When history comes alive, awe for past people and events is sometimes lost in bouts of book-burning. Today's Groupon safely reanimates history with horticultural wonderment: for $18, you get a guided tour of the house, a tour of the garden, and a watercolor art workshop at Bartram's Garden on 54th Street and Lindbergh Boulevard (up to a $38 total value).
Crafted by naturalist John Bartram in 1728 on the scenic Schuylkill River, Bartram's Garden was the first botanic garden devoted to American plant life, and, at more than 280 years old, it remains the country's oldest living verdant emporium. The garden is blooming with a variety of indigenous plants, including the oldest ginkgo tree in North America and the extremely rare franklinia, named for Ben Franklin, oft-overlooked inventor of the odometer and the dairy cow. The National Historic Landmark Bartram house, built in 1731 with stones quarried by Bartram and renovated throughout the 18th century, bursts with timeless architecture, inscriptions, and secret portals to Gregorian greenhouse disco parties.
Budding artists and plant enthusiasts can partake in The Art of Nature workshop, during which participants create a hue-filled watercolor of flora on the 45 acres of Bartram's estate. The workshop, for those age 12 and older, has its origins in William Bartram's own nature drawings, the rarest of which is a scratch-and-sniff that smells like eternity. A minimum of 10 people must be present at The Art of Nature class, so grab some pals or your most dexterous and expressive houseplants and call in advance to schedule your tour and workshop.