Past Meeting

At our public meeting on Sunday, June 14, 2009 the featured presentation was:

Jenkins Arboretum entrance
Jenkins Arboretum in bloom

Past, Present and Future of the Jenkins Arboretum

by Harold E. Sweetman, Ph.D.

Dr. Sweetman spoke about the Past, Present and Future of the Jenkins Arboretum. The talk by Executive Director Harold Sweetman covered:

  • The history of the Arboretum
  • The background of the Jenkins and Brownings who have contributed land
  • Why they chose an arboretum
  • What makes this arboretum special for our area
  • How the Jenkins Arboretum won an award for the historic preservation of one of the properties on the site
  • And how the new Educational Center will expand educational programs for the community in the years ahead

New Education Center
Harold E. Sweetman, Ph.D.

A place to sit and enjoy the view

Biographical Information

Harold has been Executive Director of the Jenkins Arboretum in Devon, Pennsylvania for the past 22 years. In 2006, Jenkins Arboretum celebrated its 30th anniversary. Stewardship of the development and growth of a public garden whose mission is to specialize in the genus, Rhododendron, has been very rewarding for Harold. The Arboretum’s naturalistic landscape design showcasing native plants is an ideal setting for an extensive ericaceous plant collection of species and hybrid rhododendrons. Jenkins is known for its azaleas and rhododendrons, but the wildflower displays and scientific collections of native plants are of equal merit.

Dr. Sweetman also has a faculty appointment at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine and maintains a poisonous plant collection for the purpose of student field study. The showcase display of rich native flora including trees, shrubs, wildflowers and ferns along with azaleas and rhododendrons adds up to a huge number of potentially poisonous plants.

Harold has traveled extensively in the pursuit of expanding Arboretum plant collections. Plant hunting trips in the eastern Appalachians as well as trips with Kenneth Cox to Yunnan, China in 1993 and fall 2005 to Arunachal Pradesh, India have greatly benefited Jenkins Arboretum. Plant evaluations, hardiness studies, and outreach lectures from these trips have helped fulfill the Arboretum’s mission in the areas of display, education and research. These trips have also been very personally rewarding for Harold as they test endurance and stamina in the quest for more plant knowledge.

Harold received the ARS Bronze Medal award in 1995 and in 2002 the Environmental Awareness Award and Conservation Medal from the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. He chairs the Research Committee of the American Rhododendron Society Research Foundation. Harold holds a Ph.D. in Biology from Boston University.


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