Mother Rose

A friend gave me the book, "A Walk Through My Garden" edited by Whitney Scott. I was looking for my Mother and came upon a poem, "Roses for My Mother," by Evewlyn Lewis-Chase. Her endearing poem promoted my musing and picture ... Mothers of Roses Bring Beauty Bring Sorrow Mothers of Roses Make Gardeners of Men When Gone Their Beauty Their Petals do lie Under the vegetables The sky shines by.


“The Garden Diary of Martha Turnbull, Mistress of Rosedown Plantation,” Edited and Annotated by Suzanne Turner

Rosedown Plantation, Image Courtesy of Louisiana State Parks/DCRT
Rosedown Plantation, Image Courtesy of Louisiana State Parks/DCRT
Magnolia is the quarterly publication of the Southern Garden History Society.  You can access it online at  Peter Hatch’s review of the book “The Garden Diary of Martha Turnbull, Mistress of Rosedown Plantation” edited and annotated by Suzanne Turner appears under the Resources section, Book Reviews. “Rosedown today,” explains Peter Hatch, Director of Gardens and Grounds at Monticello, “represents the iconic Louisiana Plantation with its Greek Revival Architecture, live oak avenue and parterre gardens.”  The plantation of 3,455 acres with hundreds of slaves was acquired in 1834 by Martha and Daniel Turnball.  Mr. Hatch notes that Martha as a Philadelphian would be well versed in horticulture.  She put that knowledge to good use in growing vegetables and fruit at Rosedown. Suzanne Turner’s book is a compilation of  Martha Turnball’s garden diaries both before the Civil War and after she returned to her ravaged home. Martha was indefatigable.  Near penniless and widowed after the war she eked out a living with a “truck patch”.  Her diaries as noted by Mr. Hatch depict a woman without yesteryear’s means taking “three trips to St. Francisville (to sell her produce which) yielded a paltry $4.40.”  Author Suzanne Turner shows the love Martha had for her garden. "One marvels at both Turnbull's unrelenting persistence and the life-confirming comfort she found in the gardening process," Ms. Turner writes. Martha's garden knowledge was vast.  Garden diaries' entries include how to scrape moss from a tree, how to graft the Southern camellias and how to plant onions with roses. Mr. Hatch says, “Hats off to Suzanne Turner for unveiling a neglected part of our garden history “  .... a garden created by a Southern American 19th Century woman.

Landscape Design Exam, Who is Frederick Law Olmsted

Green Space in Central Park, New York, credit: CarlisleFlowers
Green Space in Central Park, New York, credit: CarlisleFlowers
Students, your take-home exam, the final for this semester is as follows:  write a five page paper on the best landscape architect there ever was in the United States.    In my unbiased view, the answer is Frederick Law Olmsted.  Your assignment is to explain how his manipulation of nature was for the good of mankind. What did Olmsted train the eye to do?  When he created a park, what components did he incorporate into the design?  How did Olmsted use water in his designs?  How did he make his landscape seem naturalistic?  Lastly, why was a patch of green so important to him? Cite examples and of course add references. Are there any questions?  Show up tomorrow and we'll see the specatular landscape designs of Central Park in Manhattan and Prospect Park in Brooklyn, New York, Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and his last commission, The Biltmore in Asheville, North Carolina. Your assignment must conclude with why Frederick Law Olmsted, in your opinion, was America's greatest landscape architect.  And for that answer, you must keep reading!
Bethesda Fountain, Central Park, NY, credit: CarlisleFlowers
Bethesda Fountain, Central Park, Manhattan, NY, credit: CarlisleFlowers

Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring”

A Tributary to the Chesapeake Bay, Eastern Shore, MD
A Tributary to the Chesapeake Bay, Eastern Shore, MD Courtesy: CarlisleFlowers
Rachel Carson was a biologist and editor on the staff of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from 1936 to 1952.  She is the author of "Under the Sea-Wind" (1941) and "The Sea Around Us," (1951).  In 1962, "The Silent Spring" appeared.  Ms. Carson quotes E.B. White in the preface of Silent Spring: "I am pessimistic about the human race because it is too ingenious for its own good.  One approach to nature is to beat it into submission.  We would stand a better chance of survival if we accommodated ourselves to this planet and viewed it appreciatively instead of skeptically and dictatorially."
In "Silent Spring" Ms. Carson writes that the New York Times issued a warning in its garden section of the newspaper alerting those who use chemicals in their gardens to use protective devices.  She alludes to the lack of such devices, and decries the scarcity of such warnings.  Fifty-one years ago this best selling author wonders why our waters are so polluted.
The Chesapeake Bay is our country's largest estuary and has six states in its watershed.  This week it was given a D+ for its water quality.  Two of the largest contributors to the Bay's quality is run-off and fertilization of lawns.  The mix of nitrogen and phosphorous lead to the algae plumes which take away the oxygen necessary for under water growth.  We are not pessimistic nor dictatorial except when it comes to what we can put on our table to eat.  We just bought rockfish for dinner tonight caught in the Chesapeake Bay.  We've had soft-shell crabs from the Bay, some of the best we've ever had for the past two weekends and then went back for more.  The word is out that this year's crab season is going to be good.  We hate to think what chemicals are in us and how them might have been caught from the Chesapeake Bay.  Last year only once and for the first time did we use a systemic mix to kill our weeds in the garden.  And while the weeds have not returned, others have taken their place.  We look at that patch of earth and wonder how the worms are fairing which might have touched the weed that ate the chemicals, that soaked through the gloves, that touched my hands, that live in the garden that we built.
"Silent Spring" by Rachel Carson, Houghton Mifflin Company Boston, The Riverside Press Cambridge, 1961

Sydney Lanier’s Sculpture by Hans Schuler in Baltimore

Sidney Lanier, Poet
Sidney Lanier, Poet and Musician
Cindy Kelly, author of Outdoor Sculpture in Baltimore, A Historical Guide to Public Art in the Monumental City, led us on a tour of monuments located near Johns Hopkins University campus.  This monument of Sidney Lanier was completed in 1941 by sculptor, Hans Schuler of Baltimore.  Lanier was a musician and poet, originally from Georgia.  He is known for his Centennial Poem and Cantata which he wrote for the 100th Anniversary of the U.S.  The relief, on the Johns Hopkins University's Homewood campus, honors the Georgia born poet and musician.  The statue by sculptor Hans Schuler was completed in 1941.  Lanier sits on a boulder with pad and pencil, the background showing a rising sun and the muses of poetry and music.

Boxwood History, Growth and Historic Plantings

Morrison Garden, Courtesy U.S. National Arboretum website
Morrison Garden, Courtesy U.S. National Arboretum website
The second issue of, a companion site to and a multi-media venue for "green" educational subjects, published yesterday. We invite you to visit the gardens of Stratford Hall, the home of General Robert E. Lee, Colonial Williamsburg, the College of William and Mary, Hills & Dales in Georgia, and a famous topiary garden in the U.K.  Five podcasts from the "doyenne" of boxwood talk about the different cultivars of box, the easy growth in the right conditions, and the pathogen which attacks boxwood. Emphasis is also placed on the U.S. National Arboretum's collection of boxwood and its curator, Lynn Batdorf who is also the International Registrar for Boxwood. Each month audio and visual ways are used to spotlight our topic.  Next month we will concentrate on the beautiful spring shrub, azalea.  Thank you for reading and listening in.