INTHEKNOW Right: A view of Phoenixville from the Jenkins Arboretum & Gardens. In the distance you can see the Memorial Arch, George Washington Memorial Chapel and Carillon. The pond glistens in the early winter snow at Jenkins Arboretum & Gardens. A Beautiful Escape for All Seasons Jenkins Arboretum & Gardens is an oasis of natural beauty just steps from a densely populated area. By Peter Urscheler PHOTOS COURTESY OF JENKINS ARBORETUM & GARDENS In our busy lives we often take for granted the beauty that resides in our own backyard. Thousands of residents pass by Jenkins Arboretum & Gardens without much notice. Just a short drive from Phoenixville, off of 252/Devon State Road, is a beautiful yet unassuming set of gates that serve as the entry way into the world of Jenkins—an oasis of natural beauty just steps from a densely populated residential and commercial area. Jenkins is one of eastern Pennsylvania’s great horticultural and environmental assets. As a botanical garden, the arboretum maintains a collection of trees, shrubs, wildflowers and ferns in a tranquil, naturalistic landscape. Additionally, it features a diverse collection of rhododendrons and azaleas from around the world. The unique landscape and diverse plant collections provide sanctuary for a variety of birds, insects and other wildlife. Through the generosity of the Jenkins and Browning families, along with other donors, the public is able to enjoy the Jenkins Arboretum & Gardens free of charge. The mission to preserve the natural tranquil woodlands for community enjoyment, to showcase native plants and a world-class collection of rhododendrons and azaleas, and to promote environmental horticulture through learning, research and conservation continues to expand upon the original vision of H. Lawrence Jenkins. 72 1.800.558.0940, ext. 202 TO ADVERTISE | Phoenixville Area Summer gives way to the beautiful colors of fall, in one of the many restful spaces of the gardens. Jenkins Arboretum & Gardens began as a private residence. The home and 17 acres on which the arboretum was first planned was formerly the property of H. Lawrence and Elisabeth Phillippe Jenkins. The groundwork for Jenkins Arboretum & Gardens was laid in 1965 when H. Lawrence Jenkins established the Elisabeth Phillippe Jenkins Foundation, forever preserving his property as a living memorial to his wife, an avid gardener and wildlife enthusiast. In his will, Jenkins directed that the property become a “public park, arboretum and wildlife sanctuary for the study of arboriculture, horticulture, and wildlife for educational and scientific purposes.” His vision didn’t go unnoticed. In 1972, Mrs. Louisa P. Browning, owner of the adjoining property, donated her 26 acres, expanding the size of the arboretum to 43 acres. In later years, two more land acquisitions brought the total to 48 acres. In the early 1970s, several steps were taken to create a botanical garden. Trails were created; a pond was installed; a visitors center was constructed; native trees, shrubs and wildflowers were planted; and a plan was developed to feature rhododendrons and azaleas. In 1976, Jenkins’ vision was realized when his 17-acre property officially opened to the public and became known as Jenkins Arboretum. Today, Jenkins Arboretum & Gardens is still open to the public, free of charge, 365 days a year from 8 a.m. to sunset. The property also features the John J. Willaman Education Center, a gift shop and a plant shop (hours available on the website). Guests to Jenkins are invited to enjoy over 1.2 miles of paved walkways through native woodlands along with a self-guided walking tour. Maps for the walking tour are available at the Education Center. Jenkins Arboretum & Gardens also offers educational displays and workshops, art exhibitions and seasonal plant sales throughout the year. There is even a picnic area for guests. Jenkins Arboretum & Gardens is located at 631 Berwyn Baptist Road in Devon. To plan your visit, go to www.jenkinsarboretum.org.