Founding Gardeners by Andrea Wulf

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Synopsis

From the author of the acclaimed The Brother Gardeners, a fascinating look at the founding fathers from the unique and intimate perspective of their lives as gardeners, plantsmen, and farmers.
For the founding fathers, gardening, agriculture, and botany were elemental passions, as deeply ingrained in their characters as their belief in liberty for the nation they were creating. Andrea Wulf reveals for the first time this aspect of the revolutionary generation. She describes how, even as British ships gathered off Staten Island, George Washington wrote his estate manager about the garden at Mount Vernon; how a tour of English gardens renewed Thomas Jefferson’s and John Adams’s faith in their fledgling nation; how a trip to the great botanist John Bartram’s garden helped the delegates of the Constitutional Congress break their deadlock; and why James Madison is the forgotten father of American environmentalism. These and other stories reveal a guiding but previously overlooked ideology of the American Revolution.
Founding Gardeners
adds depth and nuance to our understanding of the American experiment and provides us with a portrait of the founding fathers as they’ve never before been seen.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Andrea Wulf

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Andrea Wulf trained as a design historian at London's Royal College of Art. She is the author of The Brother Gardeners (long-listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize in 2008 and winner of the American Horticultural Society 2010 Book Award) and the coauthor (with Emma Gieben-Gamal) of This Other Eden. She has written for The Sunday Times (London), The Guardian, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the Financial Times, and appears regularly on BBC television and radio. She lives in London.
 
Published March 29, 2011 by Vintage. 352 pages
Genres: History, Crafts, Hobbies & Home, Science & Math. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Design historian Wulf (The Brother Gardeners: Botany, Empire and the Birth of an Obsession, 2009, etc.) explains how the Founders brought a new nation and their own gardens simultaneously to fruition.

Feb 15 2011 | Read Full Review of Founding Gardeners

The New York Times

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Farm and garden visits were on the unofficial agenda, so on a cool summer morning a group took carriages from Philadelphia to Bartram’s property, where they were impressed by the splendor of its collection of trees and shrubs from all 13 colonies, “their branches intertwined,” as Wulf puts it, “i...

May 06 2011 | Read Full Review of Founding Gardeners

The Guardian

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So woefully thin was American knowledge about American trees that when Washington started to plant native species at Mount Vernon he was obliged to refer for guidance to The Gardeners Dictionary by Philip Miller, keeper of the Chelsea Physic Garden in London, the only man except Bartram to have h...

Apr 02 2011 | Read Full Review of Founding Gardeners

Publishers Weekly

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Not only did Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison operate farms, all believed agriculture was the noblest occupation and the foundation of democracy.

Feb 21 2011 | Read Full Review of Founding Gardeners

New York Journal of Books

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Fascinating history that not only gives depth to the men involved, but color to the surroundings of the dry history of the Constitutional Convention that we have all studied.Ms.

Mar 29 2011 | Read Full Review of Founding Gardeners

The Washington Times

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Many Americans, including Adams and Jefferson, worried that it had been conceived “upon a plan much too magnificent.” By the time Jefferson was inaugurated in 1801, the city of Washington was still a plan on paper.

Aug 30 2011 | Read Full Review of Founding Gardeners

The Telegraph

But it is in Wulf’s portraits of the presidents themselves – four men who wanted to bring self-sufficiency to every farmer – that her book comes alive.

Feb 25 2011 | Read Full Review of Founding Gardeners

The Telegraph

Inspired by the Temple of British Worthies at Stowe, Jefferson begins to acquire garden statuary for himself, beginning with those founding fathers of Enlightenment thought – Bacon, Newton and Locke – (“my trinity of the three greatest men the world had ever produced”), and throwing i...

Feb 13 2011 | Read Full Review of Founding Gardeners

Christian Science Monitor

7 history books worth checking out in 2011 - Founding Gardeners, by Andrea Wulf - CSMonitor.com Skip to: Content Skip to: Site Navigation Skip to: Search Search World ...

Jan 12 2011 | Read Full Review of Founding Gardeners

Dallas News

The president’s hair was “neglected,” his slippers “down at the heel” and “with the toes out.” He looked, said one, like “a tall, large–boned farmer.” Says Wulf: “exactly the image that Jefferson was trying to convey.” The city, which Jefferson hoped to see thrive organically, “grew in several sm...

Apr 29 2011 | Read Full Review of Founding Gardeners

San Francisco Chronicle

She follows their days at Monticello, Mount Vernon, Madison's Montpelier and Adams' little farm in Quincy, Mass., as well as their visits to various renowned gardens.

Apr 08 2011 | Read Full Review of Founding Gardeners

Denver Post

A more searching discussion of the enslaved gardeners who freed up the founding fathers to hold political office, experiment with kidney beans, and theorize about republics would have greatly enriched Wulf's otherwise thoughtful account.

Apr 20 2011 | Read Full Review of Founding Gardeners

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