The arboretum consists of woodlands, open grass meadows and formal gardens that feature a variety of tree, shrub and flower specimens from all over the world. Among the most beautiful plantings in the arboretum are the large azalea garden, the yellow magnolia grove, extensive lilac and pine collections and a flowering tree grove. Surrounding the arboretum is a pond and 200 acres of woodlands that contain many specimen trees and plantings that provide habitat for deer, coyote, fox, wild turkey and other native mammals.
The azalea garden and formal gardens
Among the most beautiful plantings in the arboretum is the large azalea garden with hundreds of red, white, pink, magenta, yellow and lavender azaleas that create a hillside of color in the spring. Nestled among the azaleas is a series of small ponds and waterfalls creating a natural setting, with a trail leading to a small gazebo. Next to the azalea garden is a dwarf conifer collection containing a variety of pines, spruces, firs and cypress. The arboretum is also home to a variety of magnolia species, including several rare yellow specimens which were the first of their kind to be developed in the world at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in the 1950's.
The Famous and Historic Tree Trail
The Famous and Historic Tree Trail features species that commemorate historic events and famous Americans from our country's past. At each station, one can read about a famous person or event to which the original parent tree was witness. The trees were grown from seeds of the original trees provided by the American Forestry Association.
The William and Mildred Lasdon Memorial Garden
The William and Mildred Lasdon Memorial Garden site is a one-acre garden created in memory of the Lasdons and made possible through a donation by their daughter, Mrs. Nanette Laitman. The Lasdon Memorial Garden is composed of three distinct areas: an entrance court with a fragrance garden, a formal garden and a synoptic garden.
The entrance walkways, lined with fragrant trees, shrubs and perennials, lead to a lilac walk to the north and to the formal garden to the west. The entrance to the formal garden is graced on either side by beautiful bronze busts of William and Mildred Lasdon, also a gift of their daughter. Inside the formal garden, there are symmetrical panels created with boxwood hedges, heather, changing displays of flowering annuals and bulbs, and a central fountain. An overlook located six feet above the garden floor with a shaded seating area provides and ideal spot to view the plantings.
Surrounding the formal garden is the synoptic garden, which features a collection of hundreds of shrubs whose names represent every letter in the alphabet, from "A" (Albelia) through "Z" (Zenobia). In addition to providing year-round interest to the garden, the synoptic garden is an excellent reference tool for anyone with an interest in ornamental plantings.
The Chinese Friendship Pavilion and Cultural Garden
This four-acre garden and pavilion symbolize the close bonds between Westchester County and its Sister City, Jingzhou, in the People's Republic of China. The Friendship Pavilion, a gift from that city, is the focal point of the garden. The classic Chinese structure was constructed in China, disassembled, and shipped to the United States, where it was installed by several craftsmen from China with the assistance of park staff. The pavilion is surrounded by a developing culture garden with such native Chinese plantings as bamboo and Kousa dogwood, overlooking a picturesque pond with a stone dust pathway for meditation.
Ongoing botanical research
Since 1992, when a three-acre grove of rare American chestnut trees was discovered at the arboretum, Westchester County has been working with the American Chestnut Foundation to help develop a disease-resistant form of this tree. An additional five acres is dedicated to planting chestnuts collected from around the country to maintain a source of these trees for used in genetic research. In conjunction with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the United States Forest Service, Lasdon is also the first site in the lower Hudson Valley for butternut tree research. The arboretum is also home to a variety of more that 80 dogwood trees from around the world, which are also part of an ongoing research project to combat diseases that threaten these trees.
Horticultural programs and workshops
The Lasdon horticulturist offers workshops and clinics ranging from landscape and garden design to soil testing and integrated pest management, and conducts tours of the various aspects of the arboretum. Botanical art classes are offered by a professional artist throughout the year. For more information, call (914) 864-7268 Monday through Friday. On weekends, call (914) 864-7267.