Design Principles, Design Guidelines, and Standing Review Committees

Additional Images


Eastern Inner Loop

Helianthus decapetalus L. (thin-leaved sunflower) is a native perennial herbaceous plant that blooms from July through September. It typically grows in moist bottomlands, along roads and stream banks, and in fields throughout Pennsylvania.


Phase I of the H. O. Smith Botanic Gardens

Click here to see a full-page version of the plan. The program elements in Phase I are highlighted in the legend.

Click here if you are interested in contributing to the development of this part of the Arboretum.

Phase I - Event Lawn and Kathryn Bower Smith Strolling Garden, North Terrace Garden (future Conservatory Terrace), Initial Plantings in Rose and Fragrance Garden and in the Demonstration Gardens (including the Joan Milius Smith Esplanade, Annual and Perennial Display Garden, Butterfly Garden, and Hummingbird Garden), Margery Enes Smith Soaring Waters (fountain), Oasis Garden with Lotus Pool, and Overlook Pavilion


Phase I of development of the H. O. Smith Botanic Gardens provides several key attractions for visitors to The Arboretum at Penn State. The Overlook Pavilion, Esplanade, Event Lawn, and North Terrace Garden (adjacent to the site of the future Conservatory) create spaces in which to hold private gatherings such as weddings and small receptions, and public events such as festivals, plant sales, garden shows, and art displays. Because of their location, these facilities will also provide vantage points from which to view the developing gardens around them. Information about event rentals is available by contacting Kate Reeder, event and marketing coordinator, at 814-865-9118/


Click here to see a full-page version of the above drawing. The program elements in Phase I are labelled.

The initial plantings in the Rose and Fragrance Garden and Demonstration Gardens provide horticultural enjoyment and learning opportunities for University students, residents, visitors, and alumni. (All of the features discussed here are further defined in Narrative Descriptions of Elements in the H. O. Smith Botanic Gardens.)

Within the gardens, three walkways have been named to honor several members of the donor's family: the Kathryn Bower Smith Strolling Garden around the perimeter of the Event Lawn (in honor of Smith's mother); the Joan Milius Smith Esplanade at the entrance to the Demonstration Gardens (in honor of his late wife); and the Margery Enes Smith Fountain (constructed as part of the conservatory terrace and named in honor of his second wife, also now deceased).

The 58-acre parcel formerly known as the Mitchell Tract will be transformed as the H. O. Smith Botanic Gardens are developed. The Schreyer House is located in the upper left of this aerial photo of the tract.

The design process for the H. O. Smith Botanic Gardens occurred from July 2007 to January 2008. The construction contract was awarded in May 2008 and construction was completed in 2009.

The areas adjacent to Phase I were graded, seeded, and partially planted with trees until donations will enable us to proceed with the design and construction of additional buildings, gardens, and other facilities identified in the master plan. Major gift opportunities are identified on another page within our site, and many other naming opportunities will be identified within the larger garden elements during the design process.

To be kept informed about progress in development, and to be notified about events that are open to the public as development proceeds, please click on the "Contact Us" button below and ask to be placed on our mailing list.



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