Did You Know?

Noted furniture designers Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams, who celebrated their company’s 25th anniversary and 20 stores in April of 2014, originally planned on opening a Christmas tree farm.
~The Boston Globe, 05/01/2014

Wheat is thought to be the most widely grown plant in the world. It has been cultivated for more than 7,000 years in every continent except Antartica.
~The Suburban Shopper, 03/26/2014

The PBS “Downton Abbey” phenomenon has influenced merchandising sales worldwide, possibly reaching a minimum of $250 million in 2014. The items range from fabrics to tea bags; but among the more interesting are “New varieties of roses to rival Violet’s best blooms…”
~Hitha Prabhakar, Parade Magazine, 01/05/14

Until the time of Caesars, all Romans were vegetarians…[and] the most widely eaten fruit in America is the banana.
~Ray Barron, The Boston Post-Gazette, 12/06/13

Harvard University is the largest private owner of Romanian forests, with 86,486-plus acres.
~Donna Goodison, The Boston Herald, 01/30/14

Watch out for orange peels! In 1911, Bobby Leach survived a plunge over Niagara Falls in a steel barrel. Fourteen years later, in New Zealand, he slipped on an orange peel (some say a banana peel) and died from complications.

The pawpaw tree (Asimina triloba) bears the largest edible fruit of any plant native to North America. It is the only species of the Annonaceae (a tropical family that includes cherimoya, guanabana, and soursop) that is hardy in New England.
~Arnold Arboretum’s Facebook page, 08/14/13

Daylilies are native to Asia. They were brought to Europe in the Middle Ages, and the first varieties in North America were established in the 18th century.
~Robert Knox, The Boston Globe, 07/18/2013

What may be New England’s oldest willow tree is growing in Milton, Mass.
~Paul Restuccia, The Boston Herald, 04/13/2013

Dendrochronology is the science of calculating a tree’s age by its rings.
~The Suburban Shopper, 01/16/2013

“Digweed” was the family name of the longtime gardeners at Highclere Castle, the main filming location for the British television period drama and PBS Masterpiece Theatre all-time favorite,”Downton Abbey.”
~”Secrets of Highclere Castle,” PBS Special, 01/06/2013

Georgia O’Keeffe’s 1938 pastel “A White Camellia” sold for $3.2 million, and her 1927 oil “Autumn Leaf II” for $4.3 million, at a recent Sotheby’s American Art Auction.
~Virginia Bohlin, The Boston Globe, 12/30/2012

In ancient Egypt, only pharaohs were allowed to eat mushrooms.
~The Suburban Shopper, 12/19/2012

In the 1963 movie “The Leopard,” which was shot in Sicily starting Burt Lancaster, only real flowers were allowed on all the sets during the entire filming. This was per the orders of Italian director Luchino Visconti, who had fresh flowers shipped in very couple of days from the city of Sanremo, located on the Italian Riviera, as opposed to using locally grown flowers.
~As recounted in one of the Extra Features/Interviews accompanying the DVD

Water makes up about 90 percent of growing plants, and thus is the lifeblood of our food chain.
~Michael Olson, MetroFarm e-mail, June 30, 2011

The pickle as we know it is thought to have originated in India, where cucumbers were first grown.
~Organic Garden Magazine, Aug/Sept 2010

At the height of the Inca Empire in Machu Picchu, more land was cultivated on their agricultural terraces than is now in all of Peru. Also at that time, corn was considered a royal food.
~Ghosts of Machu Picchu, PBS Special, 2/2/10

Golden Pothos is considered to be the #1 indoor plant in North America.
~The Suburban Shopper

It has been estimated that roughly 90% of the flowering plants worldwide require an insect or animal to distribute their pollen in order to set fruit and seed. That includes one-third of all crops grown for people….
~Roberta A. Clark, Planting for Pollinators, 2010 UMass Garden Calendar

…most of the corn eaten in colonial times was field corn, which was ground into a coarse meal for mush or bread. The first record of sweet corn didn’t even show up until 1779.
~Lee Reich, The Republican, 11/22/09

A well-developed fire ant colony can be as deep as 30 feet and spread out some 20 to 50 feet from the mound.
~Peter Hotton, Boston Globe, 11/19/09

At the age of five, golf legend Lee Trevino began working in Texas cotton fields.
~AARP Magazine, Nov-Dec 2009

Each year nearly two billion tons of fertile, irreplaceable topsoil are lost forever to erosion–and it often ends up in our rivers and streams, degrading water quality with fertilizers and pesticides and damaging critical fish and wildlife habitat.
~American Farmland Trust, Fall 2008

In seventh-century China, all gold peonies were the exclusive property of the emperor; citizens were put to death if found in possession of one.
~California Home+Design, April 2008

Each individual iris rhizome will produce only one flower stalk during its lifetime.
~Laurie Frazer, Iris Expert

Oak trees are the main source of cork.
~Boston Herald, 02/03/06

The shellac that protects furniture is made from lac, a sticky substance that insectssecrete. These inisects gather by the hundreds and thousands on soapberry and acacia trees in Burma and India. The word lac or lakh means hundred thousand in Persian and Hindu.
~Suburban Shopper, 12/13/06

In North America alone there are over 12,000 species of butterflies and moths. Most moths are also beneficial pollinators; far fewer are harmful.
~Mary Arakelian, Mayflower, May/June 2006

Poison ivy is a member of the cashew family…
~Andy Tomolonis, Boston Herald, 06/15/03