By Phran Novelli
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and John Adams weren’t just Presidents, they were also great gardeners. As author Andrea Wulf notes in her book, Founding Gardeners, their ‘passion for nature, plants, gardens and agriculture is woven deeply into the fabric of America and aligned with their political thought – both reflecting and influencing it.’ She adds, ‘it’s impossible to understand the making of America without looking at the founding fathers as farmers and gardeners.’
Wulf notes that Benjamin Franklin was the first to put plants at the heart of the struggle for liberty, as Franklin cited ‘Agriculture the only honest way’ a nation might acquire wealth. Philadelphia’s John Bartram also played a major role, as he propagated plants and seeds that grew in all of the founding fathers’ gardens.
So right now – as we honor our past Presidents, contemplate this year’s election, and look to the gardening season just ahead – is a great time to get a copy of Founding Gardeners and get a little more perspective on it all.