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Founding Gardeners

Founding Gardeners

Founding Gardeners

作    者
Wulf, Andrea;  
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所属分类
Gardening
Gardening > General
History > United States > Revolutionary War
出版社
Random House Inc
ISBN-13
9780307269904
ISBN-10
0307269906
出版日期
2011-03
页数
349
单位
尺寸
24.18 * 3.43 * 16.94
装帧
Hardcover
版本

Product Description

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.

About the Author

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.

Review

"Illuminating and engrossing. . . . The reader relives the first decades of the Republic not only through her eloquent and revelatory prose but through the words of the statesmen themselves."—The New York Times Book Review

"Anecdotes . . . shimmer through Andrea Wulf’s fine story of how gardening and farming shaped the thinking of Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and James Madison. . . . Luxurious and sharp-witted." —San Francisco Chronicle

"[A] lively and deeply researched history. . . . Wulf ingeniously connects . . . highbrow political philosophy to the founders’ personal passion for horticulture." —The Washington Post Book World

"A timely and passionate book, with resonances beyond today’s legion of new gardeners. . . . Wulf traces the birth of the modern environmental movement back beyond Thoreau and Muir to the founding fathers’ passion for nature and plants." —The Guardian

"Andrea Wulf shows in her eloquently written and very beguiling Founding Gardeners that the garden, the natural world and the shape of a new nation were, for the men who launched the United States, parts of a whole. . . . She is a writer of considerable grace and breadth of vision, and Founding Gardeners is an excellent portrait of the early years of the federal republic. It will delight the general reader." —The Plain Dealer

"A highly enjoyable and thought-provoking book. Wulf combines a sure knowledge of garden history and 18th-centry politics with a keen eye for domestic detail and evocative description. By focusing the grand narrative of early America on four individuals, she writes the best kind of popular history." —The Irish Times

"It is certain that Wulf has wonderfully illuminated an often overlooked and very important aspect of the founders’ lives, providing new reasons to be inspired by them. . . . Delightful, enlightened reading."
—NashvilleScene.com

"Wonderfully engaging. . . . Breaks new ground." —The Times Literary Supplement (London)

"Fresh and bountiful. . . . Wulf’s delectable anecdotal approach . . . reveals each founder’s personality and perpective, while her dynamic analysis results in a paradigm-altering vision of how ‘the balance of nature’ underlies our founding principles." —Booklist (starred review)

"Wulf offers a delightful new perspective on the men we usually associate more with politics than with plants." —Publishers Weekly

From Publishers Weekly

Not only did Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison operate farms, all believed agriculture was the noblest occupation and the foundation of democracy. All loved to talk about it, write about it, and spend leisure time (between building a nation) inspecting local farms. Scholars have not ignored this, but British design historian Wulf (The Brother Gardeners: Botany, Empire and the Birth of an Obsession) focuses on the agricultural passion that also reflected the political convictions of America's founders. Even while fighting the Revolution and governing the nation, Washington bombarded the manager of his beloved Mount Vernon with detailed instructions and insisted on prompt replies. During years of diplomatic service overseas, Adams and Jefferson toured private gardens and studied the latest agricultural techniques. This obsession went beyond the personal, influencing the design of Washington, D.C., and the White House, where Jefferson wanted only native shrubs and trees. Detailed botanical descriptions, garden layouts, and crop yields of their estates may appeal more to fans of horticulture than of history, but Wulf offers a delightful new perspective on the men we usually associate more with politics than with plants. 16 pages of color illus.; 19 b&w illus. (Apr.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Prologue
 
My first impressions of America were shaped when I went as a young woman on a seven- week road trip across the States, from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco. We drove hundreds of miles on roads that never curved, along a grid that mankind had imposed on nature. Some days we passed sprawling factories that were pumping out clouds of billowing smoke; other days we saw vast fields that seemed to go on forever. Everything differed in scale from Europe, even suburban America, where rows and rows of painted clapboard houses sit proudly on large open plots of immaculately shorn lawns. America exuded a confidence that seemed to be rooted in its power to harness nature to man’s will and I thought of it as an industrial, larger- than- life country. I certainly never thought of it in terms of gardening— whereas in Britain, everybody seems to be obsessed with their herbaceous borders and vegetable plots. In America, I believed, I was more likely to see someone driving a riding mower than pruning roses.
 
Then, in 2006, I went to visit Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s mountaintop home in Virginia, and began to understand how wrong I had been. On a sunny October morning, I stood on Jefferson’s vegetable terrace, with straight lines of cabbages and squashes at my feet, and saw man and nature in perfect harmony. In the distance the horizon seemed to stretch into infinity; behind me was a manicured lawn lined with ribbons of flowers and, below, a romantic forest that crept into the gardens. The magnificent view from the terrace across the arboreal sea of autumnal reds and oranges of red maples, oaks, hickories and tulip poplars brought together Jefferson’s neat plots of cultivated vegetables and sublime scenery of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Jefferson had combined beauty with utility, the untamed wilderness of the forest with the orderly lines of apples, pears and cherries in the orchard, and colorful native and exotic flowers with a sweeping panorama across Virginia’s spectacular landscape. If nature had been dominated by man, it seemed it was only in order to celebrate it.
 
Later, I couldn’t put Monticello out of my mind. I was in the midst of writing about the eighteenth- century American farmer and plant collector John Bartram, the British obsession with gardens and the introduction of non-native plants into the English landscape—many of which had been sent by Bartram from the American colonies. The more I learned about Bartram, the more fascinated I became by the American relationship to nature during the eighteenth century.
 
