The Botanic Garden of Smith College was founded in 1895 by Laurenus Clarke Seelye, the College’s first president, with the hope that the whole campus would be developed as a botanic garden to be of scientific as well as aesthetic value. The landscape architecture firm of Frederick Law Olmsted was enlisted to create that plan.
Today, the mission of the Botanic Garden of Smith College is to foster education about the science, beauty, and importance of the plant kingdom through the use of outdoor and conservatory plant collections, gardens, displays, and exhibitions, and to preserve and maintain the historic Olmsted campus landscape.
The Botanic Garden serves as a living museum of plants native to New England and ecosystems around the globe. The Garden encompasses the 12,000 square foot Lyman Conservatory and Church Exhibition Gallery with changing educational displays, the Campus Arboretum (a level III accredited arboretum), and a variety of specialty gardens, including the Rock Garden, Systematics Garden, and Capen Garden. The outdoor gardens and greenhouses are open to the public.