Putting Down Roots

Clydes Corner Putting Down Roots March 13 2013 Philly, Philly, (right now, chilly!) how does your garden grow?
 With Liberty Bells and South Jersey Sea shells and historic homes all in a row. 

Well, not quite.  But gardeners among you will find Philadelphia to be an unexpected posey paradise! Famous for many historic firsts, Philadelphia also boasts the country’s first garden: Bartam’s Garden.

John Bartram, America’s first botanist, was endlessly curious about the natural world.  He truly believed that all living things were beautiful in their own right.  His explorations of wild American landscapes were  deeply influential to Europeans who were hungry for any and all information about the New World.

Today Bartram’s Garden’s living collections encompass 45 acres of parkland, wildlife habitats, tidal wetlands, and a reclaimed meadow.  Its historic core is a collection of Bartram plants – species collected, grown, and studied by the Bartram family from 1728 – 1850, with a focus on native plants of eastern North America, although a wide range of exotic plants were also under cultivation in each generation.

The Garden’s signature tree, Franklinia alatamaha, was discovered by John and William Bartram in 1765 in a small grove along the Altamaha River in southern Georgia.  William Bartram first brought seed back to the garden in 1777 and named the plant Franklinia in honor of his father’s close friend Benjamin Franklin.  The plant has not been found in the wild since the early 19th century but cultivation by the Bartrams has saved the Franklin tree from extinction.  All current Franklinia are descended from those grown by the Bartrams.

Sure to be bountiful and beautiful in June, Bartram’s Garden is a must see. Join a morning bird walk or just catch a breeze along the River Trail in the place where gardening first took root in America. Stroll through the upper kitchen garden and the fragrant flower gardens or visit the riverside meadow, brimming with grasses and wildflowers.

With its riverfront location and beautiful view of the Philadelphia skyline, Bartram’s Garden also appeals to more active visitors. The dock, with access to the lower Schuylkill River, is a popular put-in for boats.

See you in Philadelphia at DRI2013! Where you’ll reap the benefits of this flourishing event!

Have a great week,

Clyde Berger

Vice President and Director of Volunteerism