Dedicated to San Mateo’s Central Park and horticultural heritage

The San Mateo Arboretum Society (SMAS) was founded in 1974, by Peninsula resident and garden enthusiast, Marion Panaretos.  Because of her own love of gardens, Mrs. Panaretos recognized the importance of protecting the botanical aspects of San Mateo’s Central Park, adjacent to downtown San Mateo, and also the historic Kohl Pumphouse.

Today, SMAS continues as a “member and volunteer powered” organization dedicated to the preservation of San Mateo’s rich horticultural heritage.  Our headquarters and most of our activities are focused around the Kohl Pump House area in Central Park.

Our mission is to:
* Encourage interest in gardening
* Collect and propagate diverse plant species
* Educate the community on horticultural subjects
* Support Central Park and maintain the Rose Garden

Ongoing activities include monthly free educational seminars and workshops – many specific to sustainable gardening practices, Master Gardeners’ free plant clinics, operation of the Garden Center which sells specialty plants to the public, maintenance of beloved specialty gardens installed for beautification and education, as well as the Kohl Pump House and surrounding landscaping.

Regular newsletters provide members with useful, season-specific gardening information and anecdotes.

Our primary yearly event is the popular San Mateo/Hillsborough Fall Garden Tour, featuring gardens reflecting a dazzling variety of methods and designs.

As a 501(c)(3) California non-profit organization, funds received for membership as well as donations to the San Mateo Arboretum Society are tax-deductible to the member or donor.  Funds generated by our activities are contributed towards beautification, preservation and major maintenance projects for Central Park.

Our wonderful working relationship with the City of San Mateo has significantly contributed to our success.  In collaboration with the City, the San Mateo Arboretum Society has accomplished the following major projects in Central Park:

  • Restored and modernized the Kohl Pumphouse
  • Developed a master plan for Central park
  • Created the fern grove in honor of Mayor John Condon
  • Developed the rhododendron and azalea garden
  • Developed, enlarged and maintain the rose garden and gazebo
  • Restored the greenhouse and nursery comprising the Garden Center
  • Developed and maintain California Natives demonstration gardens
  • Developed and maintain the Butterfly/Hummingbird Garden
  • Developed and installed the Tribute Bricks Path