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Arboretums: Four to visit in Delaware County

A Song Sparrow sings for Spring to come soon.
A Song Sparrow sings for Spring to come soon.
Kathy Martin (

Delaware County, often recognized for traffic challenges, also includes tranquil spaces to align with nature. Stop and visit these four arboretums for pause, and the peace, and perhaps inspiration for your own garden plans.

Acres of tranquility

The oldest and largest of this grouping is Scott Arboretum in Swarthmore. Established in 1929, it spreads across 300 acres. Situated in a very picturesque college, Scott Arboretum offers extensive collections of ornamental plants, shrubs, trees and vines. It was established as a living memorial to Arthur Hoyt Scott of the class of 1895. In his memory, his wife defined the arboretum mission to display plants that are suited for home gardens in this area and educate the public. Centered in the Swarthmore College Campus, the grounds include an outdoor amphitheater, whispering bench and cherry trees making it a frequent wedding site. Tour brochures and complete collection maps are available from their website. [500 College Ave., Swarthmore, PA 19081; 610-328-8025]. Not far south, Taylor Memorial Arboretum in Wallingford is another place to be inspired. Established in 1931 by Chester lawyer, Joshua C. Taylor, many of the collections were planted between 1951 and 1959. The 30 acres features state champion Giant Dogwood, Korea Juniper and Lacebark Elm as the largest of their species in the state. The arboretum also segregates several areas for specific wildlife habitats with frequent sightings of deer, red fox, squirrels and chipmunks, as well as, blue heron, red-tailed hawks and mallard ducks. Open year-round from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. [100 Ridley Drive Wallingford, PA 19086; 610-876-2649].

Main Line Pair

Along the Main Line, ever so bustling, are two arboretums hidden from sight. American College Arboretum in Bryn Mawr has been established for nearly 40 years, and worthy of a stop. Carefully developed as an arboretum, 600 trees of wide variety are pleasantly laid out to invite a stroll or a picnic. The buildings, designed by renowned architect Aldo Giurgola, are positioned to create a frame of open space and accent by the small interior valley and pond amidst its 30 acre spread. The grounds are open year-round from dawn until dusk. Free. [270 S. Bryn Mawr Ave. Bryn Mawr, PA 19010; 610-526-1228]. Jenkins Arboretum and Gardens in Devon provides a naturalistic landscape so near the Main Line, yet far enough to preserve 48 years acres spread. A mile of paved walkways winds through woodlands and native wildflowers, as well as, featured collections of rhododendrons, azaleas and mountain laurel. It may be however, the impressive vista of Valley Forge Mountain and the Valley Forge National Historic Park from its rare remaining hardwood forest, that clarify just how close you are, and yet how far away you feel. Serving to stand as a model for environmental stewardship, the newly constructed John J Willaman Education Center coordinates a surprisingly wide variety of programs, year round, for the community. Open daily from 8 a.m. to sunset, with free admission, Jenkins Arboretum is a delicate flower to be enjoyed and preserved. [631 Berwyn Baptist Road Devon, PA 19333; 610-647-8870]