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Brother Gardeners: Botany, Empire and the Birth of an Obsessionby Andrea Wulf
Synopses & Reviews
The fascinating story of a small group of eighteenth-century naturalists who made Britain the epicenter of horticulture and transformed gardening from an aristocratic pastime into a national obsession.
In 1733, American John Bartram dispatched two boxes of plants and seeds to the London cloth merchant Peter Collinson. Most of these plants had never been grown in British soil before, but in time the American evergreens, magnificent trees, and colorful shrubs would transform the English landscape and garden forever. Over the next forty years, Collinson and a handful of botany enthusiasts would cultivate hundreds of American species. The Brother Gardeners follows the lives of six of these men whose shared passion for plants gave rise to the English love affair with gardens. Here is the extraordinary friendship between Collinson and Bartram; Philip Miller, head of the Chelsea Physic Garden; Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus, whose standardized nomenclature helped bring botany to the middle classes; Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander, who studied the flora of Brazil, Tahiti, New Zealand, and Australia on the greatest voyage of discovery of their time, aboard Captain Cook's Endeavour,
From the exotic blooms in Botany Bay to the gardens at Kew, from the streets of London to the vistas of the Appalachian Mountains, The Brother Gardeners paints a vivid portrait of an emerging world of knowledge and of gardening as we know it today. It is a delightful and beautifully told narrative history.
About the Author
Andrea Wulf was born in India and moved to Germany as a child. She trained as a design historian at London's Royal College of Art and is coauthor (with Emma Gieben-Gamal) of This Other Eden: Seven Great Gardens and 300 Years of English History. She has written for The Sunday Times (London) and The Financial Times, and her reviews have appeared in numerous newspapers, including The Guardian, The Times Literary Supplement, and The Mail on Sunday. She appears regularly on BBC television and radio.
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