In the summer of 1850, Andrew Jackson Downing embarked on a trip to England, where he toured gardens and rural estates. Downing was then thirty-four years old and had already emerged as a leading American landscape designer and horticultural writer. On the trip, he made a special stop in the midland town of Derby to see a garden known as the Derby Arboretum. The eleven-acre arboretum had been established ten years before, on land given for that purpose by a wealthy local cotton manufacturer, Joseph Strutt. Each tree was clearly labelled, and the arboretum, for two days a week, was completely free and open.

“As a public garden—the gift of a single individual—it is certainly a most noble bequest,” Downing wrote. “I met numbers of young people strolling about and enjoying the promenade, plenty of nurses and children gathering health and strength in the fresh air, and, now and then, saw an amateur carefully reading the labels of the various trees and shrubs, and making notes in his memorandums-book.”

The presence of North American trees in Loudon’s Arboretum indicate the transatlantic cross-pollination of horticultural practice in the nineteenth century. Image courtesy of the Library of the Arnold Arboretum

The Derby Arboretum was distinct for its commitment to the public—even providing access to books so that interested visitors could learn more about the plants growing in the landscape. This commitment, Downing was sure, meant that the Derby Arboretum “is, and will be, one of the most useful and instructive public gardens in the world.”1

Often considered the first public arboretum, it was designed by the Scottish landscape gardener John Claudius Loudon, who was most responsible for popularizing the term and concept of “arboretum” during the nineteenth century. Yet public tree collections like those at Derby, and the Arnold Arboretum in the decades to come, did not arise de novo. Rather, the development of these institutions in Britain and the United States during the “long” nineteenth century (encompassing the period from 1780 to 1919) is best understood as a global—and particularly transatlantic—phenomenon, arising at a time of large-scale immigration, industrialization, and botanical exploration. In that sense, public arboreta were products of changing relationships with the environment and, indeed, among people.

Origins of Transatlantic Arboreta

The Atlantic world was fertile ground for the formation of tree collections in the parks and gardens of Europe and North America. The vast forests of North America, with their seemingly boundless numbers of trees (many new to European science), inspired the formation of tree collections in those places beginning in the eighteenth century. The biodiversity of the North American forests spanned from subtropical to boreal, from coastal to montane. This diversity across the vast extent of the continent persists to this day, as exemplified by the ninety-nine native species of conifers now believed to exist north of modern Mexico. By contrast, Britain and Ireland have only three native species of conifers—and, in general, far fewer native trees.2

Transatlantic arboreta arose from a combination of tree collecting for gardens and parks and systematic planting in physic (i.e. medicinal) and botanical gardens. American trees themselves played a large part in this process, and were often collected in places known as “American Gardens” between around 1700 and 1840. The enthusiasm for collecting American trees was encouraged by publications such as Mark Catesby’s Hortus Britanno-Americanus, published in 1763, which emphasized the value of these plants for timber, shade, fragrancy, and beauty, holding them superior to British trees.3 Many American trees and plants were brought over to Britain and Ireland in the colonial period and early decades of the United States, especially through the botanist and explorer John Bartram, who, in the mid-eighteenth century, sent many examples to the English botanist and gardener Peter Collinson. Settlers in the New World also brought numerous trees from—and via—Europe with them, bringing these and trees from eastern North America with them as they moved westwards towards the Pacific during the nineteenth century.4

Plant collectors like Bartram were crucial to the creation of transatlantic arboreta, and came to be seen as heroic figures, making expeditions on behalf of wealthy collectors, nursery companies, governments, and scientific institutions. In his Dendrologia Britannica, published in 1825, the Hull merchant and botanist Peter William Watson praised the “bold and scientific travellers” traveling throughout North and South America and other regions and identifying thousands of species.5 One of the most famous plant hunters of the era was the Scotsman David Douglas, who trained at the Glasgow Botanic Garden and made three separate collecting expeditions to North America in the first half of the nineteenth century. His introductions into Britain from the West Coast included the Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis), Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), red alder (Alnus rubra), and many others.6

