Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The History of Bartram's Garden

"…the Botanick fire set me in such A flame as is not to be quenched untill death or I explore most of the South western vegitative treasures in No. America." John Bartram, 1761.


19th Century illustration by Howard Pyle. No known portrait of John Bartram exists.

John Bartram (1699-1777) was a third-generation Pennsylvania Quaker, born in nearby Darby imbued with a curiosity and reverence for nature, as well as a passion for scientific inquiry. Bartram purchased 102 acres from Swedish settlers in 1728, and systematically began gathering the most varied collection of North American plants in the world.

A self-taught man, Bartram had the quintessential "can do" American spirit that continues to inspire us today. His travels – by boat, on horseback, and on foot – took him to New England, as far south as Florida, and west to Lake Ontario. He collected seeds and plant specimens, establishing a trans-Atlantic hub of plant exploration through his exchanges with London merchant Peter Collinson. Plants from Bartram’s Garden were exchanged with the leading minds and patrons in Britain. In 1765, Bartram was appointed the "Royal Botanist" by King George III.

At home, Bartram 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 lists appearing as early as the 1750’s in London publications. His international plant trade and nursery business survived him and thrived under the care of three generations of Bartrams.

Following in his father’s footsteps, 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. William’s book, Travels, was first published in 1791 in Philadelphia and was eagerly received by a European audience hungry for information about wild American landscapes. His drawings and meticulous observations about the people and plants he met made Travels an instant classic in naturalist literature.

From 1810 onward, Ann Bartram Carr (1779-1858), a daughter of John Bartram, Jr., continued the family garden. Ann was educated by her uncle William and inherited his skill for illustration and the family passion for plants. With her husband, Colonel Robert Carr (1778-1866), the international trade in seeds and plants continued. During the Carr era, the garden was enlarged and, at its peak, featured ten greenhouses and a collection of over 1400 native plant species and as many as 1000 exotics. Financial difficulties led to the sale of the family garden by the Carrs in 1850.

 Andrew Eastwick (1811-1879), a wealthy railroad industrialist, preserved the historic garden as a private park on his estate. At his death, the expansion of the city and the movement of industry threatened the garden. A campaign to preserve Bartram’s 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 the City of Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation.
Bartram’s Garden is one of only a handful of identified prehistoric locations in Philadelphia. Archaeological evidence has been found that the Garden was occupied seasonally by Native Americans as early as 3,000 BCE. Objects found during digs include stone artifacts, flakes from tool production, and fire-cracked rock. These objects are available to view in the John Bartram Bowman Special Collections Library by appointment.

Beginning in 1648, a 1,000 acre tract of land that included Bartram’s Garden was settled as an outpost on a New Sweden colony on the Schuylkill River. This land, known as "Aronameck," was eventually divided along natural boundaries and creek valleys, and further small clearings developed in the later 17th Century, including a piece which become the site of John Bartram’s farm and garden.

54th St and Lindbergh Blvd

Philadelphia, PA 19143

What it is now:
For lifelong learners and those inspired by the Bartrams, the John Bowman Bartram Special Collections Library houses one of the most complete collections of writings, genealogical information, books, and photographs by and about the Bartrams and their garden. The library features rare books and herbals from the Dr. Philip George Collection, many of which would have been in John Bartram’s personal library or read by him.

Among the holdings is John Bartram’s own copy of Linnaeus’ Genera Plantarum given to him by Dr. Gronovius of Leiden in 1743. John in turn gave this volume to his son William in 1755 and it is inscribed with both their names.

The library also contains a selection of reference books about Philadelphia history and 18th and 19th century gardens and botany out-of-print books on the Bartrams and transcriptions and/or copies of published editions of Bartram correspondence, diaries, journals, drawings, plant lists and catalogues, tax and census records and estate papers. In addition the collection contains the complete archive of the John Bartram Association activities, correspondence, annual reports, minutes, memorabilia, and garden guides, as well as technical reports and architectural drawings/specifications/plans documenting restorations, repairs and archaeological surveys of the site.
  A growing number of partners keep Bartram’s Garden vibrant through an ongoing series of programs and events to provide meaningful connections with our community.

New in 2012: Community Farm and Green Resource Center
A 3.5 acre farm and greenhouse will be unveiled on a former ball field and tennis court at Bartram’s Garden. This joint initiative increases access to local, organically grown food to Southwest Philadelphia residents, promoting self-reliance and a deeper relationship with the land and our food.
 Bartram’s Garden has 45 acres of garden and park to inspire journeys large and small. Bring a picnic or rent the Eastwick Pavilion for your family reunion. Catch fish from our dock, take the kids sledding on a snowy day, or bring your binoculars to catch sight of migratory birds. Any way you choose, the Garden is a place of respite, discovery, and renewal. Academic Field Trips for schools, camps, and community groups serve students from pre-K to high school. We offer inquiry-based lessons in nature, art and history and meet Pennsylvania and National Science Foundation academic standards.

Little Explorers is a monthly garden adventure for toddlers (ages 2-4) and their caregivers. Programs include crafts, snacks, performances, and an exciting exploration in the garden.

Homeschooler Days homeschooled students, ages 5 – 13, and meets monthly with morning and afternoon sessions to choose from. This year’s topics range from botany to colonial cooking, from navigation to creating music from birdsong!

Family Discovery Days are offered during spring and summer breaks and are open to children ages 5-13 and their caregivers. These fun and educational programs coincide with our summer Homeschooler Days. We also offer weekend ice cream and cider making tours in the summer and fall respectively, and family programming during special events like Philadelphia Honey Fest.

