Gardening Topic for March 2007
The Botanic Garden of Smith College

Provided by the Western Massachusetts Master Gardener Association



By Madelaine Zadik
Manager of Education and Outreach



The Smith College campus was designed over 100 years ago as a botanic garden, to be of scientific as well as aesthetic value. The Botanic Garden has served generations of students and visitors as a place of engagement, wonder, and learning. Today the Botanic Garden serves as a living plant museum that presents and utilizes its plant collection for education, research, display, and conservation. The Garden maintains diverse plant collections in the Lyman Conservatory and the 125 acre college campus with a variety of specialty gardens, which contain over 7000 labeled and mapped plants.  Full information is available online at 

Lyman Plant House:

Open daily 8:30 am to 4:00 pm, Bulb Show Hours 10:00 am - 4:00 pm (Closed Thanksgiving Day and December 22 - January 1) Lyman Conservatory: One of the few remaining plant conservatories in the United States built in the 19th century, core greenhouses dating from 1895, built by Lord & Burnham. Spring Bulb Show  is March 3 - 18, 2007, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm, Fridays March 9 & 16, 6:00-8:00 pm Members-only hours 9:00 am - 10 am Fall Chrysanthemum Show is November 3 - 18, 2007, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm Church Exhibition Gallery: Changing education displays March 3, 2007 - December 21, 2007  The World in a Garden Conservatory Collection: 12,000 square feet containing approximately 1500 different species. Collections include succulents, ferns, tropicals, subtropicals, and epiphytes, arranged biogeographically.

Campus Gardens and Arboretum:

Campus Arboretum: Features over 1100 woody trees and shrubs spread throughout the campus. Systematics Garden: Plants are arranged taxonomically for study, and displays 32 plant families, approximately 950 species. Rock Garden: Established in 1897 by William Ganong and Edward Canning it contains over 1800 alpine species. Modeled on the Rock Garden at Kew it exhibits outcrop, moraine, and scree rock formations of alpine habitats. St it’s peak from early April to mid-May. Ruth Brown Richardson ’13 Memorial Perennial Border: Planted in 1984 for purely ornamental purposes, along the fence bordering College Lane. President’s Residence Garden: Includes a formal Herb Garden. Wildflower and Woodland Garden: Situated along the ravine behind the President’s House. Japanese Garden for Reflection and Contemplation: Design by David Slawson in 1986. to present the harmony and serenity of a traditional Japanese garden, while tying it to the New England landscape by using native flora and rocks. Capen Garden: A quiet garden space across Elm Street on other side of campus, this garden was recently renovated and is used as an outdoor laboratory for horticulture students. and includes a formal knot and gazebo garden, and a fountain donated by the Friends of the Botanic Garden.

Tours and Group Visits: For more information see 

Guided tours *Free guided tours are offered for school groups and non-profit organizations. Please call (413) 585-2742 or e-mail: at least four weeks in advance to schedule your tour. For groups visiting without a tour, please call four two ahead to schedule. Audio tours * Audio tour of the Lyman Conservatory are $1 per person, free for Friends of the Botanic Garden and anyone with a Smith ID (Sorry, no audio tours during the Spring Bulb Show)

Volunteers For more information see 

Volunteers at the Botanic Garden lead tours through the greenhouses and gardens and staff our reception area and exhibition gallery, develop educational materials, provide hospitality for events such as the opening of the bulb show, and assist with exhibitions. Please note, volunteers do NOT do any hands-on horticultural work. (Union rules simply do not permit it.) Volunteer training sessions are held once a year for three days in January, followed by training tours and monthly meetings. For more information about volunteering call 413-585-2742 or email  .

Membership Members of the Friends of the Botanic Garden enjoy many benefits and know they are supporting a worthy cause. Member benefits include: A copy of Celebrating a Century: The Botanic Garden of Smith College by C. John Burk Botanic Garden News (  ), the biannual newsletter, including a Calendar of Events Members-only hours at the Spring Bulb Show 10% discount on Botanic Garden merchandise Free audio tours of the Lyman Conservatory Free admission and discounts at 200 other gardens around the country. Join online or print out an application form at:

For other articles, check out our archives

Provided by the Western Massachusetts Master Gardener Association