In 2018, Saint Joseph’s University and the Barnes Foundation launched an educational partnership expanding opportunities for students and the surrounding community to engage in horticulture education.

From May to October, visitors are invited to explore the grounds and learn about the rare plants and breathtaking blooms that thrive there. Free guided tours can be arranged by calling 610-660-2802 or -2801. With a smartphone, visitors can stream a 42-stop audio tour at arbtour.barnesfoundation.org.

The 12-acre arboretum is astonishingly diverse for its size, with more than 2,500 varieties of woody and herbaceous plants — many rare. The peony and lilac collections date back to the early 1900s and are important genetic resources for conservation and study. An herbarium started in 1968 by John Fogg, a longtime instructor at the arboretum school and director after Mrs. Barnes, contains more than 10,000 specimens that supplement teaching and research.

The arboretum is open to the public on weekends, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., from May 4 to October 27. Parking is free.