Visit Bartram’s Garden (5400 Lindbergh Blvd.) this summer to see a new feature: the Ann Bartram Carr Garden, the only 19th-century flower garden in Philadelphia. The Ann Bartram Carr Garden is the result of a transformative $2.7-million project and marks the first major garden restoration at Bartram’s Garden in nearly a century. Bartram’s Garden, including the new Ann Bartram Carr Garden, is free to those who wish to explore on their own from dawn to dusk. Bartram's Garden is open year-round, with the exception of City-observed holidays.
The Ann Bartram Carr Garden creates a welcoming new entrance as Bartram’s Garden takes its place as a premier river destination in the city. The arrival of the Bartram’s Mile trail, a project led by the City of Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation and the Schuylkill River Development Corporation, and the Garden’s growing presence as a destination for the Southwest Philadelphia community, provides more than 50,000 Philadelphians with access to nature and recreation each year.
ABOUT THE ANN BARTRAM CARR GARDEN
Located to the west of the historic 1731 John Bartram House, the Ann Bartram Carr Garden was established as an exhibition garden by Ann and her husband, Colonel Robert Carr. It was also the first public green space at Bartram’s Garden, showcasing fashionable exotics that the Carrs imported from Asia as well as Ann’s own hybrid dahlias and camellias. In the new garden, visitors will also be able to enjoy latticed cross vine and passionflower, boxwood-edged beds, roses, peonies, nicotiana, and bright bedding annuals to provide color all summer long.
Says Bartram’s Garden Executive Director Maitreyi Roy, “To me, Ann Bartram Carr remains important because she opened Bartram’s Garden up to the general public and spread the importance of horticulture and open spaces—ideals that are still dear to us 200 years later. She was also one of the first women to run a gardening business in our young nation, carrying on until 1850. Ann taught her visitors and customers about the need for beautiful plants and open spaces in their lives, paralleling a time when heavy industry was blossoming in the Philadelphia area.”
“This new garden reconnects us to the Bartram spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation,” adds Maitreyi (pronounced my-tray). “It further complements recent improvements to the National Historic Landmark Bartram House, which received a new roof, geothermal climate control systems, and historic features this past winter.”
To celebrate the opening of the Ann Bartram Carr Garden, new guided tours of the house and garden will highlight critical conservation work as well the Bartram’s Mile project that will eventually connect Bartram’s Garden with the Schuylkill River Trail and revolutionize access between Southwest Philadelphia and Center City. Tours are offered Thursdays through Sundays from noon to 4 pm until December.
Financial assistance provided by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Honorable Tom Wolf; City of Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation; Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority; Philadelphia Department of Commerce; Pennsylvania Coastal Zone Management Program; Dorrance H. Hamilton; The McLean Contributionship; Jane G. Pepper; and anonymous donors.
ABOUT BARTRAM’S GARDEN: WHAT WILL YOU SEE?
Bartram’s Garden is a 45-acre National Historic Landmark, operated by the John Bartram Association in cooperation with Philadelphia Parks and Recreation. It is a destination and an outdoor classroom, living laboratory, and membership organization for ever-expanding audiences—over 50,000 visitors each year and counting. We invite you to come here to learn, connect, celebrate, and discover a shared, greener future.
Bartram’s Garden offers hands-on activities for all ages, children’s classes, urban farming and community gardening, and family recreation. We have a calendar filled with community celebrations and special events, from outdoor movies and concerts to horticulture lessons and paddling on the river. There are so many things to see and do at Bartram’s Garden. Your passports are curiosity and a passion for nature and fun.
The John Bartram Association’s mission is to protect and enhance the landmark Bartram’s Garden and House; advance the Bartram legacy of discovery, gardening, and art; and inspire audiences of all ages to care for the natural world.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE BARTRAM FAMILY
John Bartram (1699-1777) was a third-generation Pennsylvania Quaker, born in nearby Darby and imbued with a curiosity and reverence for nature, as well as a passion for scientific inquiry. Bartram purchased 102 acres from Swedish settlers in 1728, and systematically began gathering the most varied collection of North American plants in the world.
His travels—by boat, on horseback, and on foot—took him to New England, as far south as Florida, and west to Lake Ontario. He collected seeds and plant specimens, and established a trans-Atlantic hub of plant exploration through his exchanges with London merchant Peter Collinson. In 1765, Bartram was appointed as “Royal Botanist” by England’s king, George III.
Following in his father’s footsteps, William Bartram (1739-1823) continued to explore and discover native American plants. An important naturalist, artist, and author in his own right, William traveled the American South from 1773 to 1776 under the patronage of Dr. John Fothergill. William’s landmark book, Travels, first published in 1791, found an eager audience in Europeans seeking more information about the untamed American landscapes. His drawings and meticulous observations about people and plants made Travels an instant classic of naturalist literature.
From 1810 onward, Ann Bartram Carr (1779-1858), a daughter of John Bartram, Jr., continued the family garden. Ann was educated by her uncle William and inherited his skill for illustration and the family passion for plants. With her husband, Colonel Robert Carr (1778-1866), the international trade in seeds and plants continued.
During the Carr era, the garden was enlarged and, at its peak, featured ten greenhouses and a collection of over 1,400 native plant species and as many as 1,000 exotics. Financial difficulties led to the sale of the family garden by the Carrs in 1850. The property was purchased by industrial Andrew Eastwick and preserved it, until the City of Philadelphia took over the property and the nonprofit John Bartram Association was formed in 1893—a partnership that thrives to this day.
Bartram’s Garden welcomes everyone to explore, connect to nature, participate in programs, celebrate personal journeys, relax, reflect, and experience something new.
The grounds are free and open to the public year-round, dawn to dusk, except on City-observed holidays. Please call 215-729-5281 with questions.
The garden is accessible by the #36 trolley. Parking is free and bicycle racks are also available. Detailed driving directions are available here, or type “5400 Lindbergh Boulevard Philadelphia” into your GPS.
During warmer weather, you can also take a Schuylkill River cruise to Bartram’s Garden, to and from Center City, aboard Patriot Harbor Lines, LLC. Click here for ticket information.
For a more in-depth experience, guided tours are offered Thursday through Sunday of both the National Historic Landmark Bartram House and Garden. Click here for our guided tour schedule.
When you arrive, make the Welcome Center your first stop to pick up a map and purchase your guided tour tickets. Refreshments, souvenirs, plants and Bartram books are also available for purchase at the Welcome Center.