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May 29, 2019 Sun Traps, John Barrymore, Joyce Winifred Vickery, Alfonsina Storni, Mirabel Osler, Succession Seed Annual Flowers, and the Wed

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station description a podcast about gardening, botanical history, and garden literature
‎The Daily Gardener
Duration: 09:58
Do you have a little sun trap in your garden? The perfect spot for an afternoon of lounging while reading your favorite book? The definition of the sun trap is a small partially-enclosed outdoor space that receives a disproportionate amount of sunlight due to favorable conditions. Think of south-fac
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Do you have a little sun trap in your garden? The perfect spot for an afternoon of lounging while reading your favorite book? The definition of the sun trap is a small partially-enclosed outdoor space that receives a disproportionate amount of sunlight due to favorable conditions. Think of south-facing areas of your garden, areas without light-blocking trees, areas that are sheltered from the wind, and positioned to receive ample sunshine.   Brevities #OTD On this day, on May 29, 1942, the actor John Barrymore died. (Barrymore's granddaughter is actress Drew Barrymore.) When Barrymore was 35 years old and on the verge of stardom, he rented a quiet space in the Greenwich Village from a wealthy widow named Juliette Nicholls. His flat was on the top floor of a Greek revival townhouse. When Nicholls left for a while to go to Europe, Barrymore wrote to her to ask if he could take some liberties with the roof. In his letter he said, “I’d like to build a little stairway to it and place a few plants there, with perhaps a small pavilion in which I could sit when the locust blossoms come to the courtyard ... It would be like living in Paris in the twelfth century.” When he hired a contractor to do the work, Barrymore insisted that no measuring tools be used. He said, “I want everything crooked or off-center, like a Nuremberg poet’s home. Just guess your way along, old, man, as we all do about most things.” He called the little shed with the porch, "New York's First Penthouse," and it still stands today. He decided to add a full garden to the rooftop. He hauled up over 35 tons of long island topsoil In burlap bags no less. Then, he went to work, adding 8-foot Cedars, Cherry trees, and Wisteria's - not to mention the beehives. There was a flagstone path and hedges around the perimeter of the roof. When Nicholls returned from her trip, you can imagine her surprise at finding John Barrymore lounging in his rooftop garden; sitting serenely by an Asian reflecting pool.... feeding the birds.   #OTD It's the death day of Joyce Winifred Vickery (15 December 1908 – 29 May 1979) An Australian, Vickery was a botanist who became famous for her work in forensic botany. In 1960, Australia was right in the middle of building the infamous Sydney Opera House. To pay for the construction, Australia held a lottery. Bazil Thorne spent 3 pounds - a quarter of his paycheck - and purchased a winning ticket; he won 100,000 pounds. Tragically, after his win, his eight-year-old son Graeme was kidnapped and brutally murdered - a crime that stunned the country. Ultimately, botanist Joyce Vickery helped police solve the Graeme Thorn kidnapping. She had been tasked with identifying two plant particles from the boy's clothing. Vickery recognized them as pieces from common garden plants and not plants that were not found in the area of scrub where his body had been found. Apart from the Graeme Thorn case, Vickery had "accumulated an unrivaled field knowledge of grass species.   Unearthed Words Here's a poem called I am going to sleep by Latin American poet and feminist Alfonsina Storni, born today in 1892. Storni was known as one of Argentina's most respected poets. In 1916, she titled her first series of essays, The Restlessness of the Rosebush. In 1935, Alfonsina was vacationing in Uruguay when she discovered a lump in her left breast. Following a mastectomy, Storni resumed her work with renewed energy and determination. But by 1938, Storni confided in her closest friends that her cancer has returned. Storni sent I am going to sleep, her poignant final poem which she sent to the La Nación newspaper before drowning herself in the sea in 1938.   I am Going to Sleep Teeth of flowers, hairnet of dew, hands of herbs, you, perfect wet nurse, prepare the earthly sheets for me and the down quilt of weeded moss. I am going to sleep, my nurse, put me to bed. Set a lamp at my headboard; a constellation; whatever you like; all are good: lower it a bit. Leave me alone: you hear the buds breaking through . . . a celestial foot rocks you from above and a bird traces a pattern for you so you'll forget . . . Thank you. Oh, one request: if he telephones again tell him not to keep trying for I have left . . .   Today's book recommendation: A Gentle Plea for Chaos by Mirabel Osler When Penelope Hob
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