Take a step back in time and immerse yourself in a 12 acre garden, housing plants and vegetation more than 120 years old. Take a breath, and allow yourself to be immersed in the soothing sounds and landscape to calm your nerves and rejuvinate your spirit.

Saint Joseph’s University is the home to the beautiful Barnes Foundation Arboretum. In 2018, Saint Joseph’s University joined with the Barnes Foundation horticulture values and an educational point of view for students and community members. When the Barnes foundation partnered with Saint Joseph’s University, the Horticulture Certificate Program continued on with students, as the university works to add a horticulture minor and academic credit for certain horticulture courses. 

Some of the courses that the Horticulture Certificate Program offers are:

-Plant Propagation and Physiology of Landscape Plants: This is a two-part course with the practical aspects of plant propagation coupled with a more in-depth look at the physiology of landscape plants.

-Plant Pathology – Woody Plant Diseases: Learn to identify signs and symptoms of woody plant diseases, including the most common biotic and abiotic diseases in the Delaware Valley. 

-Weed Science:  Learn about common weeds like crabgrass, poison ivy, and ragweed, and recent invasive species like mile-a-minute, Japanese stiltgrass, and giant knotweed.

The History of Barnes

The home was bought in 1922 by Dr. Albert C. Barnes where he lived with his wife Laura Leggett Barnes. The surrounding grounds were already littered with blooming trees and vegetation that were planted and cared for by the home’s previous owner in 1880, Joseph Lapsley (sounds familiar, right?) Wilson. When the Barnes family founded the Foundation, Wilson remained a part of the grounds as its first director of the arboretum. 

The horticulture school inside the home of the Barnes family was created in 1940 by Laura Barnes, who devoted her time and love to the landscape. Complete with more than 2,500 different species of plant life, the arboretum scopes a vast 12 acres. The collections of flowers date back centuries, some being planted in the early 1900s. Our campus houses the largest collection of hardy ornamental ferns in the mid-Atlantic region.

The gorgeous campus provides numerous spots where students are welcome to study, relax, and decompress. Admission to the park is free and the Foundation welcomes visitors to come and take in its beauty. We decided to scope out some of our favorite spots at the arboretum to chill out. 

Located past the Barnes family home is a gorgeous reflection pool, complete with benches and many places to sit and take in the beauty. 

In addition to the vast vegetation, there are many classes in the park that provides seating for students and community members to do whatever they please. 

One of our favorite parts of the arboretum is located southwest of the Barnes home. A collection of tree stumps are waiting for you! 

Although it is exciting and lovely, it is important to respect the grounds and follow arboretum etiquette which can be found here. The Arboretum is open Monday-Friday 8:30 am- 5:30 pm and follows closings with the university. When visiting, remember to respect the rules and guidelines of the arboretum and enjoy your time surrounded by such beautiful plant life! 

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