Smith College Botanic Garden, Northampton, MA


The address of Smith College Botanic Garden is 15 College Lane, Northampton, MA 01063. Brochures so guests can take a self guided tour are available at Lyman Plant House or visitors can print one online before their visit. The guides are $1.00 if you don't print one before you arrive. The admission is free; however, donations are accepted and appreciated. The campus arboretum and gardens are open every day year round. The Lyman Conservatory is open from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm daily. They are closed Thanksgiving and throughout the holidays. Advance reservations are required for large groups.

An audio tour of the Lyman Conservatory is available for $1.00 per person. If guests are members of the Friends of the Botanic Garden or attend Smith College the audio tour is free. Visitors will find a few parking spaces in front of the Lyman Conservatory, but there is no parking on College Lane. On street parking can be found along Elm Street which is just up the hill. A parking garage also offers parking across campus on West Street.

The Garden Gift Shop has sweat shirts, t-shirts, tote bags, post cards, note cards and mugs for sale. Picnicking is not allowed in several areas of the Botanic Garden such as the Systematics Garden, Rock Garden, Capen Garden, The President's House Gardens, and the Japanese Garden. Picking flowers is not allowed and visitors are asked to stay on the paths or trails.

Students at Smith College have been studying botany since 1875. Lilly Hall is thought to have been the first structure to be dedicated to plant sciences and herbarium at a woman's college. Burton Hall was completed in 1914 so that it could accommodate all the students that had become interested in botany and zoology. The college hires a landscape developer with an excellent reputation, that of Frederick Law Olmsted. Mr. Olmsted designed the famous Central Park in New York City and the parks in Boston. He completed his plans in 1893 and they included the open spaces with specimen trees, curved walkways and drives, and wonderful views over Paradise Pond. He was also responsible for listing the trees, herbs, shrubs, marsh plants and aquatic plants.

The Botanic Garden actually was supervised under William Ganong who was a professor of botany in 1894 at Smith College. He went on to become the director of the garden until he retired in 1932.

Lyman Conservatory has a collection of plants from New England as well as from around the world. They house more than 2500 species that include desert plants, subtropical and tropical plants. This conservatory is one of a very few buildings that is still from the nineteenth century.

Visitors to the Smith College Botanic Garden can enjoy many fine hotels in the area and restaurants as well. There is no food available at the botanic garden. Guests are welcome to explore the campus arboretum and specialty gardens even though it is not a public park.

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