10 Things I Learned Today

1 – The end of the glass tax in England helped spur the greenhouse movement.

2 – The first written account of composting appears on clay tablets around 2300 BC.

3 – Charcoal briquettes are linked to Henry Ford and the wood used to build Model Ts.

4 – The first scarecrows were people.

5 – Railroad Garden. It’s a real thing. There’s one at the Chicago Botanic Garden that I might just have to see for myself.

6 – Bottle trees – colored bottles placed on the ends of leafless tree branches – came to the American South with the slaves from the African kingdom of Kongo.

7 – A ha-ha is the original invisible fence.

8 – A greenhouse was discovered at Pompeii.

9 – The United States Botanic Garden was founded in 1850 and has been in continuous operation since.

10 – It is believed that Columbus is the first European to see a hammock, which he encountered in the Bahamas and brought back to Spain.

Who knew that gardening would give me such a glimpse of history? I’m not really a history buff. However, I do like knowing little obscure tidbits of information. To me, it just makes life more interesting.

A Garden Miscellany

Today I had the opportunity to review an upcoming book by Suzanne Staubach entitled A Garden Miscellany. It’s ‘an illustrated guide to the elements of the garden.’ Since I’m all about creating my own little garden escape, I thought it might be a fruitful read. Again I find that there is never enough time, energy or money to incorporate all the ideas running through my mind. I’m still dreaming of a greenhouse, but now I think a summerhouse would also be fantastic. And I need a scarecrow. And I’ve yet to paint that birdbath. And a little lighting would be nice. And my paths always need work. Whew! See what I mean?!

I will note that I have devoted most of my resources this spring into adding decorative elements to my garden. Staubach quotes garden historian George Plumptre by stating “Ornament has elevated the garden from being a place of production to a place of pleasure.” I think that describes my goal perfectly. My garden is bringing me so much pleasure! I promise to share photos soon.

5 thoughts on “10 Things I Learned Today

    1. Tony, I feel like you know a lot of things about gardening – so if three of my ten items are new to you, I think you might find lots of neat information in this book! According to Staubach, Henry Ford wanted to find a use for the wood waste created when building the Model T. Edward G Kingsford was supplying the timber. Orin Stafford was the chemist who invented the briquette. Thomas Edison designed the factory that produced the charcoal. It says that Ford began selling charcoal briquets and grills in his car dealerships! I didn’t know any of this. Do you have any details to add?

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      1. At a time when families were encouraged to use their personal cars as vehicles for quick family outings, each new Ford sedan came with a bag of briquets for campfires and such. The first of the briquets were made from the shavings of hardwood from the spokes of the wheels, so were made from a by-product of the manufacture of the cars rather than from fresh lumber. After a few years, the spokes were obviously not made of hardwood.

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  1. Do you mean that people had to stand in a field or garden and be a scarecrow, Patch? (Number 4). A fascinating group of facts…looks like a book worth purchasing.

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    1. Yes! According to this book, being a scarecrow was an actual job during the Middle Ages. “Usually boys, but also men, or old men who could no longer do heavy work like plowing, would spend all day watching for crows and shout and shoo them away ….. As late as the twentieth century, human scarecrows performed this duty in rural and ecologically sensitive regions of England.”

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