Today we celebrate an herbalist who kept a remarkable journal.
We'll also learn about the German botanist who founded the study of algae.
We’ll review the charming words of an American writer and poet born today.
We Grow That Garden Library™ with a helpful guide for trees, shrubs, and hedges.
And then we’ll wrap things up with the life story of an icon of Canadian literature, beloved worldwide, and she loved to garden.
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November 30, 1791
On this day, Martha Ballard recorded her work as an herbalist and midwife.
For 27 years, Martha kept a journal of her work as the town healer and midwife for Hallowell, Maine. In all, Martha assisted with 816 births.
Today, Martha’s marvelous journal gives us a glimpse into the plants she regularly used and how she applied them medicinally. As for how Martha sourced her plants, she raised them in her garden or foraged them in the wild. As the village apothecary, Martha found her own ingredients and personally made all of her herbal remedies.
And so it was that 229 years ago today, Martha recorded her work to help her sick daughter. She wrote:
"My daughter Hannah is very unwell this evening. I gave her some Chamomile & Camphor.”
Today we know that Chamomile has a calming effect, and Camphor can help treat skin conditions, improve respiratory function, and relieve pain.
November 30, 1823
Today is the birthday of the German botanist Nathanael Pringsheim.
Nathanael was a founder of algology or the study of algae. Nathanael’s work led to an understanding of how algae and fungi live, develop, and reproduce. In 1882, Nathanael founded the German Botanical Society.
November 30, 1835
Today is the birthday of the American writer and humorist Samuel Langhorne Clemens, known by his pen name Mark Twain.
Samuel used the garden and garden imagery to convey his wit and satire. In 1874, Samuel’s sister, Susan, and her husband built an octagonal shed for him to write in. They surprised him with it when Samuel visited their farm in upstate New York. The garden shed was perfectly situated on a hilltop overlooking the Chemung (“Sha-mung”) River Valley.
As was the case with Roald Dahl, the shed was not only a spur for creativity, but it removed Samuel from the main home. Like Roald Dahl, Samuel smoked as he wrote, and his sister despised his incessant pipe smoking.
In this little octagonal garden/writing shed, Samuel wrote significant sections of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Life on the Mississippi, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, The Prince and the Pauper, A Tramp Abroad, and many other short works.
And, in 1952, Samuel’s Octagonal Shed was relocated to the Elmira College (“El-MEER-ah”) campus in Elmira, New York. Today, people can visit the garden shed with student guides daily throughout the summer and by appointment in the off-season.
Here are some garden-related thoughts by Samuel Langhorne Clemens, aka Mark Twain.
Climate is what we expect; weather is what we get.
— Mark Twain, American humorist and novelist, Climate
It was a soft, reposeful summer landscape, as lovely as a dream, and as lonesome as Sunday.
— Mark Twain, American humorist and novelist, The Summer Landscape
To get the full value of joy
You must have someone to divide it with.
After all these years, I see that I was mistaken about Eve
in the beginning; it is better to live outside the Garden
with her than inside it without her.
— Mark Twain, American humorist and novelist, Eve
November 30, 1838
Today is the birthday of the American writer and poet Charlotte Fiske Bates.
Many of her poems were about gardens or incorporated garden imagery.
Although the heart is very sore from loss,
Yet there are healing powers;
It eases much the burden of a cross
To cover it with flowers.
Faith, hope, and love -the blossoms of the three
Help heal the hurt of our humanity.
— Charlotte Fiske Bates, American writer and poet, The Healing Powers of Flowers
Of those that make our honey, it is known
That feared and beaten back, they turn and sting.
While, fearlessly, if they are let alone,
In time they fly away on harmless wing.
And so suspicions buzz like angry bees:
Do they torment you with their threatened stings?
Oh! Let them buzz as near you as they please;
Keep quiet. They, as well as bees, have wings.
— Charlotte Fiske Bates, American writer, and poet, Suspicions
As dyed in blood, the streaming vines appear,
While long and low, the wind about them grieves.
The heart of autumn must have broken here
And poured its treasure out upon the leaves.
— Charlotte Fiske Bates, American writer, and poet, Woodbines in October (Clematis virginiana) and similar to the Sweet Autumn Clematis
Grow That Garden Library
This book came out in 2010, and the subtitle is Secrets for Selection and Care (Creative Homeowner) Over 1,000 Plant Descriptions and 550 Photos to Help You Design Your Landscape and Enhance Your Outdoor Space.
As we get older, it’s best to transition to more trees, shrubs, and hedges in the garden for overall less maintenance, worry, and hassle.
In this book, you will learn how to:
- Landscape with trees, shrubs, and hedges for four-season interest, color, and beauty.
- Select plants to improve your property's appearance and value
- Create a harmonious design, keeping in mind color, scale, and texture.
- Save money by selecting the best cultivars.
- Improve your soil and success rate while planting and transplanting with confidence
- Prune and care for your plants for extended beauty and life
Trees, shrubs, and hedges are the "bones" of the garden, and designing with them is a skill that can be learned.
This book is a whopping 550 pages, complete with loads of color photos and illustrations of everything you need to design a beautiful landscape with Trees, Shrubs & Hedges for Your Home.
Today’s Botanic Spark
Reviving the little botanic spark in your heart
November 30, 1874
Today is the birthday of the Canadian writer and author of the Anne of Green Gables series Lucy Maud Montgomery.
Lucy was born on Prince Edward Island, and she was almost two years old when her mother died. Like her character Ann of Green Gables, Lucy had an unconventional upbringing when her father left her to be raised by her grandparents.
Despite being a Canadian literary icon and loved worldwide, Lucy’s personal life was marred by loneliness, death, and depression. Historians now believe she may have ended her own life.
Yet we know that flowers and gardening were a balm to Lucy. She grew lettuce, peas, carrots, radish, and herbs in her kitchen garden. And Lucy had a habit of going to the garden after finishing her writing and her chores about the house. Today in Norval, a place Lucy lived in her adult life, the Lucy Maud Montgomery Sensory Garden is located next to the public school. The Landscape Architect, Eileen Foley, created the garden, which features an analemmatic or horizontal sundial, a butterfly and bird garden, a children's vegetable garden, a log bridge, and a woodland trail.
It was Lucy Maud Montgomery, who wrote,
“I love my garden, and I love working in it. To potter with green growing things, watching each day to see the dear, new sprouts come up, is like taking a hand in creation, I think. Just now, my garden is like faith - the substance of things hoped for.”
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