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Dr. Marcia Balisciano, Director, Benjamin Franklin House, London

Andrea is a compelling storyteller. She brings the history of a passionate group of botanists, gardeners, philosophers, and more to life, making the tale relevant to us today. We were so pleased with her talk on the Brother Gardeners, that we have invited her to be our keynote speaker for our annual symposium in 2011 focused on Franklin, science, and history!

Dawn Kemp

Chelsea Physic Garden February 2011

Andrea Wulf is a great speaker for lay or academic audiences. At Chelsea Physic Garden she took us on a trip to the making of modern America. Evidencing how the political philosophy of the first four Presidents of the USA was shaped by their shared interests in horticulture and botany and their appreciation of the country’s vast and unique natural bounty. Andrea introduced us to characters, places, events and ideas that she had encountered on her own journey of enquiry and research. She has the gift of the good historian: by offering a convincing interpretation, through revisiting afresh well used primary sources and investigating new and less orthodox materials, she rekindles debate. The audience was captivated by the story and Andrea’s expansive answers to a wide range of questions served to support further her erudition.

Andrea Wulf is a charismatic and engaging speaker, generous too in finding and making local links. In our case the connection of Chelsea Physic Garden was wonderfully highlighted when Andrea told us that one of the books Washington most referenced and which was open on his desk, at his home at Mount Vernon, on the day he died was The Gardener’s Dictionary, written by Philip Miller, head gardener at Chelsea Physic Garden from 1722 to 1771. That Miller’s lifetime of work with plants at this tiny, barely four acre, corner of west London, may have influenced the founding of the most powerful country on earth, reminded this audience member of the sudden frisson the connectedness of history can create. Andrea Wulf communicates beautifully, through small detail like this, how even the most complex of deep histories is often driven by a search for meaning through our relationship to nature and perhaps, even, a simple human longing to make things grow.

Dawn Kemp. Manager, Chelsea Physic Garden

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  • I'm an award-winning writer of seven books, including "The Invention of Nature" and “Founding Gardeners”. My new book "Magnificent Rebels. The First Romantics and the Invention of the Self" was to great acclaim in 2022. I lecture widely across the world. Click here for a short bio and here for a list of awards. Contact: andrea (at) andreawulf.com

    Andrea Wulf 3

    photo credit (c) Antonina Gern