We started creating a botanical garden in our Stone Ridge backyard property in 2001 by planting native trees, shrubs, perennials, and unusual edibles. Soon after this, we became interested in bog plants, hardy cacti, woodland species, and rare non-native trees. We decided to fence in 3 acres, created plant tags, and recorded what we had planted over the past decade with the intention of one day being a public garden with the mission of being an educational resource.
Over time our arboretum expanded into four large gardens covering 11 acres of land. The Field Garden has a grape arbor, pitcher plant bog, an arum bed, and a hardy cactus bed. The Native Woodland garden is devoted to shade-tolerant native perennials. The Property Garden surround the house and feature perennial plants, a Calycanthus and Stewartia collection, as well as a Hydrangea collection. The South Garden is where our visitor kiosk and most guests start from. This area features a collection of Magnolia trees, Viburnum shrubs, a Southwestern Desert bed, a Chinese Edible and Ornamental collection, and a lotus pond. This South Garden is also where our greenhouse is located, which is used for growing seasonal vegetable crops and marginally hardy fruiting trees.
Two newer gardens are still being developed- The Pinetum and the Native Woodlands. In 2021 we were able to stop the development of houses being built on a ten-acre parcel adjoining the Native Woodlands and Field Gardens. The “The Northwoods,” as it is called, bring the total acreage to the arboretum to 21.
We see our gardens as an aesthetically arranged experiment station to test interesting and useful plants and a living textbook of the rich diversity of plant life on earth that can be grown in our upstate New York environment.
Allyson Levy and Scott Serrano
Co-Founders of Hortus Arboretum and Botanical Gardens
Read about Hortus through a Master Gardener eyes Dutchess Dirt
2023 Board of Directors:
Co-Executive Director – Allyson Levy
Co-Executive Director – Scott Serrano
Chairperson – Randi Baird
Secretary – Kersti Hanson
Board member – Amy Poux