The arboretum was established in 1929 in honor of Arthur Hoyt Scott (class of 1895), "for the purpose of enabling Swarthmore College to acquire, cultivate and propagate the better kinds of living trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants which are hardy in the climate of eastern Pennsylvania and which are suitable for planting by the average gardener."
Today the arboretum contains over 4,000 kinds of ornamental plants, labeled with scientific and common names, and grouped in collections for ready comparison. The major gardens include:
- Crum Woods - 200-acre (0.81 km2) woodland with walking trails.
- Dean Bond Rose Garden - over 650 roses of more than 200 types.
- James R. Frorer Holly Collection - over 350 different types of holly.
- Pinetum - pines, spruces, firs, and other conifers.
- Yagoda, Ben (2003). The Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College: The First 75 Years. Donning Company Publishers. ISBN 1-57864-207-8.
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