One of the gems of Philadelphia is the former estate of John Bartram, a world-renowned botanist and buddy of Ben Franklin (who flew his kite there, I gather). Back in the day, his garden along the Schuykill River was filled with rare and interesting plants collected from different regions of the colonies, had a heated greenhouse, and was a destination for anyone of import who happened to be in the area. The garden and buildings today survive on a small patch of the former property, an island amid urban squalor and decaying industrial sites. You can drive there, but I took a boat from downtown Philadelphia (visit www.schuylkillbanks.org for details). In case you are too far away to do the same, some photographs are below (mouseover reveals description; click to see larger). The most notable part of the house tour was the thriving population of camel crickets on the ceiling. The tour guide was annoyed that everyone was so interested in them. If you’re in the area and want to go, get details at bartramsgardens.org. The anniversary of his death is this Sunday (September 22nd).