Today in botanical history, we celebrate an American doctor, a Viscountess, and a Canadian fiction writer.
We hear a little excerpt about September - such a milestone month for so many people.
We Grow That Garden Library™ with a book about one of America’s greatest explorers.
And then we’ll wrap things up with tomato tips from garden writer Stuart Robinson who shares how to get the last of your harvest to ripen faster. A question on many gardener’s minds...
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September 15, 1795
Birth of James Gates Percival, American poet, surgeon, and geologist. In The Language of Flowers, he wrote,
In Eastern lands they talk in flowers,
And they tell in a garland their loves and cares:
Each blossom that blooms in their garden bowers,
On its leaves a mystic language bears.
In The Flight of Time, he wrote,
Roses bloom, and then they wither;
Cheeks are bright, then fade and die;
Shapes of light are wafted hither,
Then, like visions, hurry by.
September 15, 1872
Birth of Frances Garnet Wolseley, 2nd Viscountess Wolseley, English gardening author, and teacher. Her Glynde College for Lady Gardeners in East Sussex was patronized by Gertrude Jekyll, Ellen Willmott, and William Robinson. She wrote,
It is with real sorrow that we see so many [survivors] of an era of not particularly good taste in the shape of iron benches. It is their undoubted durability which has preserved them, and we who try to rest upon them are the sufferers, not only for their unpleasing appearance but from the ill-chosen formation of the back…
September 15, 1937
Birth of Marjorie Harris, Canadian non-fiction writer, garden expert, and garden author. She was the host of The Urban Gardener radio show for CBS. In addition to countless articles and columns for various publications, she wrote more than a dozen books on gardening. She wrote,
The longer you garden, the better the eye gets, the more tuned to how colors vibrate in different ways and what they can do to each other. You become a scientist as well as an artist, with the lines between increasingly blurred.
The windows are open, admitting the September breeze: a month that smells like notepaper and pencil shavings, autumn leaves, and car oil. A month that smells like progress, like moving on.
― Lauren Oliver, Vanishing Girls
Grow That Garden Library
This book came out in 1938, and the subtitle is Travels of a Plant Explorer.
In this book, you learn directly from the fabulous Plant Explorer David Fairchild about what it was like to travel the globe searching for new plant species to bring home to the United States.
In this first-hand account, David shares his extensive botanical expertise in addition to detailed stories about his time with primitive cultures in the far reaches of our planet. In addition to his outstanding botanical work, David was a great photographer, and he provided all of the photos for this remarkable book.
This book is 634 pages of botanical exploration with David Fairchild as your guide.
Today’s Botanic Spark
Reviving the little botanic spark in your heart
September 15, 2004
On this day, in The Gazette (Montreal), garden writer Stuart Robinson shared tips for getting tomatoes to ripen faster. He wrote:
The first trick is to trim some of the leaves covering the green fruit so that they're more exposed to the sun. This helps them warm up during the daytime. But the very best way of making sure that all the fruit on a vine turns ripe is to cut down on their competition. Step one is to pinch off all the side shoots... Be ruthless and remove them all, even if they seem to be producing a small set of flower buds… Step two is… trim the growing tips from all the remaining stems to stop the plant from getting any bigger. One gardener I know swears that severe pinching threatens the plant so much that it hurries to set its fruit (and seeds) much quicker.
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