Children’s Birthday Parties at Bartram’s Garden feature engaging activities for children of all ages in our legendary landscape. Our historic buildings provide a unique and memorable setting for celebrations for children of all ages.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

For Yasemin, Arif & Omer: Fairmount Public Greenspace

Here are all the lovely places that are within Fairmount Park!! There are some very beautiful properties around :)
Bartram's Garden

Centennial Arboretum

Philadelphia Horticulture Center

Japanese House and Garden (Shofuso)


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Shofuso: Japanese House and Garden

Heizaemon Ito, appointed to oversee the construction in Nagoya, Japan in January 1953 and pre-assembles it in preparation for its journey to New York.  Before Shofuso (Japanese House and Garden) made its appearance on the western banks of Fairmount Park, it was the publics favorite "House in the Garden" exhibition featured at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. 

The "Japanese House in the Garden" at the MoMA was officially open to the public June 19th 1954.  After attracting a quarter of a million viewers within 2 seasons (almost 3 times the amount of visitors of the other two houses that were featured), it was closed on October 16th 1955.  There were many offers as to the permanent relocation of Shofuso, but after much time and consideration Fairmount Park was finally appointed as its new home.
The Nio-mon Gate, also known as 'The Japanese Pagota' stood in the exact location where Shofuso stands today.  It was originally shown at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St Louis in 1904, but was relocated to Philadelphia 1908.  Funded by John T. Morris, a traditional Japanese style garden was built around it, which included a lotus pond in 1909.  After thriving for over 4 decades, a fire burnt down the actual Nio-mon Gate structure on October 19th 1958, leaving the surrounding gardens to be the perfect home for Shofuso.

The master minds behind Shofuso are Junzo Yoshimura being the main architect, Tansai Sano who was responsible for landscaping and garden design, and finally the master carpenter Heizaemon Ito building the original structure in Nagoya in 1949.  With the 17th century Shoin-Zukuri inspired design, the Japanese-American Society was able to raise about $51,000 to represent the classic architecture as precisely as you would see it in Japan.  This included the use of "hinoki" (cypress wood) that was specially harvested by The National Forestry Agency of Japan for this project.
Shofuso Interiors


Here is a map of Fairmout Park where you can see all the hot spots.


In the mind of a Serial Killer

Apart from my very strong desire of not wanting to follow someone, I was "inspired" after watching the movie The Lovely Bones.  The distorted thinking of a serial killer is almost frighteningly clever and but mostly disturbing.  I realized it takes a great deal of time and tracking of a single person before a serial killer attacks its prey.  Based off of this idea I decided to take a series of pictures of myself from a stalkers point of view. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Google/Oxford Dictionaries


familiar with and at ease in many different countries and cultures.

The Free Dictionary.com

1. Pertinent or common to the whole world

2. Having constituent elements from all over the world or from many different parts of the world

3. So sophisticated as to be at home in all parts of the world or conversant with many spheres of interest

4. Ecology Growing or occurring in many parts of the world; widely distributed.

Macmillan Dictionary:

1.      used about a place where people from many different countries and cultures live
2.      used about someone who has traveled a lot and knows about different societies and cultures

Collins Dictionary:
a person who has lived and travelled in many countries, esp one who is free of national prejudices

having interest in or familiar with many parts of the world

sophisticated or urbane

composed of people or elements from all parts of the world or from many different spheres

My Opinion:

I’ve never taken the time to look  up the actual definition of what Cosmopolitan actually means.  Up until the moment that I researched the meaning of the word, I had a completely different understanding and definition of the word.  I thought it referred only to urban environments and city life (best example, New York city is a cosmopolitan city), but I see now that I was concentrated on the wrong aspect of the definition.  Cosmopolitan has maybe become my new favorite word J



 noun \di-ˈmä-krə-sē\

: a form of government in which people choose leaders by voting

The Free Dictionary:
n. pl.de·moc·ra·cies

1. Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives.

2. A political or social unit that has such a government.

3. The common people, considered as the primary source of political power.

4. Majority rule.

5. The principles of social equality and respect for the individual within a community.


noun, plural de·moc·ra·cies.

1. government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.  

3.a state of society characterized by formal equality of rights and privileges.

4. political or social equality; democratic spirit.

5. the common people of a community as distinguished from any privileged class; the common people with respect to their political power.

The United Nations:
Democracy provides an environment for the protection and effective realization of human rights. These values are embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and further developed in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which enshrines a host of political rights and civil liberties underpinning meaningful democracies.

The US Department of State

Democracy and respect for human rights have long been central components of U.S. foreign policy. Supporting democracy not only promotes such fundamental American values as religious freedom and worker rights, but also helps create a more secure, stable, and prosperous global arena in which the United States can advance its national interests. In addition, democracy is the one national interest that helps to secure all the others. Democratically governed nations are more likely to secure the peace, deter aggression, expand open markets, promote economic development, protect American citizens, combat international terrorism and crime, uphold human and worker rights, avoid humanitarian crises and refugee flows, improve the global environment, and protect human health.

My Opinion:
I find it interesting that all the definitions state “social and political equality” but from what I can observe in our society today, though we have a governmental system that allows the sovereign of the people to choose their candidates to represent our voice, our individual voices aren’t heard.  Social equality is still an issue and still practiced by those who we hold as "valuable".  In my opinion, we haven’t 100% accomplished what we promised the people as a nation.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Manyunk Walk

~Cross the street and turn right
~Go into Meadowsweet Mercantile

~Leave and continue in same direction
~Once you see Reichert co. Printers (antique painted sign

enter parklet and turn left onto toe path

once you see a painted wall, walk up stairs on the right.  cross the street and go back to yogurt place

(I thought it was interesting to see a mural of nature mixed with actual nature.  Although it's only a synthetic and representative image of the essence of nature, you still feel a little more connected and could certainly be considered green public space)