Hershey Gardens is a 23-acre (9.3 ha) botanical garden and arboretum located at 170 Hotel Road, Hershey, near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. They are set atop a hill overlooking Hersheypark. It was built as a gift from chocolate magnate Milton S. Hershey for his community and to honor his wife, Catherine.
The Hershey Gardens first opened to the public on June 2, 1937 as a rose garden occupying 3.5 acres (1.4 ha). On the first day more than 20,000 visitors came to see the rose garden. In 1937, 1939 and 1941 Milton Hershey added more gardens. By 1941 the gardens had been enlarged to their current size, 23 acres (9.3 ha).
In September 1938 the American Rose Society honored Milton Hershey's dedication to roses by naming a rose after him. L.B. Coddington, a prominent rose hybridiser from Murray Hill, New Jersey, proposed that a scarlet-crimson red (velvet black red) rose he was developing be named ‘M.S. Hershey.’
In 1942, the land to the east of the Rose Garden was deemed unfit on which to farm or build houses, so Milton Hershey ordered the creation of another garden.
An admission fee was instituted in 1973. To increase visitation, horticultural changes were made. The most significant of these changes was the creation of six theme gardens, opening for the 1979 season. However, in the 1980s it was apparent that there was still a financial problem. In 1989 the Gardens became a part of the non-profit M.S. Hershey Foundation.
In 1998 the Butterfly House opened. It was constructed using a wing of an original Hershey Estates Greenhouse structure, built in 1930. In 2003, the Children's Garden opened. The Children's Garden covers 1½ acres and features almost 30 separate gardens designed to teach about plants through ineractive, hands-on displays.
Today the gardens include an arboretum, The Children's Garden, herb garden, Japanese garden, magnolia grove, oak grove, ornamental grass collection, perennial garden, conifer collection, two substantial rose gardens, and a seasonal flower garden. The rose garden contains about 7,000 rose bushes representing 275 varieties. The gardens also contain a butterfly house featuring 300 butterflies of some 25 varieties.
- Rose gardens
- Hershey Rose Garden
- Italian Rose Garden
- Mrs. Hershey's Rose Garden
- Bill Bowman Garden
- Flowering gardens
- Children's Garden
- Perennial Garden
- Seasonal Garden
- Memorial Garden
- Other gardens
- Coniferous Garden
- Oak Grove
- Herb Garden
- Ornamental Grasses
- Japanese Garden
The Children's Garden and Butterfly House
The Butterfly House, added to the Hershey Gardens in 1996, holds more than 300 butterflies, representing nearly 25 varieties. The Butterfly House also has nectar plants for food and host plants for egg-laying and caterpillar feeding. The entire lifecycle of the butterfly can be viewed within the house.
The Children's Garden, opened in 2003, contains 30 themed gardens, hiding spots and play areas.
- " Hershey Gardens: The Cornfield that Blossomed with Roses" by Mary Davidoff Houts. 2006.
- Daminger, Kathy (January 25, 2017). "Winter walk at Hershey Gardens offers a break from the dreary". Lancaster Online. Retrieved April 12, 2017.
- Daminger, Kathy (January 25, 2017). "Butterfly Atrium at Hershey Gardens is in full bloom every day all winter long". Lancaster Online. Retrieved April 12, 2017.
- Smart Talk Road Trip: The Milton & Catherine Hershey Conservatory at Hershey Gardens, WITF-FM, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, February 6, 2017. Includes audio from radio broadcast (19:51).