American Gardener: Bartram's Garden

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Tucked along the banks of the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, Bartram’s Garden is the oldest surviving botanical garden in North America, founded in 1728 by acclaimed naturalist John Bartram. A passionate, self-taught botanist, Bartram devoted his life to traveling and collecting native plant specimens for his garden and arboretum, eventually selling “Bartram Boxes” of seeds and seedlings from the colonies to curious buyers in Europe. His garden became a center for intellectual inquiry and contemplation, welcoming notable guests like Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and fellow Philadelphian Benjamin Franklin, with whom Bartram founded the American Philosophical Society. Today, the garden is still home to Bartram’s house and greenhouse, as well as his original garden and several trees planted in the late eighteenth century by the naturalist and his sons.

Almost three centuries have passed since its establishment, but Bartram’s Garden remains a peaceful place to relax and dicover the diverse plant life of North America. Recently, our team packed a picnic and took a walk in the Founding Fathers’ footsteps as we explored the landscape.

Throughout the month of July, we’re exploring the history of our nation’s gardens with the American Gardener series.  

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