July 22, 2020 16 Drought-Tolerant Plants for Your Garden, Drying Flowers, Neil Muller, John Drayton Hastie, Louise Klein Miller, The Sleep of Seeds by Lucia Cherciu, Making More Plants by Ken Druse, and San Jose Scale

Show Notes

Today we remember the kind Harvard botanist who was a friend of Darwin.

We'll also learn about the botanist who specialized in South American flora and found the Cinchona tree: the source of quinine.

We salute the pioneer of the study of allelopathy - when one plant species releases chemical compounds that affect another plant species.

We also recognize the man who transformed the springtime landscape at the beautiful Magnolia Gardens.

We honor the first woman to attend Cornell University's school of forestry.

Today's Unearthed Words feature a poem called The Sleep of Seeds.

We Grow That Garden Library™ with a book about the "Science, Art, and Joy of Propagation"; learn how to grow whatever you want, whenever you want.

And then we'll wrap things up with a delightful story about a horticulture teacher.

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

16 Drought Tolerant Plants to Grow in Your Garden | Ken Druse | Garden Design

“Drought-tolerant plants can be identified just by looking at them or feeling or smelling their bruised foliage. Many fragrant herbs, for example, are drought-tolerant.”

  • Larkspur and Nigella
  • Morning Glory
  • Portulaca ("Port-you-LAKE-ah") Rose Moss
  • Annual sunflowers
  • Achillea (yarrow)("Ack-ah-LEE-ah)
  • Silphium ("SILL-fee-um) Cup Plant
  • Helianthemum ("HE-LEE-anthemum") Rock Rose
  • Rudbeckia black-eyed Susan
  • Echinacea Coneflower
  • Ratibida ("RAH-tib-it-ah") Grey-headed Coneflower
  • Asters
  • Dianthus
  • Euphorbias
  • Foxgloves
  • Sempervivum
  • Sedum
  • Tulips
  • Mulleins
  • Bearded Iris
  • Lilacs


Have you ever tried drying flowers?

Successfully drying one of your favorite flowers is such a joy.

Some flowers look even better when they are dried.

There are many options for drying flowers; air drying is the simplest. Then, of course, there's pressing.

If you've never tried sand drying a bloom, you should give it a shot. Just fill a microwave-safe container with a layer of silica sand. Put the flower on top of the sand and then bury the bloom in the sand. Place the bloom along with a cup of water in the microwave. Heat in microwave in 30-second increments. Your flower should be dried in 2-3 minutes.

Another step you can take in your flower-drying hobby is to prepare a spot in your garden shed, garage, pantry, or kitchen for drying flowers.

Repurpose a pot rack or do something simple like string some twine between some eye hooks. Sometimes just creating space can inspire you to take some cuttings and bring beautiful blooms indoors. One of my favorite pictures from my garden is a single row of hydrangea cuttings drying upside down in my kitchen. Bliss.


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

1909 Today is the birthday of Cornelius Herman ("Neil") Muller, the American botanist and ecologist.

Cornelius pioneered the study of allelopathy ("ah-la-LOP-OH-thee"). Allelopathy occurs when one plant species releases chemical compounds that affect another plant species.

Most gardeners know that black walnut is an example of allelopathy. In addition to the roots, black walnut trees store allelopathic chemicals in their buds, in the hulls of the walnuts, and their leaves.


1917 Today is the birthday of John Drayton Hastie of Magnolia Gardens.

The Drayton family has lived on the plantation on the banks of the Ashley River since the 1670s.

Magnolia Gardens is often regarded as one of the most staggeringly beautiful places in the entire South. And it's worth noting that it was built on the backs of slaves.

The journalist Charles Kuralt once wrote about Magnolia Gardens. He said,

“By 1900, the Baedeker guide to the United States listed three must-see attractions: the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, and Magnolia Gardens.

Maybe because I am a sucker for 300-year-old live oak trees hung with Spanish moss and for azaleas and camellias and dogwoods and for Cherokee roses growing on fences — I think I’d put Magnolia Gardens first on that list.”


Representing the 9th generation of the Drayton Family at Magnolia Gardens, John Drayton Hastie was a passionate plantsman. He knew and loved all of the winding brick paths and the thousands of specimens at Magnolia Gardens - including the Middleton Oak, which measured over 12 feet in diameter.

And John knew all about the history of the gardens. In 1840, Magnolia Gardens was home to the first azaleas ever planted in America. John often said that it was the successful cultivation of azaleas at Magnolia Gardens that led to the desire for the spring bloomer all across the south - from Charleston to Mobile. And the oldest azalea at Magnolia Gardens is the Indicia from Holland.

John lived through some challenging times at Magnolia. After Hurricane Hugo ripped through Magnolia Gardens, John was optimistic saying,

“There [were] some advantages, not that I wanted them… [Before the hurricane], we had trouble getting sunlight. Now I'll be able to plant more roses and perennials."

Magnolia Gardens is where you'll find the Audobon Swamp Garden. It takes almost an hour to walk through, and it is a feast for the senses. The black water swamp is swaddled by hundreds of Black Cypress and teaming with wildlife from alligators and large turtles to herons and bald eagles.

In addition to the swamp, Magnolia Gardens has a Biblical Garden and huge maze that was inspired by the maze at England's Hampton Court to honor Henry VIII.

Through most of the 20th century, John Drayton Hastie and his wife were the friendly and knowledgeable hosts to the over 150,000 guests and tourists that visited the property every year.

