The Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum educates people about America’s Father of Modern Horticulture through preserving his birth site and promoting his vision linking horticulture and the environment to everyday life.
The best preparation for gardening is to go afield and see the things that grow there. Take photographs in order to focus your attention on specific objects, to concentrate your observation, to train your artistic sense. An ardent admirer of nature once told me that he never knew nature until he purchased a camera. If you have a camera, stop taking pictures of your friends and the making of mere souvenirs, and try the photographing of plants and animals and small landscapes. Notice that the ground glass of your camera concentrates and limits your landscape. The border-pieces frame it. Always see how your picture looks on the ground glass before you make your exposure. Move your camera until you have an artistic composition—one that will have a pictorial or picturesque character. Avoid snap-shots for such work as this. Take your time. At the end of a year, tell me if you are not a nature-lover. If to-day you care for only pinks and roses and other prim flowers, next year you will admire also the weedy tangles, the spray of wild convolvulus on the old fence, the winter stalks of the sunflower, the dripping water-trough by the roadside, the abandoned bird's-nest, and the pose of the grasshopper. L.H. Bailey, 1900
The first warmth of spring brought the dandelions out of the banks and knolls. They were the first proofs that winter was really going, and we began to listen for the blackbirds and swallows. We loved the bright flowers, for they were so many reflections of the warming sun. They soon became more familiar, and invaded the yards. Then they overran the lawns, and we began to despise them. We hated them because we had made up our minds not to have them, not because they were unlovable. In spite of every effort, we could not get rid of them. Then if we must have them, we decided to love them. Where once were weeds are now golden coins scattered in the sun, and bees revelling in color; and we are happy! - L. H. Bailey.
Suggestions For Study
I. Ask your teacher to let you go out of doors for ten minutes to look at dandelions. In your note books write answers to the following questions:
1. At what time of day are you looking for the dandelions? Is the sun shining, or is the sky overcast? Make up your mind to notice whether dandelions behave the same at all hours of the day and in all kinds of weather.
2. How many dandelions can you count as you stand on the school-ground? The little yellow heads can be seen a long distance.
3. Where do they prefer to grow, — on the hillsides, along the roadsides, in the marshes, or in your garden?
II. Gather a basket full of blossoming dandelions, roots and all, take them to school, and ask the teacher to let you have a dandelion lesson. Here are some suggestions that will help you:
1. Each pupil should have a plant, root and all. Describe the plant. Is it tall or short? How many leaves are there? How many blossoms?
2. Hold the plant up so that you can see it well. How many distinct colors do you find? How many tints and shades of these colors?
3. Look carefully at the blossom. How many parts has it? How much can you find out about the way in which the yellow head is made up?
III. Mark a dandelion plant in your garden. Watch it every day. Keep a record of all that happens in its life.
L.H. Bailey called John Muir, "the interpreter of mountains, forests, and glaciers." This Preservationist, naturalist, author, explorer, activist, scientist, farmer, John Muir (4/21/1838 – 12/24/1914) was all these things and more. Nearly a century after his death, this Scottish American is remembered and revered as the father of the environmental movement and the founder of the Sierra Club, the oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization in the United States. American Masters continues its 25th anniversary season with John Muir in the New World,airing nationally Monday, April 18 at 9 p.m. (ET) on PBS in honor of Earth Day (4/22) and John Muir Day (4/21). Find out more at the link above.