April 1st is opening day for the Bartram House and garden guided tours and Museum Shop. Bartram’s Garden is the homestead of John Bartram, America’s first botanist, and is American’s oldest living botanical garden. It is also a notable site to visit, especially in April, to perfect your own garden plans.
Riverfront nature oasis
Located on the Schuylkill River, with views to the center city skyline, Bartram’s Garden features a 45 acre site that includes a 18th century home, farm buildings, gardens, meadow, wetlands, and river trail, as well, as a great museum shop with all sorts of local products. The mile long paved trail now connects visitors to the Schuylkill riverfront, ideal for bikers, stroller walkers, and anyone out for April fresh air and appreciation of nature. There are also unpaved paths to stroll along the gardens and river.
Taking ideas to apply to your own garden, from Bartram’s Garden, has been in practice for hundreds of years. John’s friend, Ben Franklin, and many others of the day including Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, found Bartram’s garden an indispensable source for their plant questions and delight in his new discoveries. Residing still on these grounds is our country’s oldest ginkgo tree and the Franklinia alatamaha tree, which Bartram saved from extinction and named for his friend, Ben. John, and his son William, are credited with introducing over 200 native plants leading to John’s appointment in 1765, by King George II, as the “King’s Botanist for North America”. Perhaps some of his well-grounded garden ideas and plant discoveries will foster new garden plans for you in April.
Bartram’s Garden is accessible by car, trolley or bike. Start your April visit in the brick courtyard at the Welcome Center, to pick up a map and information. Refreshments, souvenirs, books and plants are also available for purchase here, as well as, guided tour tickets, if these are part of your plans. While it’s not yet warm enough to appreciate the seasons flora, April is the perfect time to be inspired by what you can grow and emboldened to take on new garden plans. Visit Bartram’s this April to glean and grow.