A Proposal For The Interpretation of John Bartram's Garden

Meyer, Paul
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University of Delaware
John Bartram (1699-1777) was one of Colonial America's foremost botanists and plant explorers. Collecting plants throughout eastern North America, he was responsible for the introduction of between 150 and 200 new American species to England. Today, his house and garden, located on the Schuylkill River several miles southwest of Center City Philadelphia, are operated as part of the Fairmount Park System. In recent years, however, Bartram's Garden has served as little more than a city park, distinguished only by its historic house and relatively diverse plant collection. For John Bartram this site was a permanent botanic garden where he maintained his personal plant collection. His everyday work was farming, but the garden fulfilled his avocational dream and also provided him with a nearby source of propagation material. Moreover, it was a way station where species collected in the wild were planted, observed, and propagated before being disseminated throughout the world. In this garden Bartram devised and experimented with his own horticultural techniques as well as those recommended to him by others. Many of these methods are still used today and should be interpreted for modern gardeners, thereby relating the experiences of John Bartram to those of the horticulturally aware visitor. Through the development of the plant collection and horticultural exhibits, the story of John Bartram can come alive and have relevance for visitors to his garden. Advisor: Richard Lighty
Education - public gardens , Garden design , Interpretation , John Bartram