David Dethero and Historic Flat Rock, Inc. dedicate a Franklinia Tree at The Preserve and Bird Sanctuary Historic Flat Rock, Inc. on April 30, 2021


The Bartram Family and the Franklinia Tree

Georgia was a British colony when in 1765 John and William Bartram observed a tree growing along the altamaha river. William returned to the area 8 years later and began his collection of seeds from this tree. He continued to collect seeds for 3 more years and then brought the seeds back to Philadelphia. William’s father died that year, 1777, and 4 years later William was able to achieve flowering trees. William named this genus Franklinia after Benjamin Franklin- a dear friend of John Bartram.

John Bartram and Benjamin Franklin wrote to each other – and most certainly Benjamin Franklin was one of the first of the revolutionaries to focus on plants when the nation was in a struggling time – plants were and continue to be the great peace makers.

Benjamin Franklin said there were 3 ways by which a nation can acquire wealth: the first is by war… this is robbery. The second by commerce which is generally cheating. The third by agriculture… the only honest way. This way of thinking gave us a country that was self-sufficient, led by farmers who discovered that the land gave them purpose, independence and a sense of fulfillment.


What does this tell us about Wes Burlingame?

Patience: the seed capsules take 12-14 months to mature. Then there is a reputation of it being difficult to cultivate. Wes knew that when things take time… the waiting is as much a delight as the end result.

Appreciation of beauty: when the pentavalved spherical capsules split above and below when they are ripe. This occurrence is one of natures most spectacular visions.

To think about a Franklinia is to think about a fragrance memory – an almost orange blossom or honeysuckle smell – a delicate fragrance that does not overpower the senses.

– Victoria Flanagan


It may be that some little root of the sacred tree still lives
                 Nourish it then
That it may leaf and bloom and fill with singing birds.
                                    Black Elk

Franklinia tree

Franklinia Tree