January 24, 2020 Ruskin Elwood by Fieldwork, Feeding the Birds in Winter, Peter Collinson, Ferdinand Cohn, Wardian Cases, Edith Wharton, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Lab Girl by Hope Jahren, Wireless Earbuds, and Ben Lampman’s Ode to Skunk Cabbage


Manage episode 251351120 series 2576332
By Jennifer Ebeling. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Today we celebrate a man who was an avid gardener and a friend of John Bartram's, and we learn about the founder of bacteriology and modern microbiology. We'll learn about The impact of Wardian Cases on plant exploration and the American playwright who designed her own garden on her estate. Today’s Unearthed Words feature winter poems from the author of Anne of Green Gables. We Grow That Garden Library™ with a memoir from a modern scientist whose unique commentary on the natural world challenges our thinking, our responsibilities, and our actions. I'll talk about new tech to help you listen to podcasts - no matter where you are, and then we’ll wrap things up with a moving editorial about Skunkweed. But first, let's catch up on a few recent events. Subscribe Apple | Google | Spotify | Stitcher | iHeart Curated Articles Ruskin Elwood by Fieldwork | HomeAdore You guys - this is still quite the house. Aside from the seamlessness with nature - check out the hidden bar, the light fixtures, the bathroom - basically all of it! This original three-story residence designed in 2017 by Fieldwork is situated in Melbourne, Australia. Feed birds in winter: best food to choose - The English Garden What should you feed birds in winter? Now is the time of year when gardeners can expect to see lots of visiting birds in their gardens. Great post from @tegmagazine Kate Bradbury: "Birds need fat, and plenty of it: peanuts, suet, and sunflower seeds are ideal, while grated cheese, chopped apples, and cake-crumbs help ground-feeding species such as the song thrush and wren." Now, if you'd like to check out these curated articles for yourself, you're in luck, because I share all of it with the Listener Community in the Free Facebook Group - The Daily Gardener Community. There’s no need to take notes or search for links - the next time you're on Facebook, search for Daily Gardener Community and request to join. I'd love to meet you in the group. Important Events 1735Today Peter Collinson wrote to John Bartram after receiving Skunk Weed (Symplocarpus foetidus). My good friend, John Bartram: I am very sensible of the great pains and many toilsome steps [you took] to collect so many rare plants scattered at a distance. I shall not soon forget it; ...in some measure to show my gratitude… I have sent thee a small token: a calico gown for thy wife and some odd little things that may be of use amongst the children and family. They come in a box of books… with …. waste paper which will serve to wrap up seeds, etc [You cannot believe] how well the little case of plants survived the [journey], being put under the captain's bed, and not [exposed to any] light [until I received them]. The warmth of the ship [caused] the Skunk-weed to put forth two fine blossoms - very beautiful - it is of the Arum genus. As I hope to make a present of part of the seeds, to a very curious person, Lord Petre, I hope to procure thee some present for thy trouble of collecting. I am thy very sincere friend, P. Collinson. Skunk Weed was one of Bartram’s favorite flowers. It is also known as Eastern Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus), and it’s a low growing wetland or marsh plant from eastern North America. The bruised leaves of Skunk Weed release a fragrance reminiscent of Skunk. The botanist William Niering wrote about the odor of Skunk Cabbage in the National Audubon Society's Field Guide to North American Wildflowers: "It's strong, and fetid odor resembles decaying flesh." Skunk Cabbages are thermogenic, meaning they have the ability to generate temperatures up to 15–35 °C (27–63 °F) above the surrounding air temp so that it thaws the frozen ground and snow as it grows in the early spring. Thanks to its ability to thermoregulate, Skunk Cabbage emerges out of the earth and looks like a little teepee of leaves. Inside that teepee, the Skunk Cabbage is warm and working on sending up a bloom. Once it does - on a 42-degree day - you can reach under the hood of a Skunk Cabbage flower, and the spadix will feel warm to the touch. As Collinson mentioned in his letter, the Skunk Cabbage is a member of the Arum family, which makes it a cousin to Jack-in-the-pulpit. In the Pacific Northwest, Skunk Cabbage leaves are still called "Indian wax paper," because the leaves were used to line baskets. And, the leaves were used in steaming pits and in food preservation. In the great Japanese bogs of Hokkaido, 10,000 visitors a day stop to see the emerging Skunk Cabbage in bloom. The visit is a traditional celebration of spring. 1828 Today is the birthday of the Prussian biologist, botanist, and writer Ferdinand Cohn. Regarded as one of the founders of bacteriology and modern microbiology, Ferdinand recognized bacteria as plants. Thanks to Ferdinand, we understand the life cycles of bacteria as well as their metabolic limitations. And, we learned that microbes could be classified by their shape (round, short rods, threads, and spirals). 1842 Today the botanist John Smith wrote a letter to Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward. Royal Botanic Garden, Kew, January 24, 1842. Dear Sir, In reply to your inquiry [regarding] the ... results obtained by [using] close-glazed cases for the transfer of living plants from one country to another, I beg to say that the several cases which have arrived… have shown that although all [some of the] plants [did not make it], still, the deaths are … few in proportion to the number that we have witnessed in cases having open lattice or wire-work lids, covered with tarpaulin (“tar-PALL-in”) or some such covering. It is much to be regretted that close-glazed cases were not in use during the years ... botanical collectors were employed in New Holland and the Cape of Good Hope. For this garden: a very great number of the plants which they sent home were … dead on their arrival, [as a result of] the imperfect protection during the voyage to this country; therefore, from my experience, I have no hesitation in considering your [cases] the best for the purpose desired. I am, Sir, Your's truly, J. SMITH. For plant explorers, Wardian cases made all the difference. 1862 Today is the birthday of the American novelist, short story writer, playwright, and designer Edith Wharton. In 1904, Edith wrote Italian Villas and Their Gardens. Edith thought gardens should be a series of outdoor rooms and she wrote, “…In the blending of different elements, the subtle transition from the fixed and formal lines of art to the shifting and irregular lines of nature, and lastly, in the essential convenience and livableness of the garden, lies the fundamental secret of the old garden-magic…” Edith’s summer cottage estate in Western Massachusetts was called The Mount. From The Mount, Edith could look down over her property and see her flower gardens. She designed the gardens herself. There’s a sizeable French flower garden, a sunken Italien Garden, a Lime Walk with Linden trees, and even grass steps. Edith’s niece was the garden designer Beatrix Jones Farrand. Unearthed Words

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