History 1960 to today


Upon William I.P. Campbell's retirement, Gregory D. Armstrong is appointed director of the Botanic Garden.


The Herb Garden is established at the President's Residence Garden (which has been redesigned since then and today called the Happy Chace ’28 Garden).

Early 1980s

Armstrong reorganizes the Systematics Garden to illustrate modern concepts of plant taxonomy and better show evolutionary relationships between different plant groups. The new plan is base on based on the classification system devised by Charles Bessey.


The Lyman Plant House and Conservatory goes through a major expansion with the addition of a large volume greenhouse, the Cool Temperate House, glassing over a hallway to form the Camellia Corriedor, and the addition of a student greenhouse. A Plant Physiology laboratory is added on the north side of the building, as well two classrooms on the east side.


Gregory Armstrong and Ellen Shukis (Assistant to the Director) renovate the Rock Garden, excavating to remove clay buildup and adding gravel to improve drainage.


Richard H. Munson is hired to direct the Botanic Garden. He guides the establishment of the Japanese Garden for Reflection and Contemplation on a slope below the President's House, next to Paradise Pond, and the Edith Bramwell Reilly Hand Wildflower Garden behind Garrison Hall. (The Wildflower Garden was moved in 1998 and the Japanese Tea Hut was removed in 2015.) Before leaving Smith in 1995, he initates a master-planning process to develop a Landscape Master Plan for Smith College.


Kim E. Tripp becomes the next director. Once the Board of Trustees adopts the new Landscape Master Plan, Tripp begins the implementation process. She also begins the planning process for a major renovation of the Lyman Plant House and Conservatory.


Michael Marcotrigiano takes over as director, just in time to oversee the renovation and restoration of the Lyman Plant House, 2001–2003. 

architect's plant for Lyman renovation and additions


First exhibition — Plant Spirals: Beauty You Can Count On — debuts in the new Church Exhibition Gallery at the Lyman Plant House.

view of the church exhibition gallery with the plant spirals exhibit on display


Capen Garden renovation, designed by  Landscape Architect Nancy Watkins Denig (Smith class of 1968),  is completed.

Nancy Denig drawing for the new layout for Capen Garden

After several years of planning, the redesign of the Systematics Garden is brought to fruition. New plantings and a new layout are designed to reflect current taxonomic concepts as put forth by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group.

Under Marcotrigiano's guidance new plantings and renovations of existing plantings will shape the character of the campus for future generations of Smith students.


A major renovation is carried out at the President's residence, with the gardens surrounding the house redesigned and renamed the Happy Chace ’28 Garden.

drawing of plan for the garden renovation


The Japanese Garden is re-envisioned by Japanese Garden consultant John Powell.



Laurenus Clark Seelye . . . created a botanic garden that has distinguished the college and enriched the campus and community life for more than a century.


A Centennial Bouquet: The Botanic Garden of Smith College 1895-1995

by Paula Deitz '59