The Biography of Your Garden: Plants, People & Peregrinations
Have you ever grown geraniums? Does Bougainvillea bloom on your balcony? Do red roses ramble over your fence? Which one could you have found in an ancient Roman garden? Which one is in your garden because ships stopped at the Cape of Good Hope? Which one is native to South America? Find the answers in this fascinating tour through history to explore the origins of our garden plants. From ancient trade routes and conquests to medieval monasteries to the Age of Exploration and modern plant collecting, we'll examine many beloved plants and the people and adventures that brought them to our gardens. Rhododendrons as tall as your house may conjure visions of lush English gardens but many of them originated in southwestern China and came to England via European missionaries. The Dutch may grow lots of tulips but Persians were the first to cultivate them. In tracing these origins, we'll also look at science’s and society’s changing understanding of plants and our relationship with them, from how we name them to why we collected them. Join Professor Rosborough for tales of people (a cross-dressing Frenchwoman!), peregrinations (Captain Cook's fatal voyage!) and the beautiful plants they have brought us.
Rob Rosborough’s very first job was in the greenhouses of the Missouri Botanical Garden, one of the premier botanical research institutions in the country. Before high school was over, he had collected orchids in Costa Rica and counted seeds for an evolutionary biologist in the Central American jungle. He studied environmental engineering at Yale and his first job during college was as a research assistant to Dr. Peter Raven, the renowned conservationist. Somehow, Rob ended up becoming a lawyer, then mediator and eventually a conflict resolution teacher at Fromm. But his interest in botany, gardens and history has endured. He now teaches about plants at Fromm, most recently about the critical role plants have played in shaping the history of civilization.