Pleasure Grounds

English Pastoral Landscape

Gardening is both utilitarian and pleasurable.  We know it and our founding fathers knew it, too.  Andrea Wulf’s book, The Founding Gardeners,  is a story of two countries, the gardens and the gardeners/statesmen.  The story moves from America to England, and back again, just as the plants and seeds of Philadephia farmer and plantsman John Bartram were mailed from America to England in the 1730’s through the revolutionary war years. Seed swapping on such a scale created “the irony that the English garden was in fact American”. Wulf.  Jefferson and Adams delighted in this discovery, made in the year 1786 as they toured the English countryside together.  These ambassadors returned to America with renewed enthusiasm for their native trees, and plants.  Determined to create a pleasing harmony on their own land while producing  food and products the young nation needed.  Along with Washington and Madison, these men cultivated harmony and unity among the states in the early years of our country.  The steady, patient work required of farming served them well in negotiating the political world, too.  They believed that the strength and security of these United States depended on being a nation of small independent farmers.  There are people today who still believe it.