Nursery companies in America and Britain came to specialize in obtaining and selling American plants. The Loddiges company in Hackney, London, for example, had an American Garden, and featured many American trees in their collections and sales catalogues. Loudon used their collections for his research.7 Wealthy British aristocratic collectors such as the Duke of Devonshire at Chatsworth—a landscape designed by Joseph Paxton, a noted English designer—spared no expense in obtaining “exotic” trees from America and across the globe for their parks and arboreta with the same eagerness that they acquired antiquities and works of art.8

Meanwhile, in North America, a series of private gardeners began to establish systematic tree collections, although they were not always designated as arboreta. For instance, William Hamilton, a neighbor of the Bartrams, developed his estate known as the Woodlands on the Schuylkill River, then outside of Philadelphia. In the decades following the Revolutionary War, he formed what was then one the largest American tree collections, arranged in the style of an “English garden.” He toured gardens in Europe and obtained specimens from the Chelsea Physic Garden in London and other international sources.9 Private collections like this would inspire public institutions to come.

“A most noble bequest,” wrote Andrew Jackson Downing (above left) of the Derby Arboretum (above), designed by John Claudius Loudon (above right). Images courtesy of Harvard Library

Living and Paper Arboreta

Other inspirations for Atlantic world arboreta were the publication of arboriculture books, which were, in effect, “paper arboreta.” The writing was informed by living tree collections. General studies of arboriculture grew from classic tree studies such as John Evelyn’s Sylva, or a Discourse of Forest Trees, from 1662. The popularity of works such as Erasmus Darwin’s epic poem The Botanic Garden, published in 1791, demonstrated how systematic plant collections were gateways to enchanting and exciting scientific worlds. The poem was initially inspired by a botanic garden Darwin established near Lichfield, England, which successfully united landscape beauty with Linnaean botany—and the book was much reprinted in British and American editions.10

Horticultural periodicals such as Loudon’s Gardener’s Magazine and Downing’s The Horticulturist (first issued in 1826 and 1846, respectively) helped build public enthusiasm for trees and landscapes. Both men advocated for the development of arboreta as part of suburban gardens. The collections could be associated with park development or collectively give the appearance of a country park through combination of private gardens, especially in the United States, where there were fewer walls and fences in between plots.11 Though space for such collections was sometimes limited, especially in Britain, Loudon argued that arboreta were ideal for middle class gardens, even for small houses and gardens.12

Moreover, a series of books on regional and national arboriculture provided lists of hardy British and North American trees and shrubs, contributing to the acquisition and collection of trees. The plants delineated in these publications often came from all over the world, and they were only “British” or “American” to the extent that they had proven hardy enough to be grown outside in those places. Watson’s Dendrologia Britannica, for example, provided 103 plates of North American trees imported to Britain, alongside others from Southern Europe and West Asia.

One of the most influential of these paper arboreta was Loudon’s eight-volume Arboretum et Fruticetum Britannicum, from 1838, which inspired the creation of many tree places, including the Derby Arboretum. It was, in many ways, a transatlantic work that drew on arboricultural literature and catalogues from across the Atlantic world to provide a detailed history of trees and shrubs from antiquity to the 1830s .13 According to William Jackson Hooker, director of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, Loudon’s study was a work of “vast importance” not just to Britain and Europe, but also to “the temperate parts of North America.”14 Loudon made full use of a transatlantic network of botanists, gardeners, nurserymen, landowners, and plant collectors who provided him with information and drawings, specimens, seeds, and other tree parts.

The first volume of the Arboretum Britannicum included a chapter on American arboriculture informed by American contacts such as the printer Colonel Robert Carr, in Philadelphia, who, with his wife Ann Bartram Carr, had taken over responsibility for maintaining Bartram’s Garden.15 Loudon believed that although American trees and shrubs had been available in British nurseries for decades, many remained under-appreciated, and he hoped the Arboretum Britannicum and the living arboreta it inspired would increase the number and popularity of more public tree places showing off “living specimens” and capturing imaginations in a way dried herbaria never could.16

An early twentieth-century postcard from the Derby Arboretum, all but indistinguishable in use from a public park.

