This essay explores notions and mechanisms of garden design in colonial and early national Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, addressing whether garden creators looked beyond the immediate region to conventions of design and design practice in the Atlantic world. Although the city was among the most prosperous and populous areas of settlement in the North American colonies by the mid-eighteenth century, information about Philadelphia gardens is remarkably slim, and thus we must contend with what this paucity conveys about them. Narratives of the inevitable progress of the garden creation process toward professionally designed, suburban landscape have tended to cast either a pejorative light on other processes or led to those processes and motives for them remaining unrecognized. In order to begin to develop other narratives of garden creation, this essay addresses the role of owners and garden-makers who differ from this model, looking at the religious ideas of early estate owners, the relationship between the British elite and garden owners, and the role of the earliest American garden artists and professional plantsmen.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 541-560
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.