So Why Is ENC an Arboretum and What Is That…
You’ve probably noticed small plaques adorning some of the trees on ENC’s campus connecting the plant to ENC’s Babcock Arboretum. Since 1993, ENC’s collection of 75 varieties has been designated an official arboretum named for the colorful Professor J.Verner Babcock who taught botany at ENC from 1938 until 1978.
What is an arboretum? An arboretum is a botanical garden containing a collection of plants intended at least partly for scientific study.
What are those small plaques on every tree? These signs have the trees Latin name, the common name, and a number assigned to that plant. They also designate whether that tree was gifted on behalf of a specific person and if so, who it was gifted by.
Why is ENC an arboretum? ENC sits on part of the land of the historic Quincy family estate. Originally a 400-acre property full of beautiful trees and flowers, the land would host numerous homes for the Quincy family members over the years, a school for girls, and eventually ENC. The original homestead had a wide variety of plants each specially chosen for the unique climate and location. Some of those plants are still standing and are the basis of ENC’s arboretum. Today three of the properties original Norway Spruce trees remain on the left side of Canterbury Hall. The grand tree in the center of campus facing the student center is believed to have been a gift in the late 1800s from Charles Francis Adams II to the Quincy Mansion School for Girls. What is today an impressive specimen of the Beeches variety, once traveled from Europe across the Atlantic in a small pot. Charles Francis Adams II was known for giving trees as gifts and had ordered 50 Beeches from Europe around the turn of the century. You can see some of his other Beeches at his property on Hospital Hill in Boston.
Not all of the trees on campuses were gifts, but a good number of them were donated in memory of a special individual or group. These are just a few of the many trees that were gifted to the campus. The next time you’re taking a walk, take a moment to glance at the trees you pass. Take advantage of ENC’s beautiful outdoor museum!