July 14, 2020 Ideas for a Summer Garden Party, Edwin James, Bastille Day, Rudolph Boysen, John T. White, Rachel Carson, The Butterfly’s Ball and The Grasshopper’s Feast, A Tapestry Garden By Marietta and Ernie O’Bryne, And William Vyvyan’s Night-Blooming Cereus

Show Notes

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

Today we celebrate the botanist who climbed Pikes Peak and discovered the Columbine (Aquilegia vulgaris).

We'll also learn about the man who is remembered for the Boysenberry.

We celebrate a 1978 entry from John T. White's Country Diary.

We also celebrate the environmentalist who fell in love with Maine.

We hear the poem written by the Scottish children's author that celebrates grasshoppers.

We Grow That Garden Library™ with a book about gardening on one and a half acres - featuring unexpected plant combinations, beautiful photography, garden inspiration, and a testament to the power of microclimates in a garden.

And then we'll wrap things up with the night-blooming plant that caused a sensation in 1933.

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

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Curated News

26 Ideas for a Summer Garden Party | Janet Loughrey | Garden Design

When summer heats up, it's time to sit back and relax in your yard. After all that hard work of weeding, planting, and mulching, what better way to enjoy the season than to throw a garden party? Celebrate with these festive tips.

Here are some of my favorites:

1. Cozy Up The Back Yard
Get the yard ready by updating your accessories for a fresh look.

2. Accessorize With Containers
Dress up the yard with decorative containers brimming with colorful plants.

3. Pick A Theme
Host a party based on a flower that's in season—such as sunflowers.

4. Set The Mood
Nothing says magic and romance more than twinkling lights at night.

5. Create A "Happy Hour" Garden
Grow a medley of herbs, fruits, and vegetables, and make refreshing drinks with ingredients fresh from your garden.

6. Grow Your Own Party Food
Use fresh ingredients from your garden to whip up a delicious meal.

7. Play Games
After drinks and appetizers with your guests, set up some outdoor games, and get active.

8. Take The Bite Out Of Bugs
Keep pests off your guests without using chemical bug sprays.


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

1820 Today the botanist Edwin James, along with two companions, made the first ascent of Pikes Peak, Rocky Mountains, Colorado.

Interested in plants from a very young age, James botanized extensively in his home state of Vermont, and he compiled the very first Flora of Vermont plants.

James left his mark on the botanical world when he went on one of the first expeditions of the American West - traveling from Pittsburgh to the Rocky Mountains. On the way of Pikes Peak, James came across the mountain Columbine, Aquilegia caerulea, which ultimately became known as the Colorado Blue Columbine and the State Flower of Colorado.

James' account of his climb up Pikes Peak stated:

"A little above the point where the timber disappears entirely commences a region of astonishing beauty . . . covered with a carpet of low but brilliantly flowering alpine plants. . ."

And James' words, "a region of astonishing beauty," became the title of a 2003 book on the botanical history of the Rocky Mountains by Roger Lawrence Williams.

After the expedition, James married and settled in Burlington, Iowa. In a sidenote that reveals his loving heart, James' home was part of the Underground Railroad.

James died in 1861 after an accident. There is a monument to James on Pike's Peak, and the Des Moines County Medical Society planted Rocky Mountain Blue Columbine on his grave in the Rock Springs Cemetery in Iowa. Newspaper accounts say the location of Edwin James' grave was in the most picturesque part of southeastern Iowa.


1918 Bastille Day was celebrated in Paris.

Accounts say it was a clear day. The skies over Paris were filled with French airplanes. Flowers covered the streets, and the air was fragrant, sweetly scented with strawberries.


1950 Today is the anniversary of the death of the plant hybridizer Rudolph Boysen.

In the 1910s and '20s, Boysen had been playing around with plant genetics. He worked on an 18-acre farm owned by John Lubbens in Napa Valley. On one June morning, Boysen took a walk along a creek bank to inspect some of his new berry creations. Boysen was astonished when he saw that one of the vines bore fruit that was almost two inches long. The fruit would become known to the world as the Boysenberry.

Boysenberries are similar to blackberries but have a larger, juicier, and sweeter fruit. The Boysenberry is a cross between the loganberry, the raspberry, and the blackberry. In 1927, Boysen advertised them as "the sensation of the 20th Century."

Now as luck would have it, the grower, Walter Knott, had been looking for new varieties of berries. When Knott got some of Boysen's plants, he knew it was the berry he had been looking for over the past decade. Knott gave Boysen credit by naming the plant in his honor. But, Knott managed to make an empire for himself with the proceeds - establishing the world-renown Knotts Berry Farm. As for Boysen, he never earned a dime from the Boysenberry.


1978 Today John T. White's Country Diary was shared in The Guardian (www.theguardian.com)

“The calendar said July 1 but the weather over Dungeness was more suited to January.

Low clouds swept over the lighthouse and the foghorn sent out it's melancholy warning, three times every half minute, into the misty Channel.

I was glad of jersey and anorak and turned my back to the driving rain as I explored the shingle wilderness.

I was accompanied by the sea swallows, the terns flying so low that they zig-zagged between the willow scrub like yachts tacking so close that I could see crabs and small fish in their beaks.

I decided to follow their route and stumbled over a succession of shingle ridges that mark the steady seaward extension of the headland.

The flora, at least, was summery in its brilliance. Vipers Bugloss, dark blue, red-tipped, standing stiffly in the bare shingle. Valerian towering above carpets of Yellow Stonecrop and the white flowers of Sea-Beet rising from clumps of thick, fleshy leaves.

Most remarkable in that wild garden was the Nottingham Catchfly, a rare plant, highly localized in its occurrence; its white ragged petals drooping with water.

Anglers lined the shore, standing four-square behind their fixed rods and, above them, almost hovering as they turned into the strong breeze, were the terns, heads dipped, to survey the rough waves, plummeting down to take their share of the fish.”


1946 On this day, the environmentalist Rachel Carson arrived in Maine and she promptly fell in love with the state.

That summer, she rented a cabin on the Sheepscot River. She wrote:

“The only reason I will ever come back is that I don’t have brains enough to figure out a way to stay here for the rest of my life. … My greatest ambition is to be able to buy a place here and then manage to spend a great deal of time [here]."

Rachel's time in Maine resulted in her classic book The Sea Around Us. And it made it possible for Rachel to realize her dream. In 1953, She bought a summer home in Maine.

Five years later, Olga Owens Huckins and her husband, Stuart, observed birds and insects dropping dead in her Duxbury garden within 24 hours of the Massachusetts State Mosquito control program spraying DDT over her bird sanctuary at a rate of 2 pounds per acre. The day Olga's property was sprayed, the pilot had extra DDT fuel oil in his tank, and he decided to dump it right over Olga's land.

As a former Boston newspaper reporter, Olga voiced her anger and frustration in an editorial. Olga wrote,

“The ‘harmless’ shower-bath killed seven of our lovely songbirds outright. We picked up three dead bodies the next morning right by the door. They were birds that had lived close to us, trusted us, and built their nests in our trees year after year.”

After writing the paper, Olga wrote another letter to her old friend Rachel Carson. Olga's letter sparked four years of research for Rachel. She put it all together in a book called Silent Spring. Rachel's book opened people's eyes to the hazards of DDT, and public opinion eventually forced the banning of DDT in 1972.

Today, Olga & Stuart's property has new owners. Judith and Robert Vose, III, continue to preserve the site as a bird sanctuary and also as a way to honor the brave women who stepped forward when it was put in harm's way: Olga Huckins and Rachel Carson.


Unearthed Words

Come take up your Hats, and away let us haste
To the Butterfly's Ball and the Grasshopper's Feast.
The Trumpeter, Gad-fly, has summoned the Crew,
And the Revels are now only waiting for you.

