Saturday, August 2, 2014

Great Blog to Know: BibliOdyssey

If you don't know this great blog you might want to is awesomely interesting and eclectic.  While plants won't show up every time there were so many fine books devoted to them over the centuries they are not uncommon as a feature. Besides, the other books are equally wonderful.  I love any of the natural history ones, plus most of the others :-)


Books~~Illustrations~~Science~~History~~Visual Materia Obscura~~Eclectic Bookart

This week their feature is: 

Swiss Fruit

This 1860s pomological manuscript documents
the varieties of pears (birensorte) and
apples (apfelsorte) unique to Switzerland

If you like it, you'll spend weeks checking out the archives :-)


Flower gardening is a pleasure without borders...
...and a pleasure with borders!

  • Title: 桜草 , Sakurasō
  • Title Translation: Primrose.
  • Creator(s): Kubo, Shunman, 1757-1820, artist
  • Library of Congress Collection

Friday, August 1, 2014

Hide and Seed :-)

This is sort of a "Where's Waldo" for horticultural history. Find the reason the postcard is included in this seed focused blog.

You need this  one enlarged so look at the second image for the seed reference.  


above:  Kelliher, Minnesota

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Cabbage...Nothing But Cabbage

I had to lead with this classic image!   When I was a little kid, I remember being told by my parents that I was found under a cabbage leaf.  It didn't seem likely.

Chinese Chihili Cabbage
 Early Flat Dutch

Varieties thought best in 1833 were Early Dwarf, Early York, Vanack, Battersea Early Imperial, and Red Dutch. Horticultural register, Volume 2     The same varieties were still recommended a decade later for cottage gardens. "With spring planted crops a mazagan bean may be sown alternately with every cabbage plant in the same row."  
Mazagan bean?  
What's that??

Large Late Flat Dutch



I am including  the following as I like knowing the names, and who sold them.  I find "Marblehead" a fun play on words.

I am an enthusiastic reader of the Patrick O'Brian series about the English navy in the times of the Napoleonic War.  Scurvy was always an issue, and in one book they were very happy to land on an island that had a type of wild cabbage.  

Here is an excerpt from the Mariner's Museum.
Life at Sea During the Age of Captain Cook
One of Cook’s most important discoveries during his voyages was actually about food. Cook realized that there were certain foods that, if eaten, prevented the disease called scurvy. Scurvy, we know today, is caused by a lack of vitamin C in the diet. Scurvy was common among sailors, because most vitamin C comes from fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables were very difficult to keep fresh during long sea voyages in the days before refrigeration. So, sailors before Cook’s time ate a diet that was mostly dried, hard bread known as hard tack, and dried, salted meat.
Cook took two major steps to change the diet of his crew. First, every time the ships stopped anywhere that grew fresh fruit and vegetables, he bought some to feed to the crew. However, because there were sometimes weeks between stops, and fruit and vegetables would rot in that time, he had to have another plan. He knew that sauerkraut, which is pickled cabbage, had been shown to prevent scurvy. Sauerkraut, because it is pickled, can be kept in jars, and will not go bad. Cook brought a lot of sauerkraut on his voyage – but the crew didn’t want to eat it at first.
Captain Cook played a very interesting trick on his crew. When he realized that the men were refusing to eat the sauerkraut, he took it away from them. He said only the officers could eat it, and only put it out on the officers’ tables. Telling the crew they couldn’t have it made them want it more – so they started eating it!
Cook’s crew was out to sea for a longer period of time than any sailors before them. And yet, not one of Cook’s sailors died of scurvy. This means that Cook proved that certain foods could prevent scurvy, and smart sea captains after him followed his example and took sauerkraut, fruit, and vegetables on their voyages.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Asparagus Ladies

Hmmm...the joy of gardening? 
I'm not going to comment further on this French postcard.

Monday, July 28, 2014

1899 Photo - Kindergartners in School Garden!

In 1899 or 1900, F.B. Johnston photographed this kindergarten class watering their school garden and using child sized tools. The little white pinafores and shiny child sized watering cans made this photo irresistible!

Library of Congress image

Sunday, July 27, 2014

1919 - United States School Garden Army!

 "A garden for every child, every child in a garden." 

That was the motto of the United States School Garden Army.

Link: Full history with tons of citations - by Rose Hayden-Smith, 4-H Youth Development and
Master Gardener Advisor, UCCE-Ventura County

Look at their beribboned pins in this detail from the 1919 President Hoover era poster below.  Nice!   But the badge material was an illusion I found when I went looking for one.  They are hard to find because they were very fragile, made from thin celluloid, and given to children!