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‘John Bartram, the King’s Gardener’ to be presented by SAPS, ETSU Arboretum
Kirk Brown portrays the botanical life and times of the great American botanist John Bartram.

JOHNSON CITY – Award-winning designer, speaker and dramatist Kirk R. Brown will deliver his presentation, “John Bartram, the King’s Gardner,” at East Tennessee State University on Thursday, Nov. 15, at 7 p.m. in the Brown Hall auditorium.

This free public presentation is sponsored by the Southern Appalachian Plant Society (SAPS) and the ETSU Arboretum.

Dressed in a waistcoat, stylish breeches and buckled shoes, Brown will portray the life and times of the great colonial era American horticulturist, explorer and royal botanist to King George III.  As John Bartram, “the father of American botany,” he will recount the horticultural history of America as it began in Philadelphia and Penn’s Woods.

Bartram’s story traces the beginning of international plant exploration, discovery and identification.  Brown’s presentation includes tales of Bartram’s plant collection and adventures in the new American colonies, his sharing of finds with Carl Linnaeus and other European botanists, his opinions of the importance of the natural world and his friendships with Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, who found his garden a source of inquiry and pleasure.

With a background in theater, Brown took up his personifications of Bartram and landscape architect Fredrick Law Olmstead at the Perennial Plant Alliance annual meeting in Philadelphia in 2008.  He has gone on to present these “alter egos” to numerous other organizations throughout the country.

Brown is also a well-respected horticulturist, garden designer, keynote speaker, business lecturer and design class presenter.  He is the recent recipient of a Silver Award from the Garden Writers Association (GWA) in the new category of Outstanding Garden Communicator: Live Performance.  A recipient of the Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Association’s Green Achiever Award for advancing horticulture in that state, Brown served 20 years as business manager of the award-winning Joanne Kostecky Garden Design Inc. and was a recent president of GWA.

He has given keynote addresses at the Perennial Plant Association, Association of Public Gardens of America, the Smithsonian Institutions and more, and is frequently invited to speak for regional gardening organizations, churches, schools and service clubs.  He is a charter member of Great Garden Speakers.

For more information, contact SAPS at 423-348-6572 or .  For disability accommodations, call the ETSU Office of Disability Services at 423-439-8346.

Media Contact: 
Jennifer Hill


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