About the Botanic Garden

The Botanic Garden of Smith College was founded over one hundred years ago by Laurenus Clarke Seelye, the College's first president, with the hope that the whole campus could be developed as a botanic garden so that it might be of scientific as well as aesthetic value. The landscape architecture firm of Frederick Law Olmsted, of Central Park fame, was enlisted to create that plan. 

Today the Botanic Garden serves as a living museum of plants native to New England and ecosystems around the globe. The Garden encompasses the 12,000 square foot Lyman Conservatory and Church Exhibition Gallery, the campus arboretum, and a variety of specialty gardens, including the Rock Garden, Systematics Garden, Capen Garden, and the Mary Maples Dunn Hillside Garden. The outdoor gardens and greenhouses are open to the public year-round. 

What is a botanical garden?

A botanical garden is a collection of plants that are scientifically ordered and maintained, documented, and labeled, for research, conservation, public education, and enjoyment.