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DVHS display gardens: Public access


One of our chief aims is to promote the use of hostas as a low-maintenance perennial for home and public gardens. The DVHS sponsors a number of public display gardens and works with organizations like Longwood and the Barnes Foundation Arboretum to design and implement displays of hostas in garden settings. Below are a few featured display gardens.

Barnes Arboretum


The Barnes Foundation Arboretum, at the original Foundation location in Merion, Pennsylvania, is the site of our newest display garden. With the help of the arboretum staff, students, and volunteers, we have created the first National Hosta Display Garden in the mid-Atlantic, and the first "urban" garden with this designation in the country. The garden received its certification from the American Hosta Society in March, 2015.


Work commenced with planning in late 2011, and planting began in 2012. The initial phases of plantings was completed in 2014, with plantings comprising about 150 hosta cultivars in all. See here for more information.


After being closed for a period while the art collection was moved to the new Barnes Foundation Museum, the arboretum re-opened to the public, with limited hours, in May, 2014. Pay as you wish.

Morris Arboretum


The Morris Arboretum, part of the University of Pennsylvania, was the estate of John and Lydia Morris. The DVHS-sponsored Hosta Display Garden is located just above the wall in a partly shaded area near the entrance to the Rose Garden. The site was planted with hostas in 2000, and these have grown and filled in over the years since their installation. The central feature within the Hosta Garden is Lydia’s Seat, overlooking the Blue Pool. These features were installed around 1910 under the guidance of Lydia Morris.


In the last few years, the arboretum staff have faced some challenges in maintaining the hosta plantings in this area. The DVHS will continue monitor this garden, but at this point we are not recommending visiting this display at Morris (although the arboretum itself is great).

Tyler Arboretum


The Tyler Arboretum began as a private plant collection in the mid-19th century, and today comprises over 650 acres. At the request of the arboretum staff, we became involved with a new design for the area of the John C. Wister Rhododendron Garden in 2010. This design plan includes the rhododendrons, new walkways, benches, large rocks, an irrigation run, and a new groundcover layer. Our first contribution to this site was a long section called the “blue wave.” In this stretch of blue hostas which traverses a walkway, we used 2 cultivars, H. ‘Krossa Regal’ and H. ‘Halcyon’. These cultivars provide two heights of vigorous and durable blue hostas. A late summer bonus is the simultaneous blooming of both cultivars with their lavender flowers. (See picture here.)


The overall design for this area was created by Gary Smith, a landscape architect who has completed work at several of the country’s great gardens including several in our region. Locally, Smith’s designs can be seen at Longwood Gardens’ Pierce’s Woods, and at Winterthur’s Enchanted Woods.

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