Welcome to the Barton Arboretum of Medford Leas

Trout Lily

Trout Lily, Erythonium americanum
photo by Jane Bourquin

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.

Mission

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 biodiverse and sustainable practices.

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, 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.

Accreditation

The Barton Arboretum and Nature Preserve holds Level 1 Accreditation from the Arbnet Arboretum Accreditation Program.  The program is an international initiative, sponsored by the Morton Arboretum in cooperation with the American Public Gardens Association and Botanic Gardens Conservation International.

“The ArbNet accreditation provides a benchmark to assess our strengths as well as to identify areas for future development of the Barton Arboretum and Nature Preserve of Medford Leas Residents and staff of Medford Leas have long been proud of our Arboretum, and the ArbNet accreditation serves as recognition of the work we have done over the years. We are proud to have attained this designation and to be in the company of so many well-regarded arboreta.”

Those are the words Jane K. Weston, Director of Development and Community Relations at Medford Leas, in response to the accreditation by ArbNet.

History

“As we celebrate the beauty of our Arboretum in April, we can only feel wonder at the vision of Lewis W. Barton, one of Medford Leas’ founders, better known as Lew – farmer, expert horticulturist and man of action. What he accomplished as a horticulturist in Medford Leas’ first decade, 1969-1979, laid the groundwork for the creation of the Arboretum and its beginnings in the following decade, 1979-1989, the period of the Early Arboretum.”

That is the opening paragraph of The Early Arboretum, an article by Beth Bogie, editor of Medford Leas Life, which appeared in the April 2012 issue of the newsletter.