Monday, April 24, 2017

Early South Carolina - Trading seeds & plants with other gardeners

Trading seeds & plants with neighbors & botanists

In warm, nearly tropical South Carolina, naturalists Mark Catesby (1682-1749) & John Bartram (1699-1777) both visited the intriguing colony, increasing botanical awareness in the area. Catesby & Bartram took samples of new plants they found and traded them with others, on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
John Bartram, the Philadelphia gardener, explorer, & botanist, regularly sent plants to English merchant & botanist Peter Collinson (1649-1768). His famous garden at Mill Hill contained many American plants.

South Carolina gardener Martha Logan ((1701-1779) carried on a lively correspondence with Philadelphia botanist John Bartram. Bartram wrote to his English mentor Peter Collinson in May of 1761, that she was “an elderly widow lady who spares no pains on cost to oblige me: her garden is her delight and she has a fine one; I was with her about 4 minutes in her company yet we contracted such a mutual correspondence that one silk bag of seed bath repast several times.” 

Dr. Alexander Garden (1746-1802), who practiced medicine in Charleston, made important contributions to plant identification later in the 18C. Garden also traded seeds & plants with others interested in botany on both sides of the Atlantic. He is most remembered for the gardenia named in his honor by Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist who established the modern system of plant classification.

Everyday gardeners, gentry & common folk, traded both useful & ornamental seeds & plants with each other regularly throughout the 18C in South Carolina.

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