Picturesque Naturalism, Tree Planting, and Arboreta

Trees were also essential to transatlantic conceptions of landscape design, providing beauty, color, contrast, structure, variety, seasonal change, and much more. The dominant Atlantic-world landscape philosophy of the nineteenth century was known as “English” picturesque naturalism. This style idealized the English landscape, and was widely invoked in garden, park, and arboretum designs. Downing, for example, believed that the style developed in Britain by the English landscape gardener Humphry Repton, Loudon, and others should be applied across North America. According to Downing’s pupil and friend the Ohio landscape gardener Frank Jesup Scott, who published a popular book on suburban gardening in 1870, “compared with the English” the Americans were still “novices in the fine arts of gardening” and the “exquisite rural taste” even shared by “the poorer classes” of England.17

Picturesque naturalism encouraged the positioning of trees and shrubs to achieve effects of openness and simplicity, shelter, shade, and beauty, to obscure boundaries through screen plantings, and to offer the occasional pleasure and sublimity of distant views. The designs often emphasized varied sensory experiences: sloping and terraced ground, shifting light patterns, the sounds of leaves and water, and the changing colors and aromas of trees and floral displays. The movement of birds and wildlife added to this multivarious experience for visitors, especially to the extent that animals (like plants) had their own degree of controlled agency.

Further development of this transatlantic landscape gardening philosophy was encouraged by immigration and the movement of people across the Atlantic. British and Irish gardeners and landscape gardeners working in North America brought ideas and methods from home which they adapted to local conditions and contexts. Notably, while Downing was on his British tour in 1850, he met the architect Calvert Vaux and persuaded him to immigrate to America, joining Downing’s practice in Newburgh, New York. In the decade to come, Vaux, a Londoner, would employ picturesque naturalism when planning of New York’s Central Park, which he codesigned with Frederick Law Olmsted.18

The careers of Vaux, Downing, and Olmsted, and their many other professional interconnections, illustrate how an international approach to designing with trees took root on both sides of the Atlantic. In the second half of the century, Olmsted became a leading practitioner of picturesque naturalism. Successful picturesque landscapes, according to Olmsted, worked by adapting and evoking nature to produce a “higher impression of grace than nature minus the agency of man would have produced,” stimulating the “simplest, purest and most primeval” actions of the poetical side of “human nature,” offering relief from the overly elaborate but stressful “sophisticated and artificial conditions of their ordinary civilised life.”19 In practice, of course, the features held to constitute this language or tradition underwent considerable variation, although it remained particularly important to many North American and British landscape gardeners to claim to be following this tradition. While there was some introduction of formalism and Italianate features from the 1850s and 1860s, the languages of picturesque naturalism remained highly influential throughout the century.19

Arboreta as Public Institutions

The appearance of nineteenth-century public parks and arboreta was associated with the development of modern urbanization across the Atlantic world with its new institutions, suburbs, transport systems, built environment, and cultural experiences.20 Travelers, books, and ideas crisscrossed the Atlantic, encouraged by more rapid and cheaper steam ship lines and technological improvements such as telegraphy and undersea cables. While immigration to North America brought immeasurable human resources, it also increased tensions, clashes of identity, and problems of health and sanitation in towns and cities.21 As the pattern of immigration changed, bringing new peoples from across the globe, the question of how to adapt British and European landscape gardening ideas and practices to American contexts became more contentious. However, public parks were promoted as rational recreational institutions which could help facilitate assimilation, intercourse between the classes, and American patriotism.22

In the United States, some of the earliest tree collections in designed public landscapes were associated with suburban garden cemeteries or “rural cemeteries.” Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was established in 1831 and soon followed by others, including Laurel Hill Cemetery, in Philadelphia. The cemeteries represented the application of landscape gardening aesthetics and practices. In London, Abney Park opened in 1840 and included collections that were formally laid out, at least in part, as a labelled arboretum. The landscapes were portrayed as sacred places where family members and others could repose in quiet contemplation amidst appropriately somber planting, particularly yews (Taxus), Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris), and other evergreens and columnar trees associated with mourning.23

Encouraged by Loudon in particular, a series of public and semi-public arboreta were established in Britain from the 1830s, while many new public parks and botanical gardens also featured arboreta. Arboreta were opened at Derby (1840), Nottingham (1852), Ipswich (1853), Worcester (1859), Lincoln (1872), Walsall (1874), and other places, some by commercial companies such as the Walsall Arboretum and Lake Company but most increasingly by town councils. The picturesque arboretum in Nottingham was noteworthy for its integration within a larger parks system, which was made possible by a large-scale enclosure act in 1845, which freed up common land for housing and park development. The scheme included a network of tree-lined avenues and parks. However, the botanical aspirations of these institutions as systematic tree collections tended to decline as their role as public pleasure gardens increased.24

