Today we celebrate the first woman to receive a Bachelor of Science in Forestry.
We'll also remember the Academy Award-winning actress who narrated a 1990’s PBS series called Gardens of the World.
We hear a sweet little garden poem that celebrates spring.
We Grow That Garden Library™ with a fantastic book about gardening in the shade and the best plants for shade.
And then we’ll wrap things up with an excerpt about this day 142 years ago - from the garden writer Henry Arthur Bright.
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May 4, 1893
Today is the birthday of New Zealand forester and botanist Mary Sutherland.
In 1916, Mary graduated from Bangor University in Wales with a Bachelor of Science in Forestry. She was the first female to become a degreed forestry professional in the world.
Mary also became known in New Zealand as the first female forester when she was hired in 1923. It was a position she held for twelve years.
Today, in one of the forests, she called her office, there is a memorial redwood designated with a plaque to honor Mary Sutherland.
By the 1930s, Mary was working as a botanist for the forest service - and she was a pretty talented artist as well. Her drawing of a sprig from the rimu (“ree-moo”) tree bearing ripe fruit became the official seal of the forestry service.
Today more women than ever are entering the world of forestry, and the Mary Sutherland Award is given to the top female forestry student in their final year of schooling.
May 4, 1929
Today is the birthday of Academy Award-winning actress and gardener Audrey Hepburn.
The Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) star appeared with Penelope Hobhouse and Graham Stuart Thomas on the 1991 PBS special "Gardens of the World." The series featured sixty gardens over eight episodes. They included Monet's garden at Giverny, the Villa Gamberaia (“Vee-la Gahm-bur-eye-ah”) in Florence, the old rose garden at Graham Stuart Thomas' garden at Mottisfont Abbey, the Roseraie de L'Haÿ (“rose-uh-ray du lay-ee”) south of Paris, Saiho-ji (“Sy-ho-jee”) - the famed "Moss Temple" garden - in Kyoto, and Hidcote Manor (“hid-cut”) in Gloucestershire, England.
Additionally, Audrey wrote the forward to a companion coffee table book also called Gardens of the World by Penelope Hobhouse and Elvin McDonald, the volunteer director of special projects for the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
In the forward, Audrey wrote,
“We all have within us a need to create beauty. And we all can - in a garden, however small. Perhaps - if we now take a closer look at our gardens, we will, at last, awaken to the fragility of our beautiful planet and better understand our lovely earth."
In 1991, the Spring Hill nursery in Peoria, Illinois, created a rose variety named for Audrey Hepburn. The Audrey Hepburn rose was marketed as an exceptionally vigorous rose, with highly fragrant 4-inch apple-blossom pink flowers. It was featured on display at the Brooklyn (N.Y.) Botanical Gardens and was available for mail-order purchase exclusively through Spring Hill Nurseries.
And here’s a little-known fact about Audrey Hepburn: one of the most beloved quotes about gardening is attributed to Audrey Hepburn, whose 92nd birthday would have been today.
“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”
A poor old Widow in her weeds
Sowed her garden with wild-flower seeds;
Not too shallow, and not too deep,
And down came April -- drip -- drip -- drip.
Up shone May, like gold, and soon
Green as an arbour grew leafy June.
And now all summer she sits and sews
Where willow herb, comfrey, bugloss (“byew-gloss”) blows,
Teasle and pansy, meadowsweet,
Campion, toadflax, and rough hawksbit;
Brown bee orchis, and Peals of Bells;
Clover, burnet, and thyme she smells;
Like Oberon's meadows her garden is
Drowsy from dawn to dusk with bees.
Weeps she never, but sometimes sighs,
And peeps at her garden with bright brown eyes;
And all she has is all she needs --
A poor Old Widow in her weeds.
― Walter de la Mare, English poet, short story writer, and novelist, Peacock Pie
Grow That Garden Library
This book came out in 2005, and the subtitle is How to Plan, Plant, and Grow a Fabulous Garden that Lightens up the Shadows.
In this book, Larry features nearly 300 perennials, annuals, bulbs, ferns, ornamental grasses, and climbing plants that thrive in the shade.
Shaded gardens are cool places that offer tranquility and a space for contemplation—Larry shares how to create a sense of lushness and vibrancy in areas with little or no sun.
The first half of the book covers how to plan, plant, and grow in the shade. The back half of the book offers an encyclopedia of the best plants to grow in the shade.
This book is 416 pages of shade garden mastery - from design and care to top plant profiles.
Today’s Botanic Spark
Reviving the little botanic spark in your heart
May 4, 1879
On this day Henry Arthur Bright recorded inA Year in a Lancashire Garden:
“May set in this year with (as Horace Walpole somewhere says)
‘its usual severity.’ We felt it all the more after the soft, warm summer
weather we had experienced in April. The Lilac, which is only due with
us on the 1st of May, was this year in flower on the 28th of April. Green Gooseberry tarts, which farther south are considered a May-day dish, we hardly hope to see in this colder latitude for ten days later, and now these cold east winds will throw back everything.
No season is like "Lilac-tide," as it has been quaintly called, in this respect. Besides the Lilac itself, there are the long plumes of the white Broom, the brilliant scarlet of the hybrid Rhododendrons, the delicious blossoms, both pink and yellow, of the Azaleas, the golden showers of the Laburnum, and others too numerous to mention. A Judas-tree at an angle of the house is in bud. The Général Jacqueminot between the vineries has given us a Rose already.
The foliage of the large forest trees is particularly fine this year. The Horse Chestnuts were the first in leaf, and each branch is now holding up its light of waxen blossom. The Elms came next, the Limes, the Beeches, and then the Oaks. Yet still ‘the tender Ash delays To clothe herself when all the woods are green,’ and is all bare as in mid-winter. This, however, if the adage about the Oak and the Ash be true, should be prophetic of a fine hot summer.”
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