day, he is still remembered with flowers.

We Grow That Garden Library™ with a book about a teacher from the Bronx who germinated an idea and started a movement, changing his life and the lives of his students.

And then we’ll wrap things up with the inspiring story of the Fairchild Tropical Garden.

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.


Jennifer's Pesto Resources (During the Pandemic)

Pine Nuts from Amazon


Curated News

12 front garden ideas – inviting designs to boost your curb appeal | Real Homes

These front garden ideas will transform your home, creating a smarter and more individual look

1. Keep The Route To The Front Door Simple

2. Choose Big Plant Pots To Create An Impactful Look

3. Choose Sympathetic Materials For The Path

4. Highlight Your Front Door

5. Hide The Bins In A Bin Shed

6. Pay Attention To Paintwork In A Small Front Garden

7. Paint Your Front Gate An Inviting Colour

8. Choose Cost-effective Gravel To Cover Ugly Surfaces

9. Parking Or Garden?

10. Choose A Planting Structure For Year-Round Interest

11. Pick A Front Garden Colour Scheme

12. Consider Front Garden Security

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

100BC Today is the birthday of the Roman leader Julius Caesar.

On this day, Romans lay a wreath at his statue and throw flowers in the Forum where Caesar was murdered.


1858 Today is the anniversary of the death of Jane Loudon, who married the prolific garden writer and publisher: John Claudius Loudon.

Jane was a fantastic writer in her own right, but she also possessed an inner determination; she was a survivor. When her father lost the family fortune and died penniless when Jane was only seventeen, it marked the beginning of her career writing Science Fiction.

In her books, Jane wrote about cultural and technological advancements that eventually came to pass. For instance, the women in her books wore pants.

In any case, her successful book The Mummy was published anonymously, in 1827, in three parts.

Now, in one of her books, Jane featured something she imagined would come to pass: a steam plow. And that concept attracted the attention of John Claudius Loudon - her future husband.

Loudon wrote a favorable review of her book, but he also wanted to meet the author. Loudon didn’t realize Jane had written the book using a nom de plume of Henry Colburn.

Well, long story short and much to Loudon’s delight, Henry was Jane; they fell in love and married a year later.

The Loudons were considered high society, and they called Charles Dickens a friend.

As John and Jane grew old together, John’s arms stopped working as he grew older, after an attack of rheumatic fever. As a result, Jane became John's arms, and she handled most of his writing. And, when his arms got so bad that surgeons needed to amputate his right arm, they found him in his garden, which he said he intended to return to immediately after the operation.

Two weeks before Christmas in 1843, John was dictating his last book to Jane and the book was called, A Self Instruction to Young Gardeners. Around midnight, he suddenly collapsed into Jane’s arms and died.

To honor John's memory, Jane completed the book on her own.


1890 Today is the anniversary of the death of the American explorer, soldier, and the first Presidential candidate of the Republican Party, John Charles Frémont.

Frémont is remembered as “The Pathfinder” after helping many Americans who were heading West by creating documents and maps of his expeditions. In fact, John and his wife, Jesse, created an entire map of the Oregon Trail.

Now, when Frémont saw Nebraska for the first time, he didn’t see merely an endless prairie; he saw beauty. To Fremont, the entire state was one big garden, accentuated with fertile soil, swaying grasses, and wildflowers as far as the eye could see.

Fremont was one of the first explorers to write about cottonwood trees. He discovered them near Pyramid Lake in Nevada on Jan 6, 1844. Years later, botanists would name the cottonwood in his honor, calling it the "Populus fremontii."

Cottonwoods are the fastest growing trees in North America. And, the Cottonwood was sacred to Native Americans. To the Apaches, the Cottonwood was a symbol of the sun. In Northern Mexico, Cottonwood boughs were used in funeral rights and the Cottonwood was a symbol of the afterlife.

And, there's an old Native American Legend that tells how the Cottonwood tree gave birth to the stars. For a time, the tree held the stars and kept them safe. But then, one late spring, the stars were released until they filled the night sky. And, every spring, we can remember the legend when we see the female trees release their star-shaped seeds into the air.

Now when I was growing up, all of the beautiful elm trees at my childhood home succumbed to Dutch elm disease. My parents selected cottonwoods because they knew they would grow quickly - up to six feet or more each year. They couldn't stand how naked the house looked without the beautiful large elm trees.


In truth, there's no comparison between a cottonwood tree and an elm tree, which is regarded as one of the most beautiful trees by landscape painters. Still, Cottonwood trees do grow quickly. But be forewarned: Cottonwood trees often have weak wood that can easily be injured or damaged.

Cottonwood trees are in the Poplar species. Only the female trees produce the fluffy cotton seeds that float through the air and collect in your garden and garage in June.


Unearthed Words

Today is the birthday of the English poet John Clare who was born on this day in 1793. Each year on his birthday, the children of his village make little flower posies and then they lay them on his grave where they read poems they write in his honor.


