Today we celebrate a Swedish botanist and professor, a Scottish minister, and naturalist, and a British botanist.
We hear an excerpt about September’s changing colors.
We Grow That Garden Library™ with a book about the language of plants - what they are saying to us if we only knew how to listen.
And then we’ll wrap things up with an American writer and her description of the end of summer.
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September 17, 1702
Death of Olaus Rudbeck, Swedish botanist. Four months before he died, a fire destroyed much of Upsala. At 72, he helped lead the effort to save the building where he taught even after learning that the fire had destroyed his home along with his personal collections and writings. Thanks to Olaus, the university library was saved. After the fire, he drew up plans to rebuild the city. (The plans were carried out without him.) Twenty-nine years after his death, Carl Linnaeus named the Rudbeckia, or Black-Eyed Susan, after him. Linnaeus wrote,
So long as the earth shall survive and as each spring shall see it covered with flowers, the Rudbeckia will preserve your glorious name.
September 17, 1833
Birth of Hugh Macmillan, Scottish minister, and naturalist. In The Ministry of Nature, (1871), he wrote,
Nature looks dead in winter because her life is gathered into her heart. She withers the plant down to the root [so] that she may grow it up again, fairer and stronger. She calls her family together within her inmost home to prepare them for being scattered abroad upon the face of the earth.
September 17, 1910
Birth of Patrick Millington Synge, British botanist, writer, and plant hunter. He served as chief editor for the Royal Horticultural Society. In 1934, he joined the British Museums expedition to the Ruwenzori range in Kenya and Uganda, which inspired his book The Mountains of the Moon - a nod to Herodotus’s name for the area. The equatorial mountain lakes were home to six-foot-tall impatiens, 30-foot-tall lobelia, and thick, tree-like heather. The experience was otherworldly and his writing is romantic and lyrical. He wrote,
Slowly we glide out through a long lane of water cut through the papyrus thicket into Lake Kyoga, where blue water lilies cover the surface with a far-stretching shimmer of blue and green...
Vita Sackville-West loved his book, writing,
Readers of Mr. Patrick Synge's enthralling book... will remember his photographs of this alarming plant (groundsel).
Patrick is remembered in the daffodil Narcissus hispanicus ex 'Patrick Synge' and in the exotic-flowering favorite Abutilon 'Patrick Synge'.
And finally, it seemed autumn had realized it was September. The last lingering days of summer had been pushed off stage and in the hidden garden long shadows stretched towards winter. The ground was littered with spent leaves, orange, and pale green, and chestnuts on spiky coats sat proudly on the fingertips of cold branches.”
― Kate Morton, The Forgotten Garden
Grow That Garden Library
This book came out in 2018, and the subtitle is A Remarkable Journey of Groundbreaking Scientific Discoveries and Personal Encounters with Plants.
In this book, research scientist Monica Gagliano explores plant communication - a subject that influenced her research and ultimately changed her life.
Monica has studied plant communication and cognition for a good amount of her academic career. She shares firsthand accounts from people all over the world and then shares the scientific revelations.
This book is 176 pages of plant stories - strange, beautiful, and unforgettable.
Today’s Botanic Spark
Reviving the little botanic spark in your heart
September 17, 1907
Birth of Elizabeth Enright, American writer, illustrator, and creative writing teacher. She won the Newbery Medal for Thimble Summer (1938). In book three of her popular Melendy family series called Then There Were Five (1944), she wrote,
The mullein had finished blooming and stood up out of the pastures like dusty candelabra. The flowers of Queen Anne's lace had curled up into birds' nests, and the bee balm was covered with little crown-shaped pods. In another month -- no, two, maybe -- would come the season of the skeletons, when all that was left of the weeds was their brittle architecture. But the time was not yet. The air was warm and bright, the grass was green, and the leaves and the lazy monarch butterflies were everywhere.
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