Thursday, July 5, 2012

Founding Gardeners

I am waving my plant geek flag today.

Founding Gardeners: The Revolutionary Generation, Nature, and the Shaping of the American Nations by Andrea Wulf is a book that has been in my pile to read for some time.  I have been chipping away at it over the past month or so and it has been a delight.

I am a history nerd and a plant geek, so the book has a lot of appeal.  I just finished it yesterday - on Independence Day - and it was a fitting time to bring the book to a close.  The subjects of the book, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and John Adams - were our founding fathers who shaped our country in many significant ways.  I did not know they each loved agriculture nor did I recognize how their love of agriculture shaped their political decisions and vision for our country.  The whole book was fascinating.

One of my favorite parts of the book, speaking of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams:

Their time on the political stage might have been over but their passion for their country had not diminished.  For them, working the soil, experimenting with new vegetables and examining plants was a patriotic act as well as an assertion of their belief in America's future.  Planting trees, Jefferson wrote in June 1812, was a joy even when it was "for a future race."  The saplings they nurtured now would shade the next generation of Americans.  "I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past," Jefferson wrote to Adams in the summer of 1816, their friendship now well and truly recovered.  "So good night.  I will dream on."

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