As one of Loudon’s few realized park designs, much notice was taken of the Derby Arboretum. Downing, of course, had visited while on his tour in 1850. At the time, he was designing extensive public grounds in Washington, which incorporated a garden of American trees and a living “museum” of evergreens, and he was actively urging the creation of a large park in New York. His experience observing British and European parks undoubtedly informed his thinking about the role of planting systematic collections. Although it was not executed, his plans for a public park in Boston for the Massachusetts Horticultural Society included a scientifically arranged arboretum.25

The public parks of Britain provided important inspiration for Olmsted as well. Like Downing, he embarked on a tour of Britain, Ireland, and other parts of Europe in 1850. While he did not visit the Derby Arboretum on that trip, he made an inspirational stop at a new public garden in Birkenhead, a suburb of Liverpool. Like the Derby Arboretum, the gates of Birkenhead Park were open to the public without a fee—but in this case for the whole week. It had been laid out by Joseph Paxton, who had designed other noteworthy landscapes including the arboretum and pinetum in the Chatsworth House gardens—Downing’s favorite. Olmsted described Birkenhead Park as the “People’s Garden.” He was delighted by the winding paths and avenues and clusters of trees, set within wide, rolling lawns.

“All this magnificent pleasure-ground is entirely, unreservedly, and for ever the people’s own,” Olmsted wrote of Birkenhead Park. “The poorest British peasant is as free to enjoy it in all its parts as the British queen.” The design and public function of Birkenhead Park would later serve as inspiration for Central Park. Olmsted revisited it as part of his investigation on the development of Central Park for the New York commissioners in 1859. On the same trip, he also paid a visit to the Derby Arboretum.26

Trees and the city: The Arnold Arboretum in 1974.

A Public Arboretum in North America

Despite growing interest in arboreta on both sides of the Atlantic in the mid-nineteenth century, a public arboretum with intentionally designed, labelled collections had yet to be established in the United States. There were proposals to plant the National Mall in Washington as an arboretum associated with the Smithsonian Institution, focusing upon American natives of some two thousand trees, and about two hundred species and varieties and counterpart to indoor natural history museum. Downing surveyed the landscape and produced designs for this in 1850 and 1851, after returning from his tour of British and European parks and arboreta. Support for concept of a national botanical garden had grown during the 1840s, including from Asa Gray, the professor of botany at Harvard and the director of the Harvard Botanic Garden. He had called for a national arboretum in 1844, emphasizing the research on American trees that had already been conducted by Andre and Francois Michaux and others.

Downing’s plan was for a public arboretum of labelled hardy trees and shrubs laid out in the natural style for educational and botanical purposes, and it included a pinetum. He also designed a picturesque garden surrounding the Smithsonian Institution formed with rare trees and shrubs. Although Downing’s Washington plans were not implemented—and Downing died in a boat accident in 1852—the concept of a national arboretum was ultimately realized outside the capital with the establishment of the Arnold Arboretum in 1872.

The Arnold Arboretum was integrated within a broader park scheme developed in Boston by Olmsted and the landscape architect Charles Eliot from the 1880s. The system, now known as the Emerald Necklace, consisted of a series of public parks connected by tree-lined parkways. Olmsted had proposed a similar concept in his report to the Brooklyn park commissioners in 1868.27 The integration of urban public parks using planted parkways hastened the development of urban forestry across the Atlantic world, and there was growing recognition that this was a distinctive endeavor which required special methods and expertise. There was also increasing emphasis upon the psychological and physical health benefits of trees in modern urban environments, although pollution, traffic, and buildings presented problems for planters.28

Part of Harvard University, the Arnold Arboretum would be free to the public—all day, every day of the year. It expanded in a remarkably short space of time into a leading global arboretum guided by a director, Charles Sprague Sargent, whose longevity was hardly to be paralleled. However, the success also arose from its combination of elements of arboreta established across the Atlantic world over the previous century and collective body of arboricultural wisdom and experience. It combined picturesque naturalism with systematic tree collection, offering a place of study, recreation, and changing seasonal beauty. It was this that informed Sargent and Olmsted’s collaborative design for the Arnold Arboretum.

