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ASHS Recognizes Bartram’s Garden as a Horticultural Landmark

Wednesday, May 13, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Cindy Slone
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ASHS Recognizes Bartrams Garden as a Horticultural Landmark


ASHS President Mike Arnold addresses those gathered for the presentation ceremony.

Bartrams Garden, in Philadelphia, was designated an American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) Horticultural Landmark in a ceremony on May 7, 2015. ASHS President Mike Arnold, along with members of the ASHS Board of Directors, presented the bronze plaque to Bartrams President Elizabeth Bressi-Stoppe. The ceremony was also attended by invited members of the ASHS and staff and supporters from Bartrams Garden. 

This prestigious award commemorates sites of horticultural accomplishments selected for historical, scientific, environmental, and aesthetic value. Bartrams joins an elite group of 14 ASHS Horticultural Landmarks since the award was first presented to Monticello, home of President Thomas Jefferson. Other recipients include Longwood Gardens, Missouri Botanical Garden, New York Botanical Garden, Arnold Arboretum, Fairchild Botanical Garden, and others.

The importance of John and William Bartrams contributions to horticulture and US History is illustrated on the gardens website ( Bartrams Garden is a 45-acre National Historic Landmark operated by the John Bartram Association and serves as a destination, outdoor classroom, and living laboratory. John Bartram purchased the site began gathering the most varied collection of North American plants in the world. His travelsby boat, on horseback, and on foottook him to New England, as far south as Florida, and west to Lake Ontario. He collected seeds and plant specimens, and established a trans-Atlantic hub of plant exploration through his exchanges with London merchant Peter Collinson. Prominent patrons and scholars in Britain sought out plants from Bartrams Garden. In 1765, Bartram was appointed the Royal Botanist by King George III.

At home, Bartram co-founded the American Philosophical Society with his friend Benjamin Franklin. His garden was a source of inquiry and pleasure for luminaries like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. His seed and plant business thrived, with cataloging lists appearing in London publications as early as the 1750s. His international plant trade and nursery business survived him and continued to thrive under the care of three generations of Bartrams. 

Son William Bartram (1739-1823) continued to explore and discover native American plants. An important naturalist, artist, and author in his own right, William traveled the American South from 1773 to 1776 under the patronage of Dr. John Fothergill. Williams landmark book, Travels, first published in 1791, found an eager audience in Europeans seeking more information about the untamed American landscapes.

Andrew Eastwick (1811-1879), a wealthy railroad industrialist, preserved the historic garden as a private park on his estate. Upon his death, the expansion of the city and burgeoning industries threatened the garden. A campaign to preserve Bartrams Garden was organized by nurseryman and writer Thomas Meehan (1826-1901) in Philadelphia and Charles Sargent of the Arnold Arboretum in Boston. The City of Philadelphia took possession in 1891. Descendents of John Bartram created the John Bartram Association in 1893 and today the site is managed by the Association in cooperation with Philadelphia Parks and Recreation."

ASHS thanks Bartram's President Bressi-Stoppe, Executive Director Maitreyi Roy, Assistant Director Stephanie Phillips, and Curator Joel Fry for their hospitality and sharing the day and history of the site with the ASHS Board and members.


Bartram’s Garden Curator Joel Fry gives a personalized tour of the grounds to ASHS Board members and society members.



Bartram’s President Elizabeth Bressi-Stoppe and Mike Arnold unveil the bronze landmark plaque.