7 Main Line Area Arboretums and Gardens to Visit this Spring

From iconic gardens to hidden gems, the region is replete with natural oases.



Barnes Arboretum. Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Daderot.

Barnes Arboretum

This hidden gem, located in Merion, sits on 12 acres and boasts over 2,500 varieties of plants, some of which date back to the 1880s. The property was home to the Barnes family, who cultivated the land, and curated and augmented the species previously assembled there by Captain Joseph Lapsley Wilson. The Barnes Arboretum is open from May through September and includes a peony and lilac collection, an herbarium, and a medical plant garden. Keep an eye out for the blooming magnolia collection in spring.

300 N. Latch’s Lane, Merion. (215) 278-7360.

Chanticleer Garden. Photo by Lisa Roper/Chanticleer Garden. 

Chanticleer Garden

Once home to the Rosengarten family, this Wayne estate’s gardens are now open to the public during the warmer months of the year, and the house can be toured by appointment. Today, 14 gardeners and groundskeepers maintain the immaculate grounds. Spend a lazy day strolling through Bell’s Woodland, which showcases North American forest plants, the teacup garden, Asian Woods and more. In spring, be sure to explore the Bulb Meadow, which boasts Spanish bluebells and daffodils. The Cut-Flower Garden is also a treat in late spring, as foxgloves and hollyhocks add pops of color to the landscape and draw butterflies and birds.

786 Church Road, Wayne. (610) 687-4163.

Jenkins Arboretum and Gardens. Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Daderot

Jenkins Arboretum and Gardens

Explore a robust collection of trees, shrubs and wildflowers at Jenkins Arboretum and Gardens. The romantic grounds have an equally sweet beginning: The home and property, originally a wedding gift for H. Lawrence and Elisabeth Phillippe Jenkins, were later established as a foundation in Elisabeth’s name by her husband. Elisabeth was an avid gardener, and today the arboretum has more than doubled to 46 acres.  Explore the walking trails, botanical garden, and the rhododendrons and azaleas collection, which hail from around the globe. In spring, expect to see snowdrops, Virginia bluebells and wild tulips in bloom.

631 Berwyn Baptist Road, Devon. (610) 647-8870.


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Longwood Gardens. Photo by Larry Albee/Longwood Gardens. 

Longwood Gardens

Perhaps the best known garden in the whole state, Longwood Gardens boasts over 1,000 acres of meadows, fountain gardens, a conservatory and more. Bequeathed for public use by Pierre du Pont, the gardens are spectacular in all seasons, but the grounds really come alive in spring. Plan a visit in April to experience the Spring Blooms display, when more than 240,000 tulips push their way through the ground to saturate the Idea Garden and Flower Garden Walk in color. Elsewhere, look for blooming wisteria and flowering cherries.

1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square. (610) 388-1000.

 

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Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College

Adjacent to Swarthmore College’s campus, Scott Arboretum has 425 acres of trees, hiking trails and hills. Best known for its hollies, magnolias and oaks, the arboretum also boasts collections of conifers, cherries, hollies and hydrangeas. Many of the species found on the grounds are representative of the Delaware Valley’s native flora.

500 College Ave., Swarthmore. (610) 328-8025.

Stoneleigh. Photo by Mae Axelrod/Stoneleigh. 

Stoneleigh

Created over the past two years by Natural Lands, this garden will debut on May 13, 2018. Like many area estates, Stoneleigh has a long history, dating back to 1877. The property was augmented and changed hands over the year, always with attention to the gardens and grounds. For 80 years, the home belonged to the Haas family, who left it to be conserved and enjoyed by the public. When it opens, visitors can explore the Tudor Revival mansion and the stunning grounds.

Tyler Arboretum. Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Daderot.

Tyler Arboretum

This historic arboretum dates back to 1681. For nearly 300 years, the land was farmed by the same family, two members of which—Minshall and Jacob Painter—had a particular interest in studying nature, collecting everything from rocks to dried plants. In 1825, they began planting trees and shrubs, creating an early foundation for what would become the arboretum. Today, the arboretum is open year-round. In spring look for bulbs like crocuses, daffodils, hellebores, plus magnolias, rhododendrons and azaleas.

515 Painter Road, Media. (610) 566-9134.

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