Egalitarian Ideals

Although Loudon, Downing, and other arboretum promoters in the early and mid-nineteenth century argued that arboreta (like public parks generally) had recreational as well as scientific and horticultural functions, arboreta often remained associated with aristocratic and wealthy landowners and institutions with enough land, staff, and resources to form comprehensive collections with exotic trees and shrubs from around the world, some rare and expensive. The Arnold Arboretum’s position as a part of Harvard University is a case in point.

Given these realities, nineteenth-century arboreta, like botanical gardens and parks, were idealized and often rather controlled, artificial, and regulated places. However, Loudon was motivated to promote them assiduously because he believed in their egalitarian possibilities, as did Olmsted. Loudon’s gardening and natural-history magazines were intended to be forums that could be used by all social classes, from landed elites to gardeners, nurserymen, and women, and he strongly believed that gardeners ought to have a much fuller scientific professional education and have greater social status. As part of national, regional, or urban civic culture, arboreta had the power to transcend social divisions such as those between different social and ethnic groups (for example immigrant communities in North America) and between town and countryside, metropolis and nation.

While nineteenth-century botanical gardens and arboreta were associated with trade, empire, and colonial exploitation, Loudon believed that this exchange of plant material would lead to global “equalisation” of tree species, to the benefit all nations. “If it is desirable for us that we should assemble in our country the trees and shrubs of every other similar climate,” Loudon pointed out, “it must be equally desirable that the inhabitants of every other similar climate should possess all those species for which their climate is adapted.”29


In 1868, Josiah Hoopes, a nurseryman from West Chester, Pennsylvania, wrote that he believed his fellow American citizens were “vastly behind” their “transatlantic brethren” in the provision of tree collections—specifically collections of conifers.30 Yet, with the onset of the First World War, the initial decades of the twentieth century presented significant challenges for arboreta and gardens in Britain. Many of the arboreta established on country parks and estates declined because of general problems faced by the wealthy landed classes and their country houses after the war. British public arboreta such as those at Derby, Nottingham, Lincoln, Ipswich, and Walsall effectively ceased to be maintained as systematic tree collections for educational and scientific purposes and became indistinguishable from other urban parks.31

In today’s world of looming environmental crisis, the arboriculture practiced at the Arnold has taken on a new urgency.

On the other hand, with the professional development of forestry, urban forestry, and municipal horticulture, new arboreta were developed by the mid-twentieth century on both sides of the Atlantic. The most resilient British arboreta were those that remained parts of wealthy landed estates or academic institutions. Other long-term successes were arboreta that were acquired or developed by organizations such as the Forestry Commission or National Trust, the leading English quasi-governmental heritage organization founded in 1895 to “preserve historical and natural places.”32

In 1925, more than half a century after the creation of the Arnold Arboretum, Ernest Henry Wilson, the British plant explorer who became the Arnold’s first keeper of the living collections, wrote that the number of visitors who journeyed from around the world to the tree collections in Boston increased by the thousands each year. He described the institution as “America’s Greatest Garden,” reasoning that because its raison d’être focused “solely” upon the “acclimatization, cultivation and study of hardy trees and shrubs,” the institution was entirely unique, even among European peers. Certainly, it had grown in a relatively short space of time into a peerless global institution, guided by Sargent, with a clear mission and supportive organizational structure.

While Loudon’s belief in the ideal of tree equalization across the continents is complicated in today’s world of looming environmental crisis, the arboriculture practiced at the Arnold Arboretum from Sargent’s day to the present has taken on a new urgency as the need to understand how trees respond to climate change becomes crucial. While Wilson’s argument that the Arnold Arboretum brought “man… nearer unto man” without “boundary of race and creed” remained an ideal rather than reality in an age of imperialism, oppression of Native American peoples, and continuing racial tensions, it is now beginning to be realized, aided by the collective desire to face the climate threat together as a global community, and to celebrate the symbolic value of public arboreta uniting trees from around the world for all to study and enjoy.33

Paul Elliott is a professor of modern history and Head of Research for Humanities and Journalism at the University of Derby.


