Latest Event Updates

Kirk R Brown as John Bartram

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Announcing Kirk R Brown as one of our confirmed speakers.

Well, speaker may not be the best description. Performance artist, historian, orator may best describe Mr Brown’s presentation. If you like history, and theater, you will love how Mr Brown brings our early horticultural history to life before your eyes. You will feel that you are in the presence of John Bartram as he brings his tales and travels, as the “Father of American Botany”, alive today. You will not want to miss this special treat.

John Bartram was born near Darby PA in 1699 and died in Kingsessing, PA in 1777. Bartram’s Garden is located in Kingsessing, about 4 miles from Philadelphia along the Schuykill river and today encompasses 45 acres that is managed by the Philadelphia Parks system. The house was designated a National historic landmark in 1963.

Bartram was a Pennsylvania Quaker royally appointed by King George III as the botanist for the American colonies . His friend Benjamin Franklin and English merchant, plant lover and fellow Quaker, Peter Collinson, lobbied King George III for this honor in 1765, which he held until his death. A self taught naturalist explorer Bartram collected seeds and plant specimens traveling across eastern America and Canada. He regularly sent his “Bartram’s Boxes” to Mr Collinson. The boxes were 3 by 2 1/2 feet and contained live plants and up to 100 seed varieties packed in sand or moss. His seeds and plants went to many clients, to the royal collection at Kew Gardens, and he also contributed seeds to the Oxford and Edinburgh botanic gardens.

Thomas Jefferson was a visitor to the garden and obtained seeds for his Monticello collections.

Traveling with his son in Georgia, Bartram discovered the Franklinia alatamaha tree (named after Ben Franklin). It was never found in the wild again.
The tree would be extinct were it not for the Bartrams who propagated and distributed the tree.
After hearing Mr Brown’s presentation you will surly want to visit Bartram’s Garden.


Early PA Immigrants

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Spring weather is beginning to come and go in Pennsylvania, 50’s and sunshine one day, then snow and 30’s the next. Our tour committee members are out and about beginning to confirm and rework the very best experiences for us all. Some of the tours are sure to venture over to Amish country. So this blog will be about bit of continued history of early Pennsylvania immigrants fleeing from religious persecution.
William Penn practiced the Quaker religion, which began in England in the 1650’s. George Fox was the founder Quakers also know as “The Society of Friends”. Quakers do not have official clergy and believed in spiritual equality for both men and women. Early Quakers, who practice pacifism, did play a key role in early abolitionist and women’s rights movements. Most, but not all Quakers consider themselves Christian. Their practices vary widely without formal doctrines. They feel that everyone can experience God within themselves. Rather than churches they have meeting houses.
Pennsylvania Dutch,”Deutsch” were early German speaking immigrants to Pennsylvania They came primarily from Germany and Switzerland. And, over time, created a unique dialect of German known as Pennsylvania German or Pennsylvania Dutch.
Mennonites and Amish come from a Protestant tradition known as Anabaptist. Which means against baptism as a baby. They believed that to have a full belief and relationship with Christ one needed to make a choice to become baptized as an adult.
Amish founder Jakob Ammann believed that his followers should practice a more strict separation from the world. He and his followers broke off from the Mennonite religion founded by Menno Simons. While there are many sects of Amish and Mennonite with varied practices, they are all pacifists, not believing in war. Both share a close knit community structure. While some Mennonite may be less distinguished in their dress, hold many of the same beliefs as the Amish they tend to be somewhat less conservative in their use of technology.
Amish men who are not married are clean shaven, while married men wear beards without mustaches. Their clothing consists of solid colors, not prints which would be considered ‘fancy”, and using suspenders, hooks and eye closures. The Amish do not drive, have electricity or phones in their homes. In and around Lancaster and many parts of Pennsylvania you will see their horse and buggy transportation. They do not like photographs showing their faces, as they believe them a “graven image”. This is brief, simplistic attempt to offer some explanations of Pennsylvania’s early immigrants.

Indigenous people of Pennsylvania

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You might ask about the indigenous peoples who inhabited Pennsylvania before the European settlers arrived.  William Penn, following his Quaker beliefs, dealt with the Native Indians in a business like manner rather than through conquest.  He treated them fairly, buying land.  He even learned several Indian dialects in order to communicate with them.  The Indians and the new inhabitants of Pennsylvania remained at peace much longer than other English colonies.

Some of those Native American tribes included the Lenape, Susquehannock, Iroquois, Erie, Shawnee, Munsee, Seneca Nanticoke, Monongahela, Mohawk and others.  The Native American tribes can be seen across Pennsylvania in the naming of our cities and rivers.  To read more and also about your state…

Despite Quaker opposition to slavery, about 4,000 slaves had been brought to Pennsylvania by 1730, The Pennsylvania Gradual Abolition Act of 1780 was the first emancipation statute in the United States.

Are you familiar with the Quaker, Amish or Mennonite religions?  More on that next post.


“Digging into our Roots”

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Our conference theme is “Digging into our Roots”….horticultural and historical.  So with that in mind we start by writing about some Pennsylvania history.  Pennsylvania was one of the original 13 English colonies. The new Pennsylvania colony was given to William Penn in settlement of a debt King Charles II owed his father.
While most folks think Pennsylvania was named after William Penn, it was actually named after his father.
William wanted to name the new colony Sylvania (forest land).  But the king wanted to acknowledge Williams father, Admiral Penn.  Thus, Pennsylvania is named after William Penn’s father.
The framework government set up by William Penn implemented a democratic system with full freedom of religion.  This brought not only persecuted English, Welsh, German and Dutch Quakers,  but others were also welcomed.  German and Swiss Protestants, Scotch-Irish and Anabaptists( Mennonite, Amish, Hutterites, German Baptists) flocked to Pennsylvania to find relief from religious persecution.
Philadelphia soon became the metropolis of the British colonies and a center of intellectual and commercial life.  Philadelphia, named by William Penn, literally means brotherly love.







Welcome to our 2019 IMGC Blog

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Are you looking forward to spring as much as we are? Pennsylvania, after two mild winters has gotten hammered this year with weeks of extreme cold temperatures and more than enough snow and ice.  Thank goodness for places like Longwood in the east and Phipps Conservatory in the west so we can get away for a few hours. Orchid shows are in full swing right now.   So with spring in sight we are launching the 2019 IMCG blog.  You will find us blogging on our website with updates as we continue working on the conference offerings.   We hope this can be an interactive blog.  We welcome your comments and insights as we journey to the conference June 17-21 2019.