2020 Site Projects

2020 Site Projects

In 2017, your generosity helped us plant 200 native trees that have put down roots and are growing. The ravines include a new footbridge, five new trees, and native fern and beautyberry shrubs under “Mr. Emory’s Wedding Tree.”  Also, there is a new earthen amphitheater, and a young developing Cajun Prairie inspired meadow. Your support has allowed us to complete these projects.

Now, We Need Help With Our Next Projects In The Master Plan:
Wildflowers in Meadow, Grasses on Amphitheater, Plants in Ravine

Hilltop 2020 project map showing entrance, nursery, footbridge, ravine restoration and planting, cathedral, footbridges, Mr. Emory's wedding tree, boardwalk, upland glade, Meadows (A-D), amphitheater, and courtyard

Four new exciting projects can only proceed next with your support.  To do this, a fundraising goal of $50,000 is needed by March 31, 2020. Your tax-deductible contribution will be used to: 1) continue to develop native wildflowers and grasses in the meadow, 2) plant native grasses on the amphitheater, 3) clean up the ravine and introduce new plants there, and 4) plant additional native ground covers and shrubs in the Upland Glade.

More about the meadows

two girls in the meadowOur dream for having a Cajun Prairie inspired meadow is being realized in 2019. The 3-acre meadow includes mowed grass pathways and hydric swales to allow visitors to experience a rich diversity of native annual and perennial flowers in a patchwork of grasses. The meadow is still in its infancy. Dr. Charles Allen, one of the foremost experts on Cajun Prairies in the State and our consultant for the project, says it will take ten years for the planting to reach maturity. To do this, we need to plant more seeds and plants. The management plan includes removing invasive plants, and bush-hogging once a year to remove woody plants. Student volunteers from the LSU Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture started the Meadow Keepers to assist with development and maintenance. These enhancements will increase visitors’ enjoyment of a significant native plant community that can only be found locally at Hilltop.

More about the amphitheater

amphitheaterThe earthen amphitheater allows visitors to sit back and enjoy the beauty of the meadows, take photographs, bird watch, read a book, or enjoy a picnic lunch.  It is also a place for fundraising events and for those who rent our facility.  Rye grass was planted temporarily to stabilize the soil until native grasses could be planted. Funds are needed to establish a permanent cover of perennial native carpet grass, Axonopus affinis, on the front slope, and little Bluestem, Schizachyrium scoparium, plants to stabilize the back slope.

More about the ravines

people crossing the footbridge over the ravineSouth of the footbridge that leads to the “Cathedral” and west of Emory Smith’s home is an area of the ravine in need of restoration and replanting. We will remove invasive plants, identify existing plants to keep, including some originally planted by Emory Smith, and then prepare the site for additional native trees, shrubs, and ground covers.

More about the Upland Glade

The Upland Glade is a horseshoe-shaped area west of our live oak, “Mr. Emory’s Wedding Tree.”  Naturally occurring spring ephemeral Trilliums, Green Dragons, and May Apples occur there. Our goal is to preserve these native plants, and introduce complimentary native ground covers and shrubs.

Our fundraising timeline and ways to donate

The Board of Directors has set a spring deadline of March 31, 2020 to raise the funds for these existing new projects. Kick-off the fundraising campaign with an end-of-year, tax-deductible contribution to the Friends of Hilltop Arboretum online or you can mail a contribution to the Friends of Hilltop Arboretum, P. O. Box 82608, Baton Rouge, LA 70884. Questions, call 225-767-6916 or email pdavis@lsu.edu. However, contributions can still be made by the deadline of March 31, 2020.

Working together, all of us have achieved something truly special at this place called Hilltop. Our current projects have Emory Smith in mind as they keep us focused on the roots of what the Arboretum is about, plants! Please join in this fund raising effort to develop and sustain the excellent design and horticultural work at Hilltop.

Make Your Tax-Deductible Donation Today!


Questions? Call 225-767-6916 or email pdavis@lsu.edu.