  1. A. J. Downing, Rural Essays (New York, 1856), 414–17, 499.
  2. A. Farjon, and D. Filer, An Atlas of the World’s Conifers: An Analysis of their Distribution, Biogeography, Diversity and Conservation Status, (Leiden, 2013), 34–5, 140.
  3. M. Catesby, Hortus Britanno- Americanus (London, 1763).
  4. N. E. Hoffmann and J. C. Van Horne, eds., America’s Curious Botanist: A Tercentennial Reappraisal of John Bartram 1699–1777 (Philadelphia, 2004); J. O’Neill and E. P. McLean, “Peter Collinson and the Eighteenth- Century Natural History Exchange,” Memoirs of the American Philosophical Society, vol. 264. (Philadelphia, 2008); R. J. Campana, Arboriculture: History and Development in North America (East Lansing, 1999), 31–59.
  5. P. W. Watson, Dendrologia Britannica, 2 vols., (London, 1825), vol. 1, xv–xvi.
  6. A. L. Mitchell and S. House, David Douglas: Explorer and Botanist (London,1999); J. Nisbet, David Douglas: A Naturalist at Work: An Illustrated Exploration of Two Centuries in the Pacific Northwest (Seattle, 2012).
  7. J. C. Loudon, Encyclopaedia of Gardening, (London, 1830), p. 1035; M. L. Simo, Loudon and the Landscape: From Country Seat to Metropolis, (New Haven, 1988), 150–1; D. Solman, Loddiges of Hackney: The Largest Hothouse in the World (London, 1995).
  8. J. C. Loudon, Arboretum et Fruticetum Britannicum 8 vols., (London,1838), vol. 1, 127–8; K. Colquhoun, A Thing in Disguise: The Visionary Life of Joseph Paxton (London,2003), 54–79.
  9. H. Huth, Nature and the American: Three Centuries of Changing Attitudes (Lincoln NE, 1991), 58; T. J. Schlereth, “Early North-American arboreta” in P. Elliott, C. Watkins and S. Daniels eds., “Cultural and Historical Geographies of the Arboretum,” special issue of Garden History, 35 (2007), supplement 2, 196–216 [199–202].
  10. E. Darwin, The Loves of the Plants, fourth edition (1799); The Economy of Vegetation, fourth edition (1799); P. A. Elliott, Erasmus Darwin’s Gardens: Medicine, Agriculture and the Sciences in the Eighteenth Century (London, 2021).
  11. J. R. Stilgoe, Borderland: Origins of the American Suburb, 1820–1939 (New Haven, 1988); H. E. Lawrence, City Trees: An Historical Geography from the Renaissance through the Nineteenth Century (Charlottesville, 2006), 222–8; P. A. Elliott, British Urban Trees: A Social and Cultural History, (Winwick, 2016), 15–56.
  12. Loudon, Encyclopaedia of Gardening (1830), p. 807; J. C. Loudon, Suburban Gardener and Villa Companion (London, 1838), pp. 276–7.
  13. Loudon, Arboretum Britannicum, vol. 1, pp. 4, 6, 1–191; P. A. Elliott, C. Watkins and S. Daniels, The British Arboretum: Trees, Science and Culture in the Nineteenth Century (London, 2011).
  14. Elliott, Watkins and Daniels, British Arboretum, 150–151.
  15. Loudon, Arboretum Britannicum, vol. 1, viii–ix; C. Morris, “The diffusion of useful knowledge: John Claudius Loudon and his influence in the Australian colonies,” Garden History, 32 (2004), 101–23.
  16. Loudon, Arboretum Britannicum, vol. 1, pp. 12–13.
  17. Frank J. Scott, The Art of Beautifying Suburban Home Grounds of Small Extent (New York, 1870), 13, 77–78,105–6.
  18. D. Schulyer, Apostle of Taste: Andrew Jackson Downing, 1815–1852 (Baltimore, 1996), 24–6, 89–90, 212–18.
  19. F. L. Olmsted, “Psychological effect of park scenery” [1868] in C. E. Beveridge and C. F. Hoffman, eds., The Papers of Frederick Law Olmstead: Supplementary Series, Volume 1: Writings on Public Parks, Parkways and Park Systems (Baltimore, 1997), 147–57.
  20. Lawrence, City Trees, 222–236.
  21. M. A. Jones, The Limits of Liberty, American History, 1607–1992, second edition (New York, 1995), 129–133, 319–25.