And there came the Beetle, so blind and so black,
Who carried the Emmet, his Friend, on his Back.
And there was the Gnat and the Dragon-fly too,
With all their Relations, Green, Orange, and Blue.

And there came the Moth, with his Plumage of Down,
And the Hornet in Jacket of Yellow and Brown;
Who with him the Wasp, his Companion, did bring,
But they promised, that Evening, to lay by their Sting.

A Mushroom their Table, and on it was laid
A Water-dock Leaf, which a Table-cloth made.
The Viands were various, to each of their Taste,
And the Bee brought her Honey to crown the Repast.

Then close on his Haunches, so solemn and wise,
The Frog from a Corner looked up to the Skies.
And the Squirrel well pleased such Diversions to see,
Mounted high over Head, and looked down from a Tree.
Then the Grasshopper came with a Jerk and a Spring,
Very long was his Leg, though but short was his Wing;
He took but three Leaps, and was soon out of Sight,
Then chirped his own Praises the rest of the Night.

— Robert Michael Ballantyne, Scottish children's author, The Butterfly's Ball and the Grasshopper's Feast


Grow That Garden Library

A Tapestry Garden by Marietta and Ernie O'Bryne

This book came out in 2018, and the subtitle is The Art of Weaving Plants and Place.

Gardenista said,

“This is the fascinating story of a tireless and simpatico couple, a pair of gardeners who have spent more than 40 years assembling a mind-boggling collection of plants and installing them in unexpected, sometimes truly revolutionary, combinations. . . . Throughout the book, we are offered useful tidbits and advice. . . [and] informative sections on specific plants such as Arisaemas ("Aris-SAME'ah"); trilliums; bulbs, corms, tubers, and rhizomes; and hellebores. . . . remarkably cheery and philosophical.”

From the publisher:

“Marietta and Ernie O’Byrne’s garden—situated on one and a half acres in Eugene, Oregon—is filled with an incredible array of plants from around the world. By consciously leveraging the garden’s many microclimates, they have created a stunning patchwork of exuberant plants that is widely considered one of America’s most outstanding private gardens.

Profiles of the O’Byrne’s favorite plants—include hellebores, trilliums, Arisaemas, and alpine plants—and they include comprehensive growing information and tips on pruning and care. A Tapestry Garden captures the spirit of a very special place.”

The book is 264 pages of unexpected plant combinations, beautiful photography, garden inspiration, and a testament to the power of microclimates in a garden.

You can get a copy of A Tapestry Garden by Marietta and Ernie O'Bryne and support the show, using the Amazon Link in today's Show Notes for around $17.


Today's Botanic Spark

1933 On this day The Journal Times out of Racine, Wisconsin posted a notice about a local sensation: Mrs. William Vyvyan's night-blooming cereus.

"Mrs. Kitty Shephard of Waukesha and Miss Loraine Brehmer of Milwaukee are making an attended visit at the William Vyvyan home. Mrs. Vyvyan had many visitors on Monday evening, who came to see the rare plant, the night-blooming cereus, which had four beautiful blossoms."

Do tell.

Well, the night-blooming cereus, is one of the desert's most unique plants. the night-blooming cereus is a member of the cactus family. Native to Arizona and the Sonoran Desert, the plant is also commonly called the Queen of the Night or the Princess of the Night.

Now, generally, the cereus is grown as a houseplant, and it is often a pass-along plant - passed on from one friend to another.

And, you should know, if you get one, that as a plant, it can be a bit of a mess. It's generally rather untidy and unruly. But it can be pruned without hurting the cactus. To create more of the Cereus night-blooming cactus, all you have to do is just pot up the cuttings.

Just keep in mind that the night-blooming Cereus won't flower until it is four or five years old. And, the number of blooms increases as the plant ages. But once it blooms, the white flower is genuinely incredible. It's almost seven inches in diameter and smells divine - which is a good thing since you have it in your home. And it's true. It is a night-blooming plant. The flowers start to bloom at 9 or 10 p.m. and they are fully open by midnight. Then, the morning sun will cause the petals to fall off and die.

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