Jeanne Baret

Jeanne Baret (1740-1807)

“Without casting any aspersions on the naturalist for having retained her for such an arduous voyage, I want to give her all the credit for her bravery, a far cry from the gentle pastimes afforded her sex. She dared confront the stress, the dangers, and everything that happened one could realistically expect on such a voyage. Her adventure should, I think, be included in a history of famous women.” How does a young woman of about 24 years of age end up as a botanist’s aide on a French naval ship in 1766? During the voyage Jeanne sees a world that no peasant girl would ever think to imagine filled with wondrous lands,fascinating marine animals and unknown plants that she…

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Mary Hellen Adams

Daughter-in-Law of John Quincy and Louisa Adams First Lady Louisa Johnson Adams, wife of sixth United States President John Quincy Adams, invited her niece Mary Catherine Hellen to live with her family at the White House after the death of her father. The shameless young hussy proceeded to seduce all three Adams boys before settling on their middle son John Adams II, whom she married at the White House February 25, 1828. Smith-Adams Curse Today alcoholism is recognized as a disease that can be inherited. The families of the second U.S. president and First Lady Abigail Adams were greatly affected by that affliction. William Smith was Abigail’s only brother. By the time he was thirty, William had become a heavy…

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Josenphine

Josephine and her rose garden

Josephine Bonaparte  (1763-1814) was born Marie Josephe Rose Tascher de La Pagerie. She was born to a wealthy white family that owned a sugar plantation in Martinique.  After hurricanes destroyed their estate the family looked to improve their finances and Josephine was married in 1779 to Alexandre de Beauharnais, himself from a wealthy aristocratic family. They had two children, a son  Eugene and a daughter Hortense.  In 1794 during the Reign of Terror both Alexandre and Josephine were arrested as aristocratic suspects. Alexandre was sentenced to death in July while Josephine remained imprisoned until her release 5 days later. Then in 1796 she met Napoleon Bonaparte who would marry her on March 9, 1796. Their life together was difficult at…

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EURASIA

Why did gardens evolve from East to West?

In all my garden research thus far, I have often wondered why there is so much information on gardens in Europe, the Middle East, China and Japan and seemingly less so or else very hard to find in other countries such as South America. These other civilizations survived for millennia and yet it is only with their colonization that there is the mention of gardens.  I realize that most likely all civilizations had gardens in some form or another, and if that is so, the information was never written or passed down or perhaps it was destroyed by its conquerors. However, for me, the question is still pertinent.  Why did the evolution of the garden form move east to west,…

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Camellia sinensis

Tea Gardens – a not so romantic story

Tea estates or plantations have been known by another name for hundreds if not thousands of years as Tea Gardens. Imagine if you will rows of lush greenery rolling along the hillsides of mountains perhaps with a cool mist in the air due to the elevation. This lovely picture you have conjured is found in only certain countries in the world. The countries where the best tea is grown are in China, Japan, Taiwan (Formosa), and Sri Lanka (Ceylon). It has to do with their geography. Tea grows best in mountainous areas of elevations up to 6,000 feet, where there is a wet yet temperate climate, warm sunny days, and cool breezy nights. It is under these conditions that the…

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Sarah Elizabeth Doyle

Sarah Elizabeth Doyle

Pioneer in Women’s Education A thirty-six-year-old Rhode Island high school teacher and principal, Sarah Elizabeth Doyle was a founder of the coeducational Rhode Island School of Design (1877). In the mid-1890s, she became a leader of the Rhode Island Society for the Collegiate Education of Women, which sponsored the establishment of The Women’s College at Brown University. This feminist and education reformer also ardently supported women’s suffrage. Early Years Sarah Elizabeth Doyle entered Providence High School during its initial enrollment in 1843. One of seven siblings, she completed her formal education in 1846 when she graduated from that school, and she dedicated the rest of her life to the advancement of higher education for women. A Life in Teaching Doyle…

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Flora

Flora, Goddess of Flowers

OK, so she is not a real person but Flora certainly had an influence in early Greek and Roman societies and later in the art world. But already I must partially retract the words that Flora was not a real person, because there seems to be some disagreement on this point. The Romans said that Flora was a woman of pleasure, wealthy due to her trade, and left her wealth to the Roman senate on the proviso that the money was used to celebrate her birthday. The seemingly embarrassed senators agreed to this donation (could it be because they were clients?), gave Flora the title of goddess and thereafter held the Floralia on her birthday. True or not it makes…

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American Women Abolitionists: Freedom Fighters II

1838 Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women By Thursday, May 17, 1838 the mob that had gathered outside Pennsylvania Hall in Philadelphia to disrupt the Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women had become louder and more threatening – encouraged by the city’s policemen who stood by and watched as the violence against the abolitionists and their property escalated.

The Hortus Conclusus

I am continuing the theme of the Virgin Mary and the garden because I feel that the idea of the hortus conclusus should not be left out. The hortus conclusus is a particular type of enclosed garden in the sense that it is tied symbolically to the Virgin Mary. While the hortus conclusus takes the form of a garden in Medieval and Renaissance art it is actually a representation of the Virgin Mary. And yet many of its actual physical attributes are taken from even earlier centuries of garden making. When we look far back to the earliest Oriental gardens of Persia, Egypt, Babylon and Mesopotamia we see walled gardens filled with fruit trees, flowers, water and places to sit….

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The Garden in a Nunnery, Part 2: Radegund of Poitiers

Radegund of Poitiers, France Radegund of Poitiers was one of the first Frankish women who founded and ruled over nunneries in France. Her life reads like a soap opera. Born around the year of 520, Radegund was the daughter of a Thuringian King, Berthaire. While just a child, her father was murdered by his brother, Hermanfred, who took Radegund and her brother to raise as his own. But in 531 the Franks invaded Thuringia and defeated and destroyed the Thuringian royal family. The children were captured by the invading Frankish King Clothaire I, who claimed them as spoils of war. Radegund lived with Clothaire in Athies when at the age of 18 he moved her to Soissons to be his…

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