Campus Arboretum

A beautiful landscape rich in history has provided a garden setting for academic life for over 100 years. William Ganong, the first director of the Botanic Garden, was fond of “lofty and graceful trees,” saying “there could never be too many of them.”

The Campus Arboretum, a living museum of woody plants, creates a pastoral environment for academic endeavors, but it is also documented and labeled for the edification and enjoyment of generations to come.

The trees and shrubs in the collection are chosen for specific reasons, following the guidelines of our collections policy. Some serve as specimen trees or they may be representatives of specific taxonomic groups. Many are rare or unusual in New England and have often been grown from seed collected around the world.

The Botanic Garden was established during a period of active plant explorations and widespread introductions of hardy plants from Asia, evident in the many mature Asian specimens on campus. The collection illustrates natural history, local history, social history, and cultural history, as well as the history of botanical exploration. Today the Smith Campus Arboretum features over 1000 trees and shrubs throughout the campus. 

One of my strongest recollections of Smith is of walking under majestic trees en route from Cutter House to the library. I think we all have a sense of some piece of the Smith landscape as having been important to us. 


Susan Cohen, Smith Class of 1962