Author Andrea Wulf Presents “The Brother Gardeners” May 4 at Adkins Arboretum

Learn how a small group of 18th-century naturalists made England a nation of gardeners when author Andrea Wulf presents “The Brother Gardeners: Botany, Empire, and the Birth of an Obsession” Tues., May 4 at Adkins Arboretum. The hour-long program begins at 4 p.m. and is followed by a reception to meet the author.

In her beautifully illustrated talk, Wulf tells the story of a garden revolution that began in American with the farmer John Bartram sent hundreds of boxes filled with seeds that would transform the English landscape forever. There’s also Peter Collinson, a Quaker merchant; Philip Miller, author of the Gardeners Dictionary; the cantankerous Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus; and Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander, who joined Captain Cook’s Endeavour on the greatest voyage of discovery in modern times.

Together they introduced the lustrous evergreens, fiery autumn foliage and colorful shrubs that shaped the Georgian landscape; they brought science and rational thought to horticulture; and they risked their lives to find new exotic blooms and towering trees. Friends, rivals and enemies, their correspondence, collaborations and squabbles make for a riveting human drama set against the backdrop of the emerging British Empire and America’s magnificent forests. As botany and horticulture became a science, the garden became the Eden for everyman.

Trained as a design historian at the Royal College of Art in London and now a full-time writer, Wulf is the author of two books and has written for the Sunday Times, Financial Times, The Garden and Architects’ Journal. She regularly writes reviews for The Guardian, Times Literary Supplement, and the Mail on Sunday and also works as a creative writer for a new botanic garden in Singapore. Wulf’s book The Brother Gardeners is a recipient of the 2010 American Horticultural Society Book Award.

The program is $15 for Arboretum members and $18 for the general public. Pre-registration is required. Register online at, call 410-634-2847, ext. 0 or e-mail

Adkins Arboretum is a 400-acre living museum, native garden and preserve at the headwaters of the Tuckahoe Creek in Caroline County. Open year round, the Arboretum offers educational programs for all ages about nature and gardening. Through its Campaign to Build a Green Legacy, the Arboretum will build a new LEED-certified Arboretum Center and entranceway to broaden educational offerings and research initiatives promoting best practices in conservation and land stewardship. For additional information about Arboretum programs, or call 410-634-2847, ext. 0.