If a TV show (Ghosts) can dredge up historical ghosts with questionable historical facts, gardeners should be able to request equal time based on horticultural ghosts.
Who else might be invited to the casting call?
Begonias (family Begoniaceae) have over 1,300 species and numerous cultivars. I think Frenchman Michel Begon (1638-1710) would be a good addition to the cast. Begon was governor of Haiti and Barbados under Louis XIV. While there he became acquainted with Charles Plumier, a Franciscan monk, botanist and explorer who named more than 4,300 plants. Begon invited Plumier to share the bounty of his wine cellar. In return Plumier named a tropical plant genus after Begon. I suspect more than just a few glasses of wine were enjoyed.
After reading about the namesake of Forsythia (in the olive or Oleaceae family), I decided Scottish gardener William Forsyth deserved a casting call. We need some drama to keep the viewers tuned in. Forsythia was a showy character, like the shrub that bears his name. Robert Fortune brought the plant back from China. It's hardiness made it overly popular and for that reason it soon fell into disrespect. So called discriminating gardeners felt it was "vulgar".
Apparently that wasn't exciting enough for him. As a solution to healing wounds in fruit trees after pruning, he concocted "Forsyth's Plaister". The secret recipe turned out to be cow dung, lime, wood ashes and sand mixed into a malleable paste with soapsuds and urine. A scandal and much controversy resulted. Science vs religion--"how could man be capable of rending that immortal, which the great God of nature evidently intended to die". He did have a Quaker doctor who supported him. Unfortunately, Forsyth died in 1804 before the controversy could be resolved.
Did the wounds on the trees heal due to the magic plaister or did they heal through Mother Natures magic wand? Stay tuned for season 2.
And tune into 88.9 FM for the June 7th Gardening: Get Good at It when we explain the why, where and how of Butterfly Gardens, between 9 and 9:30am on KPOV's The Point.