Son of Andrea Michaux
On this day in 1801, the botanist François-Andre Michaux returned to Charleston.
François-Andre was the son of the botanist, Andrea Michaux. His father named an oak in his honor.
Michaux's mom died just a few short weeks after he was born.
His father was so despondent that he turned to botany to deal with his grief. Given his position in France, his mentors were the top gardeners in the French Royal Gardens. The expert guidance helped Michaux accelerate his learning.
When François-Andre was 15 years old, he and his dad set sail for North America.
His father had an apparent goal for his time in America; establish a botanical garden and send specimens back to France. When they arrive, the year was 1786, and the location chosen by Michaux for the garden was on property that’s now occupied by the Charleston Area National Airport.
Today, as you leave the airport, you’ll notice a stunning mural that honors the Michaux's. It includes scenes depicting the rice fields along the Ashley River and the Charleston Harbor, where Michaux introduced one of the first camellia plants. In one panel, Andre-François and his father are depicted in the potager or kitchen garden. The mural was installed in 2016.