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Bordentown Historical Society’s horticulture series comes to a close this month with two events

The Bordentown Historical Society is scheduled to serve as the host of two special events in August as part of its ongoing “How Does your Garden Grow?” exhibition series.

In conjunction with the closing of the historical society’s horticulture spring and summer exhibition series, residents will have the opportunity to learn about gardens in France as well as participate in a nature walk around Point Breeze with both events headed by notable horticulture professionals.

The exhibition series so far has featured multiple historical individuals’ contributions of horticulture and landscaping styles made famous today around the world and Bordentown such as the history and works of Joseph Bonaparte, Harris Hammond, Edmund Sturtevant, Franklin Carr and Charles David Walker.

Both August programs are scheduled to take place at the Divine Word Missionaries on Park Street.

On Aug. 3, Richard Allen, a Burlington County master gardener who studied French at the Alliance Francaise in Philadelphia, will present a power point presentation on beautiful gardens throughout France. Light treats of French origin will be served. The event is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.

On Aug. 17, Pat Coleman, a member of the Friends for the Abbott Marshlands, will conduct an informative nature and tree walk of the former Point Breeze grounds and reflect upon the picturesque style landscape that once existed here under the direction of Joseph Bonaparte. Coleman is also a Naturalist for the Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve and conducts nature tours there too. Her specialty is on native plants.

The recent exhibition series has been led by Bordentown Historical Society Co-President Doug Kiovsky, who felt the group’s efforts to explore new themes for their exhibits as well as syncing them up with the season to attract various audiences to their Friends’ Meeting House building along Farnsworth Avenue.

As the “How Does Your Garden Grow?” series comes to a conclusion this month, Kiovksy said that its finals two events provide a unique opportunity for patrons interested in not only learning more about horticulture, but its prominence toward Bordentown as well.

Kiovsky explained that both events will feature background information about Joseph-Napoleon Bonaparte, a French diplomat, nobleman and the brother of the famous Napoleon Bonaparte, who once occupied a residency in Bordentown.

Bonaparte who was not only the older brother of the legendary Napoleon Bonaparte, but was once King of Naples, Sicily, then Spain in the early 1800s.

Bonaparte lived primarily in the United States from 1817–32, initially in New York City and Philadelphia, but later moved to an estate in Point Breeze in Bordentown where he entertained the high intellectuals and politicians of his day. The home was located near the confluence of Crosswicks Creek and the Delaware River.

During Bonaparte’s Bordentown occupancy, several of world history’s most valuable artifacts and artworks could be found at his estate as well, including Jacques-Louis David’s famous painting of Napoleon.

Throughout his occupancy at the estate, historians said Bonaparte upgraded the property with multiple enhancements such as adding extensive gardens. When his first home was destroyed by fire in 1820 he converted his stables into a second grand house.

Kiovsky said that these two upcoming events for the historical society may provide the opportunity to further inform residents of Bonaparte’s connection to the Bordentown area.

“The event [with Richard Allen] is important because it ties in with the essence of the picturesque landscaping style that was unique because Joseph Bonaparte didn’t just introduce this style to Bordentown but to America as well,” Kiovsky said. “To make sure that his European flare in horticulture was noticed, he commissioned artists like Thomas Birch and Karl Bodmer to paint idyllic scenes of Point Breeze and its views.

“The landscape was considered a genuine work of art probably on the same level as his priceless art collection. [Allen’s] power point presentation will demonstrate some of the estate gardens where Bonaparte received his inspiration,” Kiovsky added.

For the nature walk, the historical society co-president said the event will take participants on an educational journey through areas directly connected to the French historical figure.

“The event [with Pat Coleman] will be informative because it will be a tour of the grounds showing some of the natural land features that Bonaparte viewed and envisioned with carriage bridges, statutes, fountains and informal gardens,” he said. “Several trees on the former estate that still exist were purchased from nurseries in the Philadelphia area and planted by Bonaparte himself.

“The tour will talk about some of those trees and their prominence in nature as well as the woodland creatures that benefit from them,” he added.

People with any questions on events or event info are asked to contact Doug Kiovsky via email at  georgesilverfox@aol.com.

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