Today, Magnolia Gardens is run by a nonprofit foundation that was established in 1985. And, John's grandson, Taylor, is writing a new chapter for Magnolia Gardens. Beginning in the early 2000s, Taylor worked to begin what experts called "the most ambitious" effort to unearthed the records and history of plantation slavery. The Magnolia Plantation Foundation funded the creation of a free online website and database dedicated to African American genealogy and history in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida called Lowcountry Africana.

Before John Drayton Hastie died as an old man, he'd already experienced a brush with death. Almost 70 years earlier (in 1933), when John was 15 years old, he went camping with some friends on Morris Island. And, at some point, the boys went for a swim in the ocean. John was standing near the shore in about two feet of water when a shark attacked him. The shark bit John on both legs. Somehow John managed to free himself. His buddies brought him to Fort Moultrie, where the medical staff was astounded by the severity of his wounds. John made a full recovery at a Charleston Hospital.

After John died in 2002, his remains were placed within an oak tree at Magnolia Garden. Today, there is a marker by the Drayton Oak which reads:

“Within this Oak, planted three centuries ago in the original Magnolia Plantation Garden by his ancestor, Thomas Drayton Jr., of Barbados, are interred the remains of John Drayton Hastie whose later life was devoted to continuing the Horticultural efforts of eight generations of family predecessors, and to transforming their springtime garden into one of beauty for all seasons. “


1938 The St. Cloud Times runs a story about a Miss Louise Klein Miller.

Louise, at the age of 84, was retiring as supervisor of Cleveland's Memorial Gardens - after supervising them for over a quarter of a century.

The first woman to attend Cornell University's school of forestry, Louise became the landscape architect for Cleveland schools; she was the only female landscape architect working in an extensive city school system.

Collinwood is a neighborhood on the east side of Cleveland. On Ash Wednesday, March 4, 1908, the Collinwood school fire became one of the country's biggest tragedies.

The school had only two exits. The construction created a chimney effect; the school became a fire trap. Almost half of the children in the building died.

In 1910, Louise planned the Memorial Gardens to honor the 172 children, two teachers, and one rescuer who died in the blaze.

The year before, in 1909, the Ohio General Assembly passed legislation that,

"a memorial should stand in perpetuity to honor those who lost their lives in this school fire tragedy.”

The Collinwood memorial is a large square planting bed that is rimmed with 3.5-foot walls made of concrete that is tiled. The plantable area of the memorial measures roughly 20' x 40'. There's also a deep bench around the perimeter, and the walls are slanted to make seating more comfortable. The downside is that the bench and the scale of the raised bed make access to the planting area is sometimes very challenging.

During Louise's era, students grew flowers in a school greenhouse for the Memorial.

Over 70 years, the garden fell into neglect. 2018 was the 110th Anniversary of the Collinwood School Fire; there have been a few attempts to make sure that the garden continues to be a meaningful memorial. The struggle to maintain the Memorial continues.

In July of 1910, there was an article in the Santa Cruz newspaper that described the new memorial garden - which at the time included a large lily pond:

"There was a poet who said he sometimes thought that never blows so red the rose as where some buried Caesar bled;
That every hyacinth the garden wears, drops in her lap from some once lovely head.
Then there will never be lilies so fair as those that will bloom in the lily pond that is to be on the site of the Collinwood school."


Unearthed Words

It didn't rain all summer.
Instead of water, my father used prayer
for his garden. Despite his friends' laughter,
he planted spinach and lettuce,
countless rows of cucumbers
in beds lined up meticulously
ignoring old people's warnings
about the drought.
Every afternoon, he pushed his hat back,
wiped off his sweat,
and looked up at the empty sky, the sun scorching
the acacia trees shriveling in the heat.
In July, the ground looked like cement.
Like the ruins of a Roman thermal bath,
it kept the vestiges of a lost order,
traces of streams long gone.
He yelled at me to step back
from the impeccable architecture
of climbing green beans,
the trellis for tomatoes,
although there was nothing to be seen,
no seedlings, no tendrils,
not even weeds,
just parched, bare ground—
as if I were disturbing
the hidden sleep of seeds.
— Lucia Cherciu "Lew-chee-AH CARE-chew," poet, Edible Flowers, The Sleep of Seeds


Grow That Garden Library

Making More Plants by Ken Druse

This book came out in 2012, and the subtitle is The Science, Art, and Joy of Propagation.

Druse says that propagation—the practice of growing whatever you want, whenever you want—is gardening itself.

In this book, Druse shares his proven techniques to expand the plants in your garden. This book has over 500 photos to help you practice the steps of propagating successfully.

The book is 256 pages of propagation demystified - all shared to help you learn the steps and tools necessary to create more plants. What gardener doesn't want more plants?

You can get a copy of Making More Plants by Ken Druse and support the show, using the Amazon Link in today's Show Notes for around $30.


Today's Botanic Spark

While researching Louise Klein Miller, I ran across a delightful story about her time teaching horticulture:

"Louise had been telling a crowd of pupils about the different insects that attack plants and warned them especially, against the malevolent San Jose scale. She suggested that they go to the school library, get a book about it, and read of Its habits and the remedy for checking its career.

One young woman went to the librarian the next morning, and said she wanted something about the San Jose scale.

Without even looking up from her desk, the Librarian said, ‘Go to the music department.’”

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