Lasdon Park and Arboretum in Westchester County is nestled perfectly in the scenic luxuriant settings of upper New York state. It sits in the Westchester County Parks system, which spans nearly 18,000 acres and is known for housing some of the most beautiful scenery in the entire country. The Arboretum in Somers, NY offers a picturesque pictorial with its verdant variety of woodlands, grassy meadows and themed gardens, all which feature an array of trees, flowering plants and more from all across the globe. Set amidst 200 acres of gorgeous larks and ponds, Lasdon also appreciates flowers and features thousands of specimens therein.
The horticultural hub of Westchester houses four inspirational memorials overall and a museum honoring Westchester veterans, too. Lasdon itself is also the site of the Chinese Friendship Pavilion – a renowned gift from the People’s Republic of China to the citizens of Westchester. Among the most perfect plantings in the arboretum are a large Azalea garden, a yellow magnolia grove, extensive lilac and pine collections and even an entire flowering tree grove! Visitors also enjoy the Famous and Historic Tree Trail – which features species that commemorate historic events and famous Americans from our country’s past, a true one-of-a-kind attraction. At each station, visitors can read about a famous person or event to which the original parent tree was witness.
Overlooking the Muscoot reservoir, the Park’s colonial revival-style main house is a perfect location for a spring/summer wedding, Mother’s Day celebration, 60th birthday bash or any other reception or event you can think of. This three-story Colonial style mansion was modeled after George Washington’s Virginia home, Mount Vernon. The mansion sits on top of 234 acres of gorgeous garden and charming hills, making it a breathtaking setting for an outside wedding, engagement party or event of any type. The house also consists of meeting rooms for horticultural workshops and botanical art classes, a gallery for art exhibits and serves as the headquarters for the Friends of Lasdon Park and Arboretum volunteer organization.
Lasdon also brags of a pool house, now converted into the Shop at Lasdon, an information center, a stunning one-acre entrance garden, and a plant shop that offers plants and gardening-related items to visitors and members.
Lasdon is vital to research in both the local and national arenas as well, particularly chestnut, dogwood and butternut trees research. Since 1992, when a three-acre grove of rare American chestnut trees was discovered in the arboretum, Westchester County has been working with the American Chestnut Foundation to 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 Forest Service, Lasdon is also the first site in the lower Hudson Valley for butternut tree research. Lasdon also is home to a variety of more that 80 dogwood trees from around the world and a research center to find ways to combat Dogwood Disease, a vital part of the undoing of the striking species.
1. Glass House Conservatory
Currently in production, the glass house conservatory will serve a vital part of the Lasdon mission. Over the years, the park has become the horticultural focal point in Westchester County. The establishment of a public greenhouse will make Lasdon Park and Arboretum a year-round botanical attraction. A new conservatory will allow Lasdon to host public horticultural shows, and displays and programs within a greenhouse environment. The conservatory will be used to bring new botanical interest to the residents of Westchester and to help educate the public about plant conservation in our diverse world environment.
2. Horticulture Camp
This exciting and educational summer camp program for kids from six through eight teaches many things. Your young gardeners will learn the lessons of the land through discovery; through planting and garden care, craft-making, storytelling, garden exploration and more. Camp runs from June through July for the kiddos.
3. 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.
4. The Azalea Garden and Trees Collection
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.
5. The William and Mildred Lasdon Memorial Garden
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 sculptures. 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 through Z! 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.
Don’t miss the Garden Shop on your way out either! The shop carries beautiful horticulture-related gift items including tools, gloves and stationery, and features a selection of exquisite house plants to enrich the d?cor of your home. In addition, the shop also sells traditional as well as hard-to-find herbs, annuals and perennials in season, many of which are raised right at Lasdon. Also, check out the Horticultural Art classes at Lasdon. They include fall, winter and spring sessions on Watercolors, Graphite drawing and lots more! Lasdon Park is one spectacular sight you have to see to believe, perfectly hidden in the hills of Westchester’s countryside. A true jewel in the crown of the county, you can visit Lasdon Park at Route 35 in Somers, New York. For more information call (914) 864-7268.
Lasdon Park & Arboretum
2610 Route 35
Katonah, NY 10536