  22. R. Rosenzweig and E. Blackmar, The Park and the People: A History of Central Park (Ithaca, 1992), 68–76.
  23. Elliott, British Urban Trees, 101–144; J. R. Cothran and E. Danylchak, Grave Landscapes: The Nineteenth-Century Rural Cemetery Movement (Columbia, 2018), 151–71.
  24. Elliott, Watkins and Daniels, British Arboretum, 185–228.
  25. Downing, Rural Essays, 497–557; I. Hay, Science in the Pleasure Ground: A History of the Arnold Arboretum (Boston, 1995), 59; Schuyler, Apostle of Taste, 187–203; J. K. Major, To Live in the New World: A. J. Downing and American Landscape Gardening (Cambridge MA, 1997), 137–40; T. Schlereth, ‘Early north-American arboreta’, 196–216
  26. Letters of F. L. Olmsted to Sir W. Hooker, 29 November 1859 and to the Board of Commissioners of the Central Park, 28 December 1859, in Beveridge and Schuyler eds., Creating Central Park, 232–5; W. Rybczynski, A Clearing in the Distance: Frederick Law Olmsted and America in the Nineteenth Century (New York, 2003), 180–2.
  27. G. F. Chadwick, The Park and the Town: Public Landscape in the 19th and 20th Centuries (New York, 1966), 191–3.
  28. A. D. Webster, Town Planting (London, 1910); W. Solotaroff, Shade-Trees in Town and Cities (New York, 1911); Lawrence, City Trees; Elliott, British Urban Trees; M. Johnston, Trees in Towns and Cities: A History of British Urban Arboriculture (Oxford, 2015).
  29. Loudon, Arboretum Britannicum, vol. 1, 1.
  30. J. Hoopes, The Book of Evergreens: A Practical Treatise on the Coniferae (New York, 1868), 65–6, 413; H. W. Sargent, supplement to A. J. Downing, A Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening in North America, sixth edition (New York, 1860), 432.
  31. Elliott, Watkins and Daniels, British Arboretum, 211–28.
  32. S. Piebenga and S. Toomer, “Westonbirt Arboretum: from private, nineteenth-century estate collection to national arboretum” in Elliott, Watkins and Daniels eds., “Cultural and Historical Geographies of the Arboretum,” Garden History vol. 35 (2007), 113–129, 113, 126; Bicton, Historic England Listing, (accessed 1/10/21):; History of Winkworth Arboretum, National Trust (accessed 1/10/21):
  33. E. H. Wilson, America’s Greatest Garden: The Arnold Arboretum (Boston, 1925), i–ii; M. Silberschmidt, The United States and Europe: Rivals and Partners (London, 1972), 83–105; R. W. Briggs, ‘Chinese’ Wilson: Life of Ernest H. Wilson, 1876–1930 (London, 1993); Jones, Limits of Liberty, 396–407; M. Sinclair, San Francisco: A Cultural and Literary History (Oxford, 2004), 150–60.

From “free” to “friend”…

Established in 1911 as the Bulletin of Popular Information, Arnoldia has long been a definitive forum for conversations about temperate woody plants and their landscapes. In 2022, we rolled out a new vision for the magazine as a vigorous forum for tales of plant exploration, behind-the-scenes glimpses of botanical research, and deep dives into the history of gardens, landscapes, and science. The new Arnoldia includes poetry, visual art, and literary essays, following the human imagination wherever it entangles with trees.

It takes resources to gather and nurture these new voices, and we depend on the support of our member-subscribers to make it possible. But membership means more: by becoming a member of the Arnold Arboretum, you help to keep our collection vibrant and our research and educational mission active. Through the pages of Arnoldia, you can take part in the life of this free-to-all landscape whether you live next door or an ocean away.

For more tree-entangled art, science, and writing, subscribe to Arnoldia by becoming a member of the Arnold Arboretum.