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Our mission is to preserve the stately historic campus landscape, to build upon the diversity of the collection with sustainable species and to reinforce the aesthetic character of the campus. It seeks to provide visitors with a broader understanding of the campus landscape and promote long-term stewardship of the environment.

What is an arboretum?

An arboretum is a place where trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants are grown for scientific and educational purposes. Plants are maintained, labeled, cataloged and mapped. Each arboretum is unique, due to the characteristics of the setting, the collections, and the research and educational goals.

Arboretum Goals

  • Provide an aesthetically pleasing, diverse and accessible landscape conducive to academic study, recreation, meditation and visitor interest.
  • Identify future planting goals through landscape guidelines that visually and spatially reinforce the character of both artificial and natural environments on campus.
  • Develop the arboretum as an outdoor laboratory to provide opportunities for botany, biology and horticulture.
  • Preserve unique natural plant specimens of historic value.
  • Incorporate future plantings that are sustainable in Central New York, with an emphasis on native species.
  • Provide interpretive materials such as plant identification signs, maps and accession records.
  • Provide opportunities for partnerships with local plant organizations.


Professor of Chemistry A.P. Saunders hybridized the peonies in the early- to mid-1900s. His work with tree peonies — which resulted in 80 named varieties — was a notable achievement and his fame especially established with hybridizing the yellow tree peony. The Grant Garden, created by Elihu Root for his daughter, Edith Root, was renovated in 1996 to become a display garden for peonies.



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