Building a Garden For the Trees…………… Part I: Philadelphia Gardens

“The personal right to acquire property, which is a natural right, gives to property, when acquired, a right to protection, as a social right.”    James Madison
Philadelphia Bartram's Garden John Bartram Kirk Brown

John surveys the extent of his land along the river south of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

I have been neglectful of my posting responsibilities.  I have been too much in the public eye of late to take the time and trouble to put my pen to paper and communicate all of the wonders that I have passed in my continuing travels. 

Public display gardens in America were virtually non-existent in the days of my youth.  As you know, I was among the first to commit a large amount of acreage to the cultivation of plants for the express enjoyment of the public and testing of the growing success of varieties of species.  I owned seven hundred acres of high-quality farm land.  There was excess to use for the betterment of society through my study of Botany. 

I believe in the preservation of natural resources.  We shall develop that theme throughout the next several postings.  I was arguably the first man on record to write about the connection between the plant and animal world.  These days, the world has become smaller and our resources more challenged by encroachment from our infernal pollution.

It is up to us as individuals and corporate entities to set aside land for preservation.  We need to recognize the value horticulture adds to our life’s quality.

John Bartram Medford Leas Arboretum

John Bartram speaks to his audience at Medford Leas Arboretum

But these days there are many more gardens open to the public.  And Philadelphia is a haven of horticulture.  I was pleased to be invited to three collections of trees–three large assemblies of plants on preserved acreage–three arboreta–to speak about my life and times with views that I strongly hold on how the world has been developed in my absence.  From my perspective of 300 years, much has changed to challenge God’s preeminent vision for His natural scheme of things.  We have taken on a God-like mantle and would wield his mighty sword to craft our kingdom within our own child-like design.

I have visited at three public gardens, attended one large-scale conference, ate through several dinner meetings, and witnessed a gathering of Colonial Dames in New York while at the same time speaking to several hundred people over these recent days.  I acknowledge how much energy that has taken out of my aged bones.  But I continue to thrive on the enjoyment I receive from passing the news that we can have a positive impact on our environment.  We can choose to plant trees, collect nature in preserved areas, and tread more lightly on the resources that are limited by our passing.  I am encouraged by the crowd’s response!  I will post in quick order my thoughts on these visits.

Hopefully in time for the winter solstice!

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