The Arboretum at Penn State

Future Gardens


Fall mums with morning frost

Designed to be attractive year-round, the Fountain Garden will highlight plants with several seasons of interest such as conifers and grasses, shrubs and trees with spring bloom and fall color, and plants that produce appealing fruits. It will feature plants that bloom particularly early in the spring and those that put on a very late display in the fall. At its center, terraced panels will offer expansive views of the Marsh Meadow. Because it is prominently situated between the boardwalk and the Bamboo Gate into the gardens, we expect that the Fountain Garden will be especially popular with visitors.


Rosa cv.

This expanded garden will complement the existing Rose & Fragrance courtyard, showcasing a variety of roses as well as aromatic perennials and herbs. As a counterpoint to the cottage-style design of the existing garden, the second portion of the Rose & Fragrance Garden will have a more formal plan. A large gazebo will provide a dramatic focal point in the heart of the garden, serving as an elegant venue for gatherings and a sheltered place for reflection or quiet conversation.

Rhus glabra ‘Laciniata’ (smooth sumac) and Geranium ‘Gerwat’ (Rozanne™ cranesbill geranium)

Rhus glabra ‘Laciniata’ (smooth sumac) and Geranium ‘Gerwat’ (Rozanne™ cranesbill geranium)

With the completion of the Pollinator and Bird Garden in 2021, most of the core of the H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens will have been completed, and only three major garden areas will remain undeveloped: the fountain garden, the extension of the walled gardens toward the Schreyer House drive, and gardens in the immediate vicinity of the new art museum. They are immediate priorities for growth of the gardens. To build them will require a significant amount of private philanthropy as well as some new design work.

Beyond the Overlook Pavilion, the current master plan calls for a series of naturalistic and formal gardens extending down the hillside in the direction of Hartley Wood. There is a strong need to develop this area in order to connect the current gardens with Hartley Wood and the rest of the Arboretum, and that need will increase when the art museum is finished in 2023. This area, currently mowed for hay in the summer and used for football parking in the fall, is a high priority for future expansion of the H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens.