Founding Gardeners: The Revolutionary Generation, Nature, and the Shaping of the American Nation

by Andrea Wulf

From the publisher: For the Founding Fathers, gardening, agriculture, and botany were elemental passions: a conjoined interest as deeply ingrained in their characters as the battle for liberty and a belief in the greatness of their new nation.

Founding Gardeners is an exploration of that obsession, telling the story of the revolutionary generation from the unique perspective of their lives as gardeners, plant hobbyists, and farmers. Acclaimed historian Andrea Wulf describes how George Washington wrote letters to his estate manager even as British warships gathered off Staten Island; how a tour of English gardens renewed Thomas Jefferson’s and John Adams’s faith in their fledgling nation; and why James Madison is the forgotten father of environmentalism. Through these and other stories, Wulf reveals a fresh, nuanced portrait of the men who created our nation.

Andrea Wulf trained as a design historian at the Royal College of Art in London. She is the author of The Invention of Nature, Chasing Venus, Founding Gardeners, and The Brother Gardeners, which was longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize and awarded the American Horticultural Society Book Award. In 2014 co-presented British Gardens in Time, a four-part series on BBC television.

Penguin, 2012