Botanical history come to life

In a sense, every botanical garden and arboretum in the United States is built on the work of John Bartram, America's first botanist. So it's certainly fitting that the Morris Arboretum mark the 300th anniversary of his birth with a glimpse inside his life and career on Wednesday, May 19.

The glimpse comes courtesy of London's Chelsea Physic Garden Players, who will perform "A Growing Correspondence," a dramatic reading based on Bartram's correspondence with London plant collectors, including Philip Miller, a gardener at the Chelsea Physic Garden, one of the oldest botanical gardens in England. The players, all volunteers at the garden, will wear authentic period costume (photo) for the reading; a live concert of recorder music follows.

The event is part of the month-long celebration of Bartram's 300th birthday organized by Historic Bartram's Garden, the nation's first botanical garden. If you miss "A Growing Correspondence" at the arboretum, you can catch it at Bartram's Garden, 54th St. and Lindbergh Blvd., during its Living History Festival on May 22.

- S.S.

  • "A GROWING CORRESPONDENCE": Noon to 2 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. at the Morris Arboretum, 100 Northwestern Ave., Chestnut Hill. Free with Arboretum admission: adults $6, seniors $5, students $4, children under 6/members free. Info: 247-5777.

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Originally published on May 13, 1999