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While Jefferson only dirtied his hands for a scientific experiment like this, Adams stood in a pile of compost that was rising in his yard seemingly one of his most favorite spots, because no other subject was mentioned so frequently in his diary that summer. In fact, the only correspondence that Adams thought worth noting at all was a letter about a "report on manures" from Britain, which Jefferson, Madison and Washington also had received.

Mundane as it seems, manure was of the greatest concern to all four of them, for one of the reasons why yields in the United States of America were declining so drastically was the lack of manuring. Since the first settlers had arrived in the early seventeenth century, American farmers had let their livestock roam freely in the forests, where they scattered their manure miles away from the fields. Over the years Adams had experimented extensively with dung, mixing it with mud, lime and seaweed, which was easily available from the nearby shore.

One of the most charming images from Adams's life-and proof of how different he was from the powdered and bejeweled diplomats in Europe-was his close investigation of a manure heap just outside London. Teasing apart the straw and dung, the American Minister to the court at St. James's Palace "carefully examined" the stinking pile and clearly didn't mind the muck on his hands.

He noted the exact contents and ingredients, before announcing with glee that it was "not equal to mine. Read the Revolution is published biweekly by the Museum of the American Revolution to inspire learning about the history of the American Revolution and its ongoing relevance. To learn more about the Museum's plans for a national museum in Philadelphia that will tell the complete story of the Revolution, click here.


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Founding Gardeners: The Revolutionary Generation, Nature, and the Shaping of the American Nation

Expand Mobile Search Search form Search. Menu Ticket Tickets. Read the Revolution. Buy the Book. History May 11, Founding Gardeners Ordinarily when we think of the Founding Fathers Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Adams we picture powdered wigs and quill pens—not experimental farmers examining handfuls of manure with glee.

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Browse by Category Browse by Category Adrenaline Biography Fantasy Fiction Historical Fiction Horror Humor Inspirational International Kids Wulf traces the birth of the modern environmental movement back beyond Thoreau and Muir to the founding fathers' passion for nature and plants. She is a writer of considerable grace and breadth of vision, and Founding Gardeners is an excellent portrait of the early years of the federal republic.

It will delight the general reader. Wulf combines a sure knowledge of garden history and 18th-centry politics with a keen eye for domestic detail and evocative description. By focusing the grand narrative of early America on four individuals, she writes the best kind of popular history.

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Delightful, enlightened reading. Breaks new ground. Wulf's delectable anecdotal approach. She lives in London.

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FOUNDING GARDENERS by Andrea Wulf | Kirkus Reviews

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