In Honor of National Apple Day: Bartram’s Garden

bartram's garden cider press

Photo of the Bartram’s Garden cider press by Flickr user 18brumaire.

The crisp autumnal spirit has finally settled into the city, and it’s no more evident than in the exuberant urge to revamp Bartram’s Garden in Southwest Philadelphia.

At 285 years old, Bartram’s Garden is one of the country’s oldest botanical gardens. However, its roots go much deeper than that–all the way back to 3,000 BCE when Native Americans intermittently settled on the land at the mercy of changing seasons.


The gardens are named for John Bartram, a Pennsylvania Quaker who moved onto the land sometime around 1728. Bartram went on to amass an extensive collection of American plant species and was responsible for "establishing a trans-Atlantic hub of plant exploration."

The estate flourished further during the 1800s under ownership of the Carrs, Bartram's granddaughter and her husband, boasting 10 greenhouses, 12 gardeners and more than 2,400 native and exotic plant species.

Today, it's this peak of beauty and value that Bartram Executive Director Maitreyi Roy wants to bring back. A restoration project of the 1 acre Carr Garden is now in process, a collaboration between the City of Philadelphia, the John Bartram Association and LRSLA Studio.

Those in a festive October mood can still visit the site since work doesn't start until next fall, but make sure not to overlook the stone apple during which you can make cider from fresh apples on the old-fashioned press. Next chance? October 26, 1pm-2pm.

Sprucing up Bartram's Garden with 18th-century look