Students working in one of the many gardens on campus

Botanic Garden

The Mount Holyoke College Botanic Garden is comprised of the Talcott Greenhouse and the surrounding and nearby gardens. The Botanic Garden’s diverse and dynamic living collection includes more than 2,000 different types of plants from six continents distributed throughout the greenhouses and outdoor gardens. These rich botanical resources provide collaborative opportunities for academic departments, programs and centers across campus. They are open to all who seek to enjoy and learn more about the world of plants. Please come and explore throughout the year.

The specialty gardens

The specialty gardens include a rock/alpine garden, and woodland and rhododendron gardens.

Anemone hupehensis: superba in the Class of 1904 Garden
Anemone hupehensis: superba in the Class of 1904 Garden

In 1935, the class of 1904 proposed using funds collected in memory of a former classmate to establish a cutting garden. The cutting garden was created at the northern end of what was known then as the Clara Leigh Dwight Garden, which extended south all the way to Pageant Field. In 1952 the entire garden became known simply as the Class of 1904 Garden.

In 1971 the construction of the Art Building decreased the size of the garden by two-thirds. The remaining portion included many of the features that can be seen today and several others have since been added. The 1904 Garden is located adjacent to the Art Building.

Today, a rich array of plants in the Class of 1904 Garden provide an opportunity to appreciate the diversity of the plant world, study pollinator behavior or simply enjoy this beautiful, quiet space.

Photo of the plant Epimedium grandiflorum: orange queen
Epimedium grandiflorum: orange queen

The Drue Matthews Garden, dedicated to a member of the class of 1935, is located at the southern end of the Talcott Greenhouse, adjacent to the Art Building. The garden features alpine and rock-garden plants, shade plants and a small pond. The site has featured a small garden since the mid-1980s and was revamped to include the rock and alpine garden in the 1990s.

Photo of alpine plants in the sunny front of the Drue Matthews garden
Alpine plants in the sunny front of the garden

  

Photo of the small pond in the Drue Matthews Garden
Small pond in the Drue Matthews Garden
Memorial bench with the rare, large-leaved Magnolia macrophylla var. ashei in the background
Memorial bench with the rare, large-leaved Magnolia macrophylla var. ashei in the background

Planting in the Virginia “Timmy” Craig ’31 Rhododendron Garden began in 1999. Extending along the north side of the Art Building, this garden features various species and cultivars of rhododendrons, with shade-loving companion plants, primarily from eastern North America and eastern Asia. Timmy Craig was an avid lover of plants and an active, long-time member of the American Rhododendron Society.

The dramatic and decorative Begonia grandis flowering in September in the Virginia Craig Rhododendron Garden
The dramatic and decorative Begonia grandis flowering in September
The Heckel Staircase Garden
The Heckel Staircase Garden

The breathtaking staircase and terrace garden adjacent to the Class of 1904 Garden is named in memory of Anne Pitt Heckel, class of 1934, and Robert Heckel.

The view from the top of the Heckel Staircase Garden
The view from the top of the Heckel Staircase Garden

The staircase features locally mined Goshen stone steps, terraces and walks interspersed with cascading banks of perennials and dwarf evergreens. The garden was designed by landscape and garden designer Julie Moir Messervy. Messervy's design included massive Goshen stone boulders, which she called “perching stones,” that allow visitors and small classes to sit in the garden.

The terrace at the top of the staircase provides lovely views of the Heckel Staircase, the 1904 Garden, the Virginia “Timmy” Craig Rhododendron Garden and the Talcott Greenhouse in the near distance. The seating wall of the terrace catches the sun most of the day, encouraging visitors to sit a moment and enjoy the garden and the warmth of the sun.

 Photo of the side path of the Heckel Staircase, seen above the Class of 1904 bench  Side path of the Heckel Staircase, seen above the Class of 1904 bench
Side path of the Heckel Staircase, seen above the Class of 1904 bench

 

 

Photo of designer Julie Moir Messervey directing placement of stones during construction of the Heckel Staircase Garden
Designer Julie Moir Messervey directed placement of stones during construction of the Heckel Staircase Garden.

Happening at Mount Holyoke

The Botanic Garden in the news

Amanda Maciuba, Mount Holyoke assistant professor of art, uses the medium of printmaking to explore and express the layered complexity of the world.

TheBotanic Garden has completed work on a new pollinator garden on the Mount Holyoke College campus.

Art and architecture students collaborate with the Botanic Garden to design and build a sculptural fountain for this year’s spring Flower Show.

Botanic Garden staff

We seek to work collaboratively and interdisciplinarily with academic departments, and are also happy to assist with horticulture questions.

Department Head(s)

Tom Clark

  • Director and Curator of Botanic Garden

Staff

Jessie Blum

  • Greenhouse Supervisor

Mark Brunelle

  • Greenhouse Laborer

More in Botanic Garden

Contact us

The Botanic Garden’s diverse and dynamic living collection includes more than 2,000 different types of plants from six continents distributed throughout the greenhouses and outdoor gardens.

  • Director and Curator of Botanic Garden