What’s Happening

Click on Programs to see full listing of events.

“Looking Together” Tours

The 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month, May-September, 2-3pm:

Learn more about the Arboretum and our collections on these guided walks and talks led by our knowledgeable staff and docents. These specialized tours have been designed to offer an in-depth and unique Arboretum experience. Theme changes weekly.

Free with $5 admission for non-members, free for members and children 12 and under. Meet at the visitor center.


The Henry Whiting Map of 1850

The Perfect Vineyard Gift!1850 Map - Final_reduced

The landscape of Martha’s Vineyard—the shape of its coastline, the pattern of its forests, fields, and moorlands, the distribution of its roads, houses, villages, and stone walls—is a product of its past. To interpret the Vineyard today and anticipate future changes, we need to understand that history. Among the best tools available is a map from 1850 created by Henry Whiting, a distinguished topographer with the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey and co-founder of the MV Agricultural Society.

Copies of this map are available at the Polly Hill Visitor Center or may be purchased by calling the Arboretum.  All proceeds from map sales benefit the Arboretum’s research fun to support the development of a modern flora for Martha’s Vineyard and research in plant conservation and forest ecology.


Read more about the map here.

Listen to David Foster’s July 7 talk.

Maps: $35 at Polly Hill

Phone order Maps: $35 plus $4.95 shipping and handling charge (508-693-9426)

Maps also available at Bunch of Grapes, Granary Gallery, and Martha’s Vineyard Museum

(22 x 32 unframed)



PHA Ed Center and Botany Lab Opening 19 Aug 2016 053Education Center & Botany Lab

Grand Opening!

Thanks to a generous matching grant from the Cedar Tree Foundation, (the family foundation of Dr. David H. Smith) and generous contributions from our friends; the construction of our much anticipated Education Center & Botany Lab is finished! This science facility embodies our mission to the fullest extent. The building will provide the space and equipment to advance our plant research and the climate-controlled indoor environment to extend our education programming year-round. Completing the building also honors the spirit of Polly Hill and David Smith, both who sought to share knowledge about plants through education, research, and plant conservation.


National Register Listing

national register plaqueresize 2

We are pleased to announce our listing in the National Register of Historic Places! This formal recognition of the Arboretum’s significance based on national standards honors the exceptional importance of our historic property as well as our preservation efforts, and Polly’s vision for her property.

Read more about our listing here!



Seed Collecting Across the US

ozarks trip 2014PHA staff travel the world in search of seed! This year Curator Tom Clark, Executive Director Tim Boland, and Horticulturist Ian Jochems embarked on botanical road trips in the U.S.A.

In October Tom was on the road in the Carolinas and Georgia focused on locating, documenting, and collecting seed of deciduous azalea species (a particular interest of Polly Hill’s). The trip was underwritten by a $2,500 grant from the American Rhododendron Society Research Foundation awarded to PHA to fund Tom’s proposal. His collection efforts focused on increasing the genetic diversity in cultivation of three rhododendron species threatened in their native habitat: Rhododendron eastmanii, flammeum and vaseyi. 47 collections were made on his trip including some valuable “off-mission” seed of mountain stewartia as well as other rhododendrons. Tom was accompanied by Harold Sweetman, director of the Jenkins Arboretum in Devon, Pennsylvania. This collaborative trip forms the foundation for future trips to continue conservation work in meeting international goals set forth by the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation.

Also in October (prime month for seed collection) Tim and Ian participated in a seed collection trip to the Ozark Mountain Region of Arkansas. They collected 34 different taxa of plants ranging from trees to herbaceous plants. A few great finds were maple-leaved oak (Quercus acerifolia) and the Ozark witch-hazel (Hamamelis vernalis). The maple-leaved oak is listed as a threatened species with only about 200 known living trees. In addition to Tom and Ian, the botanical team for the Ozark trip included Anthony Aiello, director of horticulture and curator at the Morris Arboretum, and Michael Dosmann, curator of living collections at the Arnold Arboretum.

The results of both these collecting trips help us to grow a stronger wild origin plant collection at PHA while helping to preserve wild plant taxa both in fulfilment of our mission. Look for the rest of the story next summer when Tom, Tim, and Ian present their botanical adventures in an evening lecture.

Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission

Arnold Arboretum News


Recent Articles

Plants of Winter Interest,  Martha’s Vineyard Magazine

The Science of Fall Color, Vineyard Gazette

15 Years and Growing Strong,  Read about us in a recent Vineyard Gazette

From Polly’s Garden This is a series of articles written for the Vineyard Gazette for the 2012 summer Tuesday editions of the paper. Tim Boland writes on a variety of plant related topics.


Massachusetts Botanical Gardens


We have recently collaborated with other Massachusetts Botanical Gardens to create a website to promote garden visitation in the state.

Check it out to discover the diversity of gardens in our state!



ArbNet Level IV Accreditation Awarded

We have been awarded a Level IV Accreditation through the Morton Arboretum’s Register of Arboreta and Accreditation Program, ArbNet.  The purpose of the Register is to identify all of the organizations that collect and display trees, shrubs, and other woody plants for the benefit of the public, science, and conservation. Organizations listed on the register are accredited at different levels depending on degrees of development, capacity, and professionalism. The Polly Hill Arboretum is now recognized amongst other national and international professional public gardens with the highest level of ArbNet accreditation. Level IV Accredited Arboreta have met the highest levels of arboretum standards, including those specified for Level I, II, and III and demonstrate additional institutional capacity to collaborate on scientific and conservation activities related to trees. For more information about the program go to www.arbnet.org