Founding Gardeners: The Revolutionary Generation, Nature, and the Shaping of the American Nation
For the Founding Fathers, gardening, agriculture, and botany were elemental passions: a conjoined interest as deeply ingrained in their characters as the battle for liberty and a belief in the greatness of their new nation.
Founding Gardeners is an exploration of that obsession, telling the story of the revolutionary generation from the unique perspective of their lives as gardeners, plant hobbyists, and farmers. Acclaimed historian Andrea Wulf describes how George Washington wrote letters to his estate manager even as British warships gathered off Staten Island; how a tour of English gardens renewed Thomas Jefferson’s and John Adams’s faith in their fledgling nation; and why James Madison is the forgotten father of environmentalism. Through these and other stories, Wulf reveals a fresh, nuanced portrait of the men who created our nation.
Working Files, 1983–87, in the collections of Independence National Historical Park. DLC Library of Congress. NA National Archives, Washington, D.C. APS American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia. Cutts 1817 Mary Cutts, c. 1817, Mary Cutts’s Memoir, Cutts Collection, DLC. ViU University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville. MV Mount Vernon Library. PROLOGUE 1 “The first is by War”: BF, “Positions to be examined concerning National Wealth,” 4 April 1769, BF Papers, vol. 16, p.
1818; Asher Robbins to JM, 17 July 1818; Horatio Gates Spafford, 9 August 1818; Francis Corbin to JM, 24 September 1818; Robert Walsh to JM, 15 February 1819; Isaac Davis to JM, 16 February 1819; JM Papers RS, vol. 1, pp. 298ff., 306ff., 343ff., 357ff., 417, 419; Samuel Wyllys Pomeroy to JM, 7 February 1820, DLC. 146 “I see, after a long night”: Richard Peters to JM, 30 July 1818, JM Papers RS, vol. 1, p. 320. 147 London bookseller and JM’s Address: Mordecai M. Noah to JM, 1 September 1818 (the
American colonies agricultural exports from, prl.1, 1.1 boycott of British goods in, prl.1, prl.2, 2.1 British exports to British gardens recreated in economic self-sufficiency as goal of, prl.1, prl.2, prl.2, prl.3 import duties imposed on parliamentary representation for, prl.1, prl.2 American Colonization Society American Gardener’s Calendar, The (McMahon), 7.1, 8.1, 9.1, 9.2 American linden (Tilia americana) American lotus (Nelumbo lutea) American Philosophical Society, 3.1, 4.1,
the former colonies. Familiar shrubs such as rhododendrons and mountain laurels provided the green backbone to the shrubberies during the winter months and brought sculptured blooms in late spring. These were the groves and clumps that had grown from John Bartram’s seeds and cones over the previous five decades. Wherever Adams and Jefferson visited, they encountered scores of trees and shrubs that reminded them of home, ranging from the flowering dogwoods, which were already wrapped in virginal
tulip poplars, chestnut, walnut and other forest trees. Laughter and the mouthwatering smell of roasted animals on the spit drifted across the garden, as did the sweet sound of violin music. The feast was sumptuous, with soups, meats and vegetables from the garden, the best wines available and large bowls of spiced punch. The cooks had even made ice cream from the ice, which was stored in the icehouse that was cleverly hidden under a classical garden temple next to the house. It was a late