• Book Review: The Founding Gardeners (2012)

    Kimberly Glassman

    German-British historian Andrea Wulf sheds new light on how gardening and horticulture took hold of the minds of America's visionary founding fathers. Wulf gives us an inside look into their botanical passions and obsessions that helped shape the birth of America.

    London-based author, Andrea Wulf received outstanding reviews for this New York Times bestseller, and it is easy to see why. Wulf seamlessly takes you through American history, from the signing of the Declaration of Independence to the deaths of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, all the while showing you how it is impossible to look at these 50 years of history and the lives of these historic men without also considering their love of gardening. Easy to read, yet packed with historical drama, Wulf tells the story of how George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and James Madison all had a passion for nature, plants, agriculture and gardens, and how this love affair between these visionaries and their gardens helped shape the birth of America. Jump into this book to learn about George Washington's American Garden at Mount Vernon, or the gardens of Washington, D.C. and The White House. Equally, you could also dip into this read if you want to learn about the founding fathers’ botanical obsessions in accounts such as George Washington writing letters to his estate manager asking after the garden even as British warships gathered off Staten Island. On a more serious note, Wulf unpacks and convincingly argues why James Madison is the forgotten father of environmentalism. The Daily Telegraph said it best: this book is “Wonderfully illuminating and readable.”