Bartram's Garden is the oldest surviving botanic garden in North America. Located on the West Bank of the Schuylkill River in Fairmount Park, it covers 46 acres (19 ha) and includes an historic botanical garden and arboretum (8 acres (3.2 ha), established circa 1728). The garden is near the intersection of 54th Street and Lindbergh Boulevard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Special events at the Garden include an annual spring plant sale, Mother's Day festivities, and a holiday gifts & greens sale. The John Bowman Bartram Special Collections Library contains a vast collection of documents and materials related to the history of the Garden, as well the history of Philadelphia and the development of the field of botany. The non-profit John Bartram Association operates the Garden in cooperation with the Philadelphia Department of Parks & Recreation.
The garden is on the site of noted American botanist John Bartram's stone house and farm on the Schuylkill River. He built the original house between 1728–1731; then greatly expanded it, adding a kitchen ca. 1740, and a Palladian-inspired, carved facade between 1758-1770. The house still stands, as does his original garden (circa 1728) and greenhouse (1760). Three generations of the Bartram family continued the garden as the premier collection of North American plant species in the World
The current collection contains a wide variety of native and exotic species of herbaceous and woody plants. Most were listed in the Bartrams' 1783 broadside Catalogue of American Trees, Shrubs and Herbacious Plants and subsequent editions.
The garden also contains three notable trees:
- Franklinia alatamaha - John and William Bartram discovered a small grove of this tree in October 1765 by Georgia's Altamaha River. At that time John and William—after an overnight of camping proximate to the tree (then with reddish leaves) were unsuccessful in locating any flowers or seeds. William subsequently brought seeds to the garden for planting (which he did in 1777 with John shortly before his death in September of that year). The tree was named in honor of John Bartram's friend, Benjamin Franklin. Franklinia was last seen in the wild in 1803. All Franklinia growing today are descended from those propagated and distributed by the Bartrams, and they are credited with saving it from extinction.
- Cladrastis kentukea - A notably old tree, possibly collected by French plant explorer André Michaux in Tennessee and sent to William Bartram in the 1790s.
- Ginkgo biloba - This male ginkgo is believed to be the last of three original ginkgoes introduced to the United States from China, via London, in 1785.