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Baker Arboretum

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The Baker Arboretum

P.O. Box One

Bowling Green, KY 42102


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The Downing Museum



Red Obelisk Beech behind the Antique lamp from Copenhagen.

Conifers by the Downing MuseumFrog sculpture through the dogwood flowers.Various conifers.The double bloom of the Cornus florida 'Plena'.A cherub garden ornament in the Japanese Maples.


Go to our Visitor Information Page for more information.

What is an Arboretum?  

ar·bo·retum:  a place where trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants are cultivated for scientific and educational purposes. Etymology: New Latin, from Latin, plantation of trees, from arbor.  Plural noun:  Arboreta

Similar to a botanical garden, an arboretum displays plants for educational, research and ornamental purposes.  Arboreta focus on trees and shrubs.

Both arboreta and botanical gardens play important roles in conservation and preservation.  They are places to see a greater range of plants that can grow in an area,see how to use different plants to create a pleasing landscape,  and to see mature plants to appreciate their ultimate sizes and characteristics.  An additional role is for people to have a green space to visit for the spiritual and emotional benefits of a quiet natural environment.

Founded in 1992 by Jerry Baker, the Baker Arboretum now covers nearly 115 acres.  Built on a ridge of rolling hills in the outskirts of Bowling Green Kentucky, the arboretum overlooks Bowling Green and the Western Kentucky University campus.  

Working with the tree and art collections, landscape architect Mitchell Leichhardt (1924-2015) designed a tapestry of trees and art.  Featuring many varieties of dogwoods, magnolias and other flowering trees, woven among the conifers and Japanese maples. 

Visitors will enjoy year-round highlights.  Not only spring and summer blooms, but also the fall color, featuring over 160 Japanese maples and the winter beauty of the conifers.

 Mitchell Leichhardt

In Memory of Mitchell Leichhardt

Mitchell Leichhardt (1924-2015) was the guiding force behind the Baker Arboretum.  He was a close, lifelong friend of Jerry Baker.  They traveled the world, and returned with the vision for the arboretum.  His touch is throughout, the classic European design, from the conifer collection to the Japanese Maples.  We are among the many that he took under his wing and nurtured.  He will be greatly missed. His obituary is in the Bowling Green Daily News.






The Baker Arboretum is hosting the 2017 SE Regional American Conifer Society Meeting, June 9-11, 2017

Hyatt Place Hotel - Bowling Green, KY

Enjoy the charm and beauty of southern Kentucky at the ACS-SE Region meeting, June 9-11, 2017, in Bowling Green. The meeting is hosted by the Barker Arboretum, a 115-acre garden that specializes in conifers, among other collections. The Baker Arboretum is also the site of the Downing Museum of Art for your enjoyment. The staff of the arboretum are looking forward to seeing you.

We will be staying the new Hyatt Place hotel near the WKU campus, centrally located to downtown and our meeting venue at the alumni center next door.

Make plans now to attend the Southeast Regional Meeting in Bowling Green, KY, June 9-11! It’s going to be a spectacular event at the Baker Arboretum, featuring knowledgeable speakers and demonstrations of interest to any conifer enthusiast.

See the meeting brochure with agenda, speakers, and events, here.

Register Online Now

Registration Form to Download and Print




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 Last Modified 4/26/17