International Arborists Gather

Quakers should be taught the “…Use and Service of Trees”       —From “A Mite Into the Treasury” by Thomas Lawson 1680

John Bartram, Wyck Rose Garden, Kirk R. Brown, International Society of Arboriculture

In any garden, John Bartram uses first his eyes and then his intelligence to identify the unique plant material and the botanical connections

“Since ten years old, I had a great inclination to plants.  I knew all that I observed by sight, though not by the proper names having no person or books to instruct me.”     —John Bartram

American Philosophical Society, Kirk R. Brown, John Bartram, International Society of Arboriculture

I passed the American Philosophical Society’s headquarters behind the State House on many a walk through the city of Philadelphia. The trees have prospered as well as the institution.


Indiana.  Indianapolis.  The name harkens back to an ancient Greek city-state:  “The City of the Indians.”  I’m told that it’s inhabited by a race of Hoosiers:  A species unknown to me in my youth, but entirely recognized as yet another of the subspecies of inhabitants we now know as Americans.  I used to fear and distrust the indians of my region.  But I’m told that the western settlements have been safe and quite civilized for these many years since.  There is even a well-respected zoo in this metropolis.  Perhaps it’s where they keep the more wild members of the community.

I’m traveling into the dark interior of this vast and daunting continent to conference with a band of arborists.  As you might know, an arborist is a person who specializes in the study and care of trees.  That would be me.  I introduced many dozens of them into the trade I conducted with my European counterparts:  Acer rubrum, Quercus rubrum, Magnolia grandiflora, M. stellata, M. virginiana, and so many more that I hesitate to have it appear that my pride overtakes my study of science.

Stenton, James Logan, John Bartram, Kirk R. Brown

Yet another Magnolia to investigate. This one is in the garden at Stenton, James Logan’s plantation house outside of Philadelphia in the modern community of Germantown.

Many people contributed to my success in the world.  Correspondence with Carl Linnaeus, The Dukes of Richmond and Norfolk, Mr. Philip Miller, Peter Collinson, Dr. James Fothergill, Peter Kalm and Robert James Petre (Baron Petre) of Thorndon Hall Essex gave me the professional encouragement that my lack of formal education denied me.  Personal friendships on this side of the Atlantic with Benjamin Franklin and James Logan allowed me to connect with a much wider circle of scientists, writers, and gentlemen than a farmer with 700 acres on the banks of the Schuylkill River could ever hope to reach.

Awbury Arboretum, Kirk R. Brown, John Bartram, International Society of Arboriculture

I always plan a detour when I hear that there’s a monumental tree in the neighborhood. This is in the garden at Awbury Arboretum.

I am an Arborist.  I consider myself a botanist.  King George III officially recognized my accomplishments by naming me “Royal Botanist to the North American Colonies.”   By extension, I believe that I can lay claim to the title of King’s Arborist.  I gave him many of my favorite discoveries.

John Bartram, Kirk R. Brown, International Society of Arboriculture, Scattergood Foundations

Large trees of great age are very expressive but silent sentinels in any landscaped space.

The meeting in Indianapolis will be conducted as a congress of professionals.  My amanuensis, Kirk R. Brown will also be delivering lectures on “Sustainability and the American Dream” with a great deal of help from Mr. Jefferson’s fundamental writings on the subject of Democracy.  His other presentation involves additional legalities confronting the horticultural community with “Storm Over Water:  Municipalities Regulate Land Use.”

I invite you to participate if you are resident in the area.  I also encourage those of you who read this to communicate any of your own observations on the topics under discussion.

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