I pored over the correspondence between John Bartram and Benjamin Franklin, and after my visit to Monticello, I learned that Thomas Jefferson and George Washington had also ordered plants from Bartram, and that James Madison had visited Bartram’s garden just before the Great Compromise of the Constitutional Convention in the summer of 1787. I read in John Adams’s diaries how much he enjoyed working in his garden, fork in hand. Slowly, through records, letters and diaries, I came to see how vegetable plots, ornamental plants, landscapes and forests had played a crucial role in America’s struggle for national identity and in the lives of the founding fathers. Golden cornfields and endless rows of cotton plants became symbols for America’s economic independence from Britain; towering trees became a reflection of a strong and vigorous nation; native species were imbued with patriotism and proudly planted in gardens, while metaphors drawn from the natural world brought plants and gardening into politics.
 
The founding fathers’ 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. In fact, I believe, it’s impossible to understand the making of America without looking at the founding fathers as farmers and gardeners.
 
Founding Gardeners examines the creation of the American nation and the lives of Washington, Adams, Jefferson and Madison through the lens of gardens, landscapes, nature and agriculture. Part of this is played out in Washington’s Mount Vernon, Jefferson’s Monticello and Madison’s Montpelier— all large plantations in Virginia— as well as Adams’s much smaller farm, Peacefield, in Quincy near Boston. But it was Benjamin Franklin who was the first of the revolutionaries to place plants at the heart of the country’s struggle.
 
In response to the tensions between Britain and America, Franklin turned to plants and agriculture. In his “Positions to be examined concerning National Wealth,” Franklin listed in 1769 the three ways by which a nation might acquire wealth, and gave his opinion on each: “The first is by War . . . This is Robbery. The second by Commerce which is generally Cheating. The third by Agriculture the only honest Way.” Eleven years before the thirteen colonies threw off the yoke of Britain’s rule in 1776, the controversial Stamp Act had been given Royal Assent by King George III. This tax on paper affected almost every colonist, for it was applied to newspapers, legal documents, liquor licenses, books and every deck of cards. It was a desperate attempt to fill Britain’s depleted coffers, run low by the Seven Years’ War, which had seen Britain fight against the French on North American soil. When the war had come to an end in 1763, the British economy lay in crisis, riddled with war debts and plagued by a series of bad harvests. Britain’s solution was to make the colonists pay.
 
As news of the ratification of the Stamp Act reached America, colonists rallied together to protest against Parliament’s rule. The Virginia House of Burgesses— the legislative assembly of colonial Virginia—declared the tax illegal. Throughout the colonies, riots broke out. The protesters burned effigies and raided the houses of British officials— on the way drinking their wine cellars dry—insisting that the British had no right to levy such taxes on the colonies. In Boston, an effigy of Andrew Oliver (the man who collected the stamp duty) and of the devil holding a copy of the Stamp Act were hung from an ancient elm tree near the town common. In the evening, 3,000 people marched through the streets, smashing the windows of Oliver’s house before beheading and burning his effigy on a bonfire made from his furniture.
 
Franklin was in London at the time, having arrived in December 1764 on behalf of the Pennsylvania Assembly. His mission was to change the governance of Pennsylvania which was controlled by the so- called “proprietors,” the heirs of William Penn, who had founded the colony in the seventeenth century. It was his third visit to the British capital, a place he loved for the intellectual stimulation and sociability. But during this visit, his relationship with Britain underwent a seismic shift— a shift that not only led to his assured signature on the Declaration of Independence, but that is also mirrored in his changing attitude toward seeds and crops. Indeed, his involvement with plants can be seen as a kind of barometer of his political convictions.
 
For a long time Franklin had been interested in plants, both for their scientific and economic value. Part of a lively network of letter- writers who exchanged seeds with each other, he corresponded with farmers, gardeners and botanists in America and Europe, and experimented in his Philadelphia garden with different vegetables and crops. From London, he regularly sent seeds home to his wife, Deborah, helped by his British scientific and gardening friends. When one of them couldn’t procure a new species of grain that Franklin wanted, another offered the entire produce of the previous year (clearly realizing how keen Franklin was). Franklin sent a new kind of oat and barley to Deborah to distribute among the plantsmen in Philadelphia, as well as sending vegetable seeds and Chinese rhubarb, which was valued for its medicinal properties. As the political troubles intensified, so did Franklin’s agricultural interest.
 
The outbreak of the anti–Stamp Act protests in America had forced Franklin to become the unofficial ambassador for the colonies in Britain. He met the Lord Treasurer, Lord Grenville, in an attempt to persuade him to abandon the scheme but to no avail. Grenville, Franklin said, was “besotted” with it. Yet, though Franklin thought the Act to be unconstitutional and believed that the colonies had to be represented in Parliament, he did not, at this point, contemplate the possibility of independence. A “faithful Adherence to the Government of this Nation,” Franklin insisted as houses were burned in Philadelphia, “will always be the wisest Course.” But he misjudged how much his fellow colonists hated the impositions. In Pennsylvania, Franklin’s steadfast defense of Britain was held against him and in late September 1765, furious rioters threatened to destroy his house in Philadelphia.
 
Britain had always nurtured the colonies as her greatest export market— paper, nails, glass, clothes and linen were all produced in Britain’s burgeoning manufacturing sector and sold in American markets. In addition to staples, luxury products such as silverware, porcelain, carpets and silk became an important British export. The trade of hundreds of ships connected London, Bristol and Liverpool with Boston, Philadelphia and New York. Between 1730 and 1760, exports to the North American colonies quadrupled, filling the purses of British merchants and manufacturers. At the same time laws, regulations and duties imposed by the British and a lack of labor prevented the colonists from developing their own manufacturing sector. With plenty of fertile soil, the colonies