All nature has a feeling: woods, fields, brooks
Are life eternal; and in silence they
Speak happiness beyond the reach of books;
There's nothing mortal in them; their decay
Is the green life of change; to pass away
And come again in blooms revivified.
Its birth was heaven, eternal is its stay,
And with the sun and moon shall still abide
Beneath their day and night and heaven wide.
— John Clare, English poet, All Nature Has a Feeling


Loud is the summer's busy song
The smallest breeze can find a tongue,
While insects of each tiny size
Grow teasing with their melodies,
Till noon burns with its blistering breath
Around, and day lies still as death.
— John Clare, English poet, July


Grow That Garden Library

The Power of a Plant by Stephen Ritz

This book came out in 2017 and the subtitle is A Teacher's Odyssey to Grow Healthy Minds and Schools.

Stephen Ritz is the founder of Green Bronx Machine and has devoted his teaching career to improving health and academic results for children in the South Bronx. His work has been featured by major media and documentaries, including Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food, and his TEDx talk has been viewed over one million times. Dubbed the Pied Piper of Peas, Ritz and his family reside in the Bronx and continue to farm with children all year round.

Tom Colicchio said,

“The only thing bigger than the impact Stephen has had helping countless students understand the importance of their food choices is his infectious personality. The Power of a Plant outlines the remarkable work he has done to date and provides a blueprint for how educators around the world can implement his learnings effectively.”

The book is 304 pages of Stephen’s story -

“a green teacher from the Bronx who let one idea germinate into a movement and changed his students’ lives by learning alongside them.”

You can get a copy of The Power of a Plant by Stephen Ritz and support the show, using the Amazon Link in today's Show Notes for around $7.


Today’s Botanic Spark

1986 On this day The Billings Gazette ran a story about the Fairchild Tropical Garden in a post called Florida Garden is a Must for Touring Northerners.

It starts out this way:

“Northern garden-lovers looking for a lush botanical escape from their own barren landscapes claim that this garden is at its best when northern winters are at their worst. Others say that it is prettiest right now and in the fall.

In any case, this 83-acre botanical garden just south of Miami's Coconut Grove is a four-season attraction for those who are interested in plants, beauty, or in oddities.

The Fairchild Tropical Garden is a distinguished first cousin of the Arnold Arboretum in Boston, a place where rare plants are preserved, the public is educated and serious research is conducted.

Be forewarned that a visit can quickly reduce the most seasoned gardener to amateur status.

You may know all about the different kinds of Iris and Lilacs, all about how to prune raspberries or harden off Tomato starts; you may even know your way around rare shrubs and trees. But what do you know about Lilly Pilly, Bush-man's-poison, Cannonball trees or Shower-of-Orchid vines?

A trip to Fairchild Tropical Garden is like a trip to a foreign country.

Actually, several foreign countries.

More than 4,000 different plants from Australia, Sumatra, the Bahamas, Burma, South Africa, Jamaica, Zamboanga, and many other tropical regions have taken root here.

There are Ficus Trees considerably larger than the one under your skylight. In fact, only a few representative species are grown here because of the great area each mature one requires. A single tree has been known to cover acres! "Ficus" means fig, and some kinds do bear edible fruit.

So do some members of the philodendron family, which grow outdoors here year-round. One, called "Monstera deliciosa" (believe it or not) sets fruit that is among the world's most delectable.

The Bromeliads... can be seen here growing on and among rocks and trees...

There are ... jewel-colored tropical Water Lilies, ... Orchids that bloom year-round on the grounds … the orange and purple Bird-of-Paradise and the Columbian Flamingo Flower, or Anthurium, which looks a bit like a shiny red patent-leather Calla Lily.

Many of the plants are definitely odd.

The 40-foot-tall Cannonball Tree, a native timber tree in some South American countries, produces fragrant, fleshy, 6-inch purple blossoms on strange special branches that the trunk sprouts near the ground at flowering time. These are followed by 8-inch rusty cannonballs, dangling from heavy strings suspended from the trunk, that make a noise when the wind blows them against one another. In their native South American countries, these "cannonballs" are often hollowed out and turned into drinking cups.

Another curiosity is the Calabash tree, whose egg-shaped fruit, when dried and filled with seed or BB shot, becomes the maracas familiar in Latin music.

The garden is named after Dr. David Fairchild, an American plant explorer responsible for introducing many important species and varieties of plants to us, such as soybeans, dates, and improved varieties of rice, wheat and cotton.

He was a close friend of the garden's founder, a New York tax attorney named Col. Robert H. Montgomery [co-founders of what is today the world's largest accounting firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers. Montgomery] spent his fortune on collecting tropical plants and providing a place for them to grow.

The Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is located at 10901 Old Cutler Road, Miami.”

During the pandemic, the Garden is open every day, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., with special times available for seniors and individuals who identify as vulnerable.

For your safety and theirs, guests and members must preregister for timed entry. Reserve Your Timed Ticket and Review their COVID Policies and Procedures on their website.

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