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Rhododendron Garden Photo: Julia Lo Ehrhardt

Featured Article

A Treasure in Our Backyard

Enjoy The Art of Nature Every Season

Article by Julia Lo Ehrhardt

Photography by Julia Lo Ehrhardt, Brian Prato, Dave Charlton, and Mei McNeill

Originally published in Media City Lifestyle

For generations, Tyler Arboretum has been home to many. Our story begins with the Lenape - the original inhabitants of Delaware, New Jersey, Eastern Pennsylvania, and Southern New York. For over 10,000 years, they have been the caretakers of these lands and The River of Human Beings, also known as the Delaware River. The land we call Tyler provided them with food, shelter, and community.

The Minshall family originally purchased the land from William Penn in 1681 and these 650 acres of the Arboretum influenced the history of Media, Pennsylvania. The Minshalls arrived in Chester in 1682, and one of their earliest homes is now our administrative building, Lachford Hall. In the 1800s, their descendants Jacob and his brother Minshall Painter began collecting and planting trees from around the world, including native species. Planted in radiating spokes around Lachford, allowed them to study and document how these grew in our area. The work the Painter brothers performed as citizen scientists was deeply important to them and remains a critical part of Tyler’s mission. Modern residents and visitors will find echoes of this family and their dedication to science and community building throughout Media - Painter Road, the Minshall House, and the Delaware County Institute of Science. 

Friends and neighbors near or far can come to Tyler Arboretum to enjoy nature in all seasons. You’ll find a home for learning, discovery, and exploration in the great outdoors. Our trees and shrubs are meticulously labeled to help you feed your curiosity. In addition, we offer tours and programs year-round to engage visitors with the natural world, conservation, and history. 

Our 650 acres embrace you with the sights and scents of winter and fall.  Our exceptional Pink Hill serpentine barren is a top place to visit. Here you will find Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans) and blackjack oak (Quercus marilandica) thriving despite harsh serpentine soil. This ecologically rare habitat is the last remaining serpentine barren in Delaware County. Classes and tours on owls, mushrooms, history, and much more take visitors throughout Tyler Arboretum and will help you discover the fascination of the fall and early winter seasons.

Visit Tyler Arboretum in winter and early spring to experience the frosted tops of sumacs and nodding boughs of cedars in our 25-acre Pinetum. If you are lucky, you’ll crunch through a dusting of snow as you walk our one mile scenic loop, paved for your comfort. Hikers can take on one of the five trails that meander across 17 miles of our beautiful Natural Areas. Our trails range in distances and difficulties and will lead you through meadows and forests, alongside streams, and past historic ruins. Join the Christmas Bird Count or any Wednesday Bird Walk to learn about the many feathered friends who call Tyler home for all or part of the year. Don’t miss the winter fireworks display by one of our favorite plants - from late December to early March, vernal witch hazel (Hamamelis vernalis) and witch hazel ‘Jelena’ (Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Jelena’), along with many other beautiful varieties, fill the air with fragrance that is a sure-fire cure for cabin fever.

Earth Day Celebrations, Plant Sale, and the 12-acre Wister Rhododendron Garden light up springtime at Tyler. During our spring activities, we empower visitors to care for trees, tackle invasive species, and discover and care for new favorite plants in the home garden. With historic spring-blooming collections like magnolias, lilacs, rhododendrons, and cherry blossoms, you can visit with your family and friends to soak up the sights and scents of spring in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

In summer, Tyler Arboretum is full of activities and fun for all ages, especially in the Arboretum’s Historic Core, the Pollinator Preserve, the Native Woodland Walk, and Lucille’s (Vegetable) Garden. Pop-up Education and Tasting Stations in these areas help visitors discover the insect world, assist with citizen science activities, and taste-test the fruits and vegetables grown on-site. We provide weekly wildflower walks, hikes, and other docent and staff-guided programs that engage visitors with this vibrant and busy season.

For classes, tours and more --

For an updated list with photos of what’s in bloom --

Our story begins with the Lenape - for over 10,000 years, they've been the caretakers of these lands and The River of Human Beings, known as the Delaware River. Tyler provided them with food, shelter, and community.

  • R x Austrinum canescen Photo:Dave Charlton
  • Rhododendron Garden Photo: Julia Lo Ehrhardt
  • Tyler Trail Photo: Julia Lo Ehrhardt
  • Plant Sale Photo: Julia Lo Ehrhardt
  • Refurbished Party Barn Photo: Brian Prato
  • Spring at the pond Photo: Mei McNeill
  • Indigo BuntinPhoto:  Dave Eberly
  • Cape May Bird House Photo: Julia Lo Ehrhardt

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