Barnes Foundation Arboretum Opens to the Public on Weekends Beginning May 9, 2014

Barnes Foundation Arboretum Opens to the Public on Weekends Beginning May 9, 2014

Highlights include newly-renovated tea house and 31 State Champion Trees

Philadelphia PA (May 4, 2014)—Beginning May 9, 2014, the Arboretum of the Barnes Foundation will be open for public visitation Fridays through Sundays, 10 am to 4 pm. General admission tickets are $5, tickets are free for Barnes Foundation members. Guided tours are available Fridays at 11 am and Saturdays and Sundays at 1 pm.  Tours are $15 for the general public and $12 for members and include admission. Book tickets or tours online at or call 215.278.7200. The Barnes Arboretum is located at 300 Latch’s Lane, Merion PA.

“We are pleased to be able to open the Arboretum to the public on weekends over the summer,” said Margaret Zminda, Interim Director of the Barnes Foundation. “The gardens are beautiful and there are many historic and rare plants to see. During the week we also have a wide range of programs, classes and workshops for enthusiasts of every age to enjoy.”

In 1922, when Dr. Albert Barnes and his wife Laura bought the property that became the Arboretum, it was already well known for the collection of unusual specimen trees that its previous owner, Joseph Lapsley Wilson, had started assembling in the 1880s. The site became the home of Barnes’s educational foundation, and Wilson stayed on as the first director of its Arboretum.

While Barnes concentrated on building and refining the Foundation’s art collection, Laura Barnes devoted herself to developing the Arboretum for more than 40 years. Her legacy lives on in rolling lawns surrounded by rare specimen trees from around the world, mature woodlands, a teahouse overlooking a pond, formal gardens, and in the Arboretum School that she founded in 1940. Although at 12 acres, the entire arboretum can be easily walked in a visit, its magnificent collection, astonishingly large and diverse for the size of the property, is worth lingering over: 3,000 unusual species of woody plants, including collections of Stewartia, Aesculus, Phellodendron, Clethra, Magnolia, Viburnum, and Lilac, as well as 31 state champion trees. Other collections include roses, peonies, hostas, medicinal plants, and over 200 hardy ferns. Made up of her favorite types of plants, the collection was also assembled by Mrs. Barnes specifically for teaching purposes. A herbarium of more than 10,000 specimens complements the living collection and is available to the Foundation’s horticulture students and other scholars by appointment.

Arboretum Summer Programs

Register online at or by calling (215) 278-7373

Guided Tours
Fridays, 11:00 am- Noon
Saturdays and Sundays, 1 pm
Dr. and Mrs. Barnes spent decades developing the Barnes Arboretum into a living laboratory of rare plant specimens from all over the world. This guided tour not only explores the Arboretum as a remarkable example of early 20th century landscape design, it also provides a perspective on the personalities and collecting philosophies of its founder. $15; members $12.

Succulent Wreath Making
Thursday, May 15
6:00- 7:30 pm
Learn how to craft a wreath made of succulents, intriguing drought proof plants available in a wide array of colors, shapes, and textures. The living wreath you make will live for years with minimal care, growing more beautiful with time. All materials included for a 14” wreath, which participants will take home.
$55; members $49. 

Roses: Lust and Innocence
Wednesday, May 28
10 am-noon
Did you know that as a complement to their famous art collection, Dr. and Mrs. Barnes built their twelve acre Arboretum, into the home of a fascinating collection of over 3,000 rare plants? Tour this special landscape, which includes extensive collections of lilacs, peonies, magnolias, and a classic rose garden. Following the tour, enjoy a discussion about the history of the rose, which has been a powerful symbol of lust, virginity, and the blood of innocents in Western culture for 2,000 years. Trace the path of this beloved plant and its role in society as it crisscrossed the world, changing shape and form as it traveled.
$25; members $22.

Family Flower Day at the Barnes Arboretum
Sunday, June 1, 11 am–2 pm
Rain date: June 8
Art and nature collide in a rainbow of colors during this special member-only family program that features an array of exciting demonstrations, tours, and activity stations. Fun forms abound when you decorate a blossom bag, sculpt a flower arrangement, and paint a floral and fruit arrangement.  Take a guided tour and bring a picnic lunch to enjoy.
Members only. Reservations required.


Horticulture education

Generations of horticulturists have trained in the Barnes Foundation’s three-year, integrated, horticulture certificate program which has been in continuous operation since 1940. It offers a comprehensive approach to the science and methods of horticulture and design. Aesthetics and the practical application of knowledge are emphasized in all coursework. The arboretum and greenhouse serve as the program’s laboratories.

During the 28-week academic year, students spend one full day each week on campus. Coursework is divided between classroom lectures, studio work, and fieldwork. The program is geared toward students with a serious interest in horticulture, but no horticultural experience is required for enrollment. To learn more about the certificate program, contact or call 215.278.7373.


About the Barnes Foundation

The Barnes Foundation was established by Albert C. Barnes in 1922 to "promote the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts and horticulture." The Barnes has one of the finest collections of post-impressionist and early modern paintings, with extensive holdings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Henri Rousseau, Amedeo Modigliani, Chaim Soutine, and Giorgio de Chirico; American masters Charles Demuth, William Glackens, Horace Pippin, and Maurice Prendergast; old master paintings; African sculpture; Native American ceramics, jewelry and textiles; American paintings and decorative arts; and antiquities from the Mediterranean and Asia.

The Barnes Foundation's Art and Aesthetics programs engage diverse audiences. These programs, on-site, online, and in Philadelphia communities, advance the mission through progressive interdisciplinary teaching and learning.          

In May 2012, the Barnes Foundation opened a new facility on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects. The Philadelphia campus is home to the Foundation’s world-famous art collection and changing exhibitions in its 5,000-square-foot Roberts Gallery. Upcoming exhibitions include: The World Is an Apple: The Still Lifes of Paul Cezanne, June 22-September 22, 2014, and William Glackens, November 8, 2014-February 2, 2015.

The Barnes Arboretum is located at 300 N. Latch’s Lane, Merion PA, 19066. It contains more than 3,000 varieties of trees and woody plants, including 31 state champion trees. Founded in the 1880s by Joseph Lapsley Wilson and expanded under the direction of Laura Barnes, the collection includes a fern-leaf beech (Fagus sylvatica 'Laciniata'), a dove tree (Davidia involucrata), a monkey-puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana), and a redwood (Sequoia sempervirens). Other important living collections include lilacs, peonies, Stewartias, and magnolias. Inaugurated in 1940 by Mrs. Barnes, the Arboretum School offers a comprehensive three-year certificate course in botanical science, horticultural practice, garden aesthetics, and design. The Foundation’s archives are also located at the Merion campus.


The Barnes Foundation
Jan Rothschild, Senior Vice President for Communications

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