For more detailed information, go to the Barton Arboretum webpage bartonarboretum.org
For arboretum events, go to Medford Leas Calendar
Contact us to discuss hosting your next group event.
The Barton Arboretum and Nature Preserve of Medford Leas is a unique blend of accessible public gardens, collections, and preserved natural areas set amidst private residential space. With campuses in Medford and Lumberton, NJ spanning more than 200 acres, the Arboretum offers visitors a diverse horticultural array of designed gardens, landscaped grounds, meadows, natural woodlands and wetlands, and one of the most extensive plant collections — including natives — in all of southern New Jersey.
The Estaugh, a Quaker-related, not-for-profit corporation, founded Medford Leas in 1971 as a residential and healthcare community which today is home to over 600 residents age 55 and older. As part of its mission, the Estaugh chose to create a community in harmony with nature. In 1981, the Estaugh Board, under the leadership of its president, Lewis W. Barton, along with Lois Forrest, the then Executive Director of Medford Leas, and Paul W. Meyer, The F. Otto Haas Director of the Morris Arboretum, designated the entire acreage as an arboretum.
The Arboretum’s mission is to promote the appreciation and knowledge of horticulture and to emphasize the importance of integrating nature into people’s living, working and recreational environments. Further, the Arboretum strives to be a model for good land stewardship by achieving greater ecological responsibility through bio-diverse and sustainable practices.
Highlights of the Arboretum open to the public include:
• Nature Center
• Formal and informal educational opportunities
• More than 1,300 GPS-identified trees representing 200+ species
• Extensive trail system
• 33 unique Courtyard gardens connected by walkways
• Pinetum with exotic and other outstanding conifers
• Stimulating and diverse plants with year-round interest
• Nature Preserve featuring rare inner-coastal plain woodlands
The Barton Arboretum and Nature Preserve is dedicated to preserving and enhancing this horticultural treasure through sound land and fiscal stewardship and is funded through the Medford Leas Arboretum Fund.
The Arboretum is maintained by the Horticulture Department of Medford Leas in consultation with the staff of the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania, and is a member of Greater Philadelphia Gardens, a consortium of outstanding public gardens in the Delaware Valley and Garden State Gardens Consortium.
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In 2005, in preparation for construction on the Medford Campus, the 168-acre Barton Arboretum was surveyed. The surveyors were instructed to include the names and location of the trees on the property, using the latest Global Positioning System (GPS) technology. Medford Leas’ landscaping staff then validated and corrected the information. Once the list of 1,390 trees was in order, 6’ x 9” tree labels were obtained from Nameplate Technologies in California. Each label includes the common name, the scientific name and the accession number for the tree.
In the 1990s, residents had divided the Medford Leas campus into a series of grids in order to begin mapping and describing trees in the Arboretum. In 2012, residents from both the Medford and Lumberton Campuses began to use these grids as a starting point to survey and update the data from the 2005 GPS database. The original surveyors used expensive commercial GPS equipment to locate the trees, but in 2013, residents began using smart phones with their ability to combine GPS information with high-resolution satellite images. Not only will this make the database more accurate and up to date, but also with the evolution of software and computing tools, they are working on making the geographically aware database of the Barton Arboretum trees available to anyone with access to the Internet.
The database has been expanded to be part of a “Geographical Information System” (GIS). Useful information about the trees is combined with latitude and longitude information to allow users to simultaneously view data such as common and Latin names, height, diameter, health, and to view photos, all while seeing the tree location on a map or satellite image of the Arboretum.
As of mid 2013, the database is available on the Internet in a Google Fusion Table. Google Fusion tables can be searched and filtered to show information and location data. Data ma also be viewed in Google Earth. Eventually the goal is to make the Barton Arboretum GIS system more accurate, useful and user friendly.
The GIS web page can be accessed from the Barton Arboretum webpage,
> American Public Gardens Associations
> Greater Philadelphia Gardens
> Garden State Gardens Consortium
> Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania
> Master Gardeners of Burlington County
> Rutgers Univ. Cooperative Extension
> Mount Holly Garden Club
> Pinelands Garden Club
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Surrounding the residential and community buildings are extensive grounds: landscaped areas, recreational facilities and lawns. Recreational areas include a putting green, chip and putt course, croquet, shuffleboard, tennis courts and an area called “the farm” consisting of small plots on which some residents raise vegetables and fruits.
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In the central residential area ground-level, garden-style apartments are clustered around central courtyard gardens planted with shrubs and small trees, herbaceous perennials and annuals, both familiar and exotic, selected in part for disease resistance and drought tolerance. Represented are 29 little known and under-used woody plants of exceptional merit promoted by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society in their “Gold Medal” award program. There are 33 courtyard gardens, each unique, designed by outstanding landscape architects or horticulturists from the staff of the Morris Arboretum. All courtyards are connected to the Community Building by glass enclosed covered walkways, and thus are accessible in inclement weather and by wheel chair.
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Every apartment, patio home, or townhome on both campuses features patios and/or porches around which residents are encouraged to develop private gardens. Two greenhouses are available to residents for propagating seedlings and winter storage of plants. Adjacent to one of these is the Nature Center, which contains a Nature Resource Library and meeting room for use by all residents.
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Download the attached PDF to read a great article about the distinctive Back Porch Garden at Medford Leas.
Back Porch Garden
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- The Pinetum — a collection of conifers, many from regions of Europe and Asia.
- Rhododendron collection
- Additional collections include holly, viburnum, and crabapple.
> Wildflower Guide / Medford Leas Residents' Association
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The Nature Preserve offers a contrast between its hardwood deciduous vegetation and the pine forests and cedar swamps of the Pinelands National Reserve, just a few miles to the east. Approximately 55 of the 168 acres of Medford Leas property remain in natural vegetation. The major part is a flood plain forest along the Southwest Branch of the Rancocas Creek. The predominant trees here are red maple, ironwood, sycamore and tulip tree. Another section is a mature upland forest in which oak, beech and hickory are dominant, but with small successional groves of Virginia pine and sweet gum. Mature forests are becoming more scarce each year as a consequence of relatively uncontrolled residential and commercial development. Medford Leas accepts its responsibility to preserve this fragment through environmentally sound management and to make the Nature Preserve available for study and enjoyment by residents as well as the general public.
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Individuals and small groups are welcome to visit the Arboretum at no charge. All visitors are asked to sign in with the Receptionist at Medford Leas’ Medford Campus Community Building where maps and pamphlets for self-guided walks are also available.
For more information, or to arrange a dedicated tour or program, contact
Jane Weston, Director of Community Relations at 609-654-3000 or 800-331-4302.
Or send an email to:
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