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Captivating Spring Gardens: The Scott Arboretum and the Mt. Cuba Center

In-Person Program

All-Day Tour

Thursday, May 9, 2024 - 8:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. ET
Code: 1ND010
Departs Mayflower Hotel, DeSales St side
1127 Connecticut Ave NW
Fringe: I-495, Exit 27 Carpool lot
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Cunningham House and the site of the former observatory at Swarthmore College (Photo: Smallbones)

The Philadelphia region boasts the title of America's Garden Capital­—and with more public gardens than anywhere else in the country, it’s a well-deserved one. Spend a day with horticulturalist Chelsea Mahaffey and explore two captivating green spaces in the area and gather new ideas for your own home garden.

Spread across more than 300 acres of the Swarthmore College campus, the Scott Arboretum is a plant lover’s delight that focuses on engaging horticulture designs, plants of merit, and creative ideas to encourage the home gardener. The campus acts as a “garden of ideas” and as you meander through the spectacular landscapes you’re sure to get your inner designer excited about the next growing season.

After lunch, visit a hidden gem in the Brandywine Valley, the Mt. Cuba Center. This native-plant haven covers 1,000 acres and is anchored by a stately Colonial Revival manor house built in 1935 by Lammot du Pont Copeland and his wife, Pamela Cunningham Copeland. Sustainable gardening practices are reflected throughout the landscape, from ever-evolving land management strategies to restoration projects. Take in the beauty of native plants in conservation settings such as woodlands and grasslands; in more formal settings around the residence; and in the trial garden, which offers insights into how the center’s research team evaluates native plants and related cultivars for horticultural and ecological value.

Know Before You Go

  • The tour departs by motorcoach from downtown Washington, DC with a designated secondary pick-up outside the city. Content delivered by the study leader on the way to the destination, after the secondary pick-up, is an integral part of the study tour experience. Meeting the group once the tour is en route is discouraged.
  • Tour participants meet at and leave by bus from the Mayflower Hotel, Connecticut Ave. & DeSales St. (DeSales Street side), with a pick-up stop at the Exit 27 I-95 carpool lot at approximately 8:25 a.m.
  • The ticket price includes lunch at Mt. Cuba.

General Information

  • Registration for this tour will end by 2 p.m. ET on Wednesday, May 8, 2024.
  • Smithsonian Associates is a mask-friendly environment. Please feel free to bring and wear a mask at any time during a tour, both for your safety or the safety of others.
  • For additional tour information: