Saturday, February 8, 2014

Another New Resource: List of Selected U.S. Arboreta

Red-tailed hawk, Arboretum at Flagstaff 
Photo by James Jordon (via Creative Commons license)

Back in December, I added links to many U.S. botanical gardens into the right sidebar.

In an attempt to make this site into an even more useful and comprehensive gardening resource, I've gone ahead and added an additional list to the sidebar -- a collection of some of the biggest and best U.S. arboreta (alphabetized by state).

There seems to be some overlap in definitions of arboreta and botanical gardens. An arboretum can theoretically still contains shrubs and even perennials. I'd put forward the Dallas Arboretum as case in point (although that institution's full name is "Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden").

But from a practical, workaday perspective, I'd say that arboreta tend to focus their attention on tree collections, whereas botanical gardens typically have much broader collections.

In many cases, an arboretum may consist of a city park or university campus with a diverse collection of trees, many of which are labeled for the edification of visitors.

An arboretum may have a specific educational mission. University arboreta such as the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University can provide students and professors with living laboratories.

Other institutions, like the Dyck Arboretum of the Plains in Hesston, Kansas try to demonstrate which plants are native and/or adaptable to the demands of the local climate and soil.

I hope you find this new resource useful. During my research to develop these two lists (botanic gardens and arboreta), I know I was impressed with the rich array of horticultural resources that await us within this vast and bounteous country.

PS - If you feel I've inadvertently left out a worth arboretum from the list, please contact me and let me know.