Today we celebrate the Flemish artist who became known for painting floral garlands.
We'll also learn about the English poet who wrote about the flower known as The Traveller's Joy.
We’ll celebrate the new month with some words about November.
We Grow That Garden Library™ with a close look at gardens - 100 of them - in an engaging book that travels to the world's most interesting gardens to analyze why and how they are designed.
And then we’ll wrap things up with a little story about the bladderwort plant - a rare insect-eating plant with pretty yellow flowers.
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November 2, 1661
Today is the anniversary of the death of the Flemish Jesuit brother and painter Daniel Seghers.
Daniel was a marvelous painter based in Antwerp and focused mainly on floral still lives, and his vivid work was a favorite among his patrons and the aristocracy. As a Jesuit brother, Daniel made no money from his work - that all went to the church. But in 1649, Daniel was given a golden palette and golden brushes from a Dutch princess in exchange for some of his work.
Daniel pioneered the genre of flower garland painting, and his specialty was painting flower cartouches. Daniel’s garland still lifes were especially popular in his home country of Belgium.
A signature Daniel Segher Floral Cartouche would feature these voluptuous swags of flowers and flower garlands placed around a religious scene or statue that was often depicted in black and white or muted colors. These religious scenes were usually placed in the center of Daniels’ paintings, and incredibly, they were all painted by other Flemish painters. By the time Daniel received the artwork, he would immediately set about decorating the work with flowers. Daniel’s job was to create a floral tribute that added reverence, life, and excitement to the overall image. If you look at the garlands, you’ll notice that Daniel added charming, realistic touches by adding beautifully detailed butterflies and incredibly realistic flowers. Daniel also took some liberties with the flowers. Tulips and peonies are in full bloom next to roses, iris, carnations, hyacinths, and daisies. For Daniel, bloom time took a back seat to lushness and color. Also, some of the flowers conveyed additional symbolic meaning - so for the sake of Floriography ("FLOOR-EE-ah-grah-FEE"), Daniel painted the flowers he felt best suited his subject.
Ornamental gardeners will find a special joy and satisfaction in viewing Daniel’s masterpieces.
November 2, 1848
Today is the anniversary of the death of the English poet and Irish bishop Richard Mant.
Richard wrote a little poem about the wild clematis that happens to be England’s only native Clematis. In the 17th century, the herbalist John Gerard gave it the common name “The Traveller's Joy” (Clematis virginiana). The flower has no petals but offers four delicate creamy sepals along with a copious amount of stamens and carpels.
Most beauteous when its flowers assume
Their autumn form of feathery plume.
The Traveller's Joy! name well bestowed
On that wild plant, which by the road
Of Southern England, to adorn
Fails not the hedge of prickly thorn...
Even today in the English countryside, “The Traveller's Joy” rambles up hedgerows & trees, drapes down from branches and thorns to offer a profusion of fragrant white blossoms that transform into architectural wonders in fall & winter: feathery, silver ‘beards’ that flow from the seed pods. This is how Traveller's Joy ended up with so many common names, including “Old Man’s Beard.”
Folklore says that Traveller's Joy (Clematis virginiana) was sent by the devil to smother the earth's plants by trailing over them. Anyone who has grown this woody vine, a member of the buttercup family, knows this is one tough and persistent plant. Not surprisingly, it's considered an invasive plant in many parts of the world.
The poet A.E. Houseman wrote about the Traveller's Joy (Clematis virginiana) in his poem ‘Tell Me Not Here, It Needs Not Saying.’
Tell me not here; it needs not saying,
What tune the enchantress plays
In aftermaths of soft September
Or under blanching mays,
For she and I were long acquainted
And I knew all her ways.
On russet floors, by waters idle,
The pine lets fall its cone;
The cuckoo shouts all day at nothing
In leafy dells alone;
And Traveller's Joy beguiles in autumn
Hearts that have lost their own.
Some of the days in November carry the whole memory of summer as a fire opal carries the color of moonrise.
― Gladys Taber, American author and columnist, Stillmeadow Daybook
It was November — the month of crimson sunsets, parting birds, deep, sad hymns of the sea, passionate wind-songs in the pines. Anne roamed through the pineland alleys in the park and, as she said, let that great sweeping wind blow the fogs out of her soul.
― Lucy Maud Montgomery, Canadian writer and author of the Anne of Green Gables series, Anne of Green Gables
Grow That Garden Library
This book came out in 2014, and the subtitle is 100 Contemporary Designs.
In this book, Emma shares 100 gardens from the world over with this illustrated guide that reviews and explains each design element — from historical style to planting and landscape design.
“Readers are led through the details of each garden and provided with the tools needed to understand and replicate each exemplary design—whether the site is rural or urban, a backyard or a beach, in any climate, and on any budget. Each beautiful project photo is followed by a list of key concepts, numbered close-ups that highlight aspects of the design, and expert write-ups to explain how each element serves the garden as a whole.”
"A beautiful, engaging book that travels to the world's most interesting gardens to analyze why and how they are designed. This pick-and-mix book has the absorbing, time-warp quality of Pinterest. I finished reading about one garden and thought, I'll just quickly look at one more, but 20 minutes and several gardens later I was still there." —Gardens Illustrated.
This book is 400 pages of inspiring garden ideas. Emma’s book is an invaluable resource for any gardener or landscape designer.
Today’s Botanic Spark
November 2, 1962
On this day, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram shared a story out of London regarding the Bladderwort plant.
“Botanists and bird-watchers are fighting to save an acre of bladderwort plants threatened by plans for a new power station in Gloucestershire County ("Glost-uh-shur"). The bladderwort is a rare insect-eating plant with pretty yellow flowers. The Gloucestershire Trust for Nature Conservation is trying to persuade the state electricity board to shift the power station's location and leave the plants undisturbed. "You don't find much bladderwort about nowadays," said Robert George, the chairman of the Nature Trust. "It would be a pity to lose it.”
Bladderwort is remarkable. It's the world's fastest aquatic carnivorous plant. It can react to and capture its prey in less than 1/10,000th of a second. Bladderworts are suction feeders, and they use small, depressurized chambers that look like bladders to catch their prey. The bladders work thanks to a trap that is loaded with bristles. When a small aquatic creature touches the bristles, a trap door opens, and the prey is sucked inside the bladder where it is dissolved and digested by the plant.
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