Jenkins Hosts American Rhododendron Society Reception

This past May, rhododendron and azalea enthusiasts from across the globe traveled to Philadelphia for the American Rhododendron Society convention. This annual convention featured many of the country’s great gardens including Longwood Gardens, Mt. Cuba Center, Chanticleer, Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library, Tyler Arboretum, Morris Arboretum, and others, including several significant private gardens. Of course, with one of the most extensive collections of azaleas and rhododendrons in the country, Jenkins hosted an evening of wining, dining, and strolling through the gardens.

The Horticulture team at Jenkins had been hard at work to prepare for the spotlight during the convention. They began prepping three years ago by rejuvenated much of the evergreen azalea collection. In the years following, they have fertilized, mulched, pruned, and planted, and planted, and planted. In fact, of the 3,000+ plants added to the gardens in 2018, nearly 400 were rhododendrons and azaleas, further bolstering Jenkins’ nationally accredited collection.

It was an honor to host such an enthusiastic and knowledgeable crowd for a wonderful night of strolling, sipping, and enjoying the gardens. To learn more about the American Rhododendron Society, visit www.

New Executive Director of Jenkins Arboretum & Gardens Announced

The Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Tom Smarr as the new Executive Director of Jenkins Arboretum & Gardens. Tom will succeed Dr. Harold Sweetman, who grew the garden from the ground up and served as Jenkins’ Executive Director for 33 years.

Tom Smarr comes to Jenkins with over two decades of experience in horticulture, conservation, botanic gardens and public parks. He holds a master’s degree in urban horticulture from the University of Washington, and has worked for institutions such as the University of Washington Botanic Gardens, New England Wild Flower Society’s “Garden in the Woods”, the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway and the High Line. Most recently, he led garden and natural areas design for The Parklands of Floyds Fork, a nearly 4,000-acre ribbon of parks in Louisville, KY opened in 2016 by 21st Century Parks Inc. Tom assumes his new role on June 24, 2019.

A native of Pennsylvania, Tom stated, “It is a great honor to return home to lead this beautiful and important garden so expertly grown by Dr. Harold Sweetman. I am excited to expand on the many initiatives already taking place at Jenkins: a well-documented plant collection, a robust endowment campaign, educational experiences focused on environmental horticulture and a free visitor experience for the community. Alongside a terrific and dedicated staff, I look forward to utilizing the resources that Jenkins can provide to further the mission and connect people with our natural world. Great collaborative support will bring forth great achievements as we further the Jenkins legacy.”

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Dr. Harold Sweetman is Honored by the Community Garden Club at Wayne

April 26, 2019 – Arbor Day was celebrated at Jenkins Arboretum & Gardens by the Community Garden Club at Wayne. This long-standing club event honored Dr. Harold Sweetman, Jenkins’ Executive Director. Terry Boyle, club liaison to the Arboretum, presented Dr. Sweetman with a lifelong membership in the club, a gag gift of a license plate declaring “retired”, and a tree for his farm.  Sharon Simson, Club President, presented the Club’s annual gift of a tree for planting at Jenkins. Members enjoyed a scrumptious covered dish luncheon organized by Toni DeGeorge and Robin Gregory. Debbie Dooling took photos for preservation in the Club’s archives maintained by Evie Giegerich, historian.

The purpose of the Community Garden Club at Wayne, founded in 1947, is to encourage interest in gardening and to promote preservation of our natural environment.  Several of the club’s programs are co-sponsored by the Radnor Memorial Library, the Radnor Conservancy, and Wayne Woods Garden Club. The public is invited to attend its horticulture programs and to participate in its many community outreach projects.

Visit for more information about the Community Garden Club at Wayne.

Jenkins Arboretum & Gardens Announces 2019 Green Ribbon Native Plant® Selections

In 2003, Jenkins introduced its Green Ribbon Native Plant® selection program as a way to share the uses and merits of native plants in the landscape. Each year, three plants, typically a tree, a shrub, and a wildflower, are selected. To receive this recognition, plants must be native to eastern North America, adaptable to a wide range of environmental conditions, and have horticultural appeal in a variety of landscape situations. In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, native plants typically possess great ecological value for numerous insects, birds, and other wildlife. These plants can be seen growing in various locations throughout the gardens at Jenkins.

Click on the links below to learn more about the 2019 Green Ribbon Native Plant® selections:

 Yellowwood (Cladrastis kentukea)

Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)

Florida Anise Tree (Illicium floridanum)


America’s Garden Capital Passport Debuts March 10 at the PHS Philadelphia Flower Show

March 1, 2019 – Be among the first to receive America’s Garden Capital Passport, an exclusive guide to exploring the region’s 36 public gardens, including Jenkins Arboretum & Gardens, on Sunday, March 10 at the PHS Philadelphia Flower Show. Featuring a custom map, garden activities, links to online garden itineraries, and pages to collect garden “travel” stamps, personal sketches and thoughts, the Passport is your guide to experience the area’s garden power.

Stop by the America’s Garden Capital booth, located next to the “Gardener’s Studio” at the Flower Show to pick-up your debut Passport. While at the booth, engage with experts from area gardens, including Stoneleigh: A Natural Garden, Chanticleer, PHS Meadowbrook Farm, and Longwood Gardens. These horticulturists will answer questions, perform demonstrations and present talks on topics such as Gardening for Older Adults and Ecological Garden Design. Specialists from these area gardens will also compete in a Container Garden Challenge!  All talks, events, and the America’s Garden Capital Passport are free with Flower Show ticket admission on Sunday, March 10, America’s Garden Capital Day at the PHS Philadelphia Flower Show.

Beginning March 11, America’s Garden Capital Passports will be available for free, while supplies last, at 30+ individual gardens within 30 miles of Philadelphia. See for a complete list of the 36 gardens. Pick up your Passport at the John J. Willaman Education Center at Jenkins Arboretum & Gardens, open daily from 9 am – 4 pm. Learn more and download an online copy of the America’s Garden Capital Passport at: Photo by Jen Rudy.