In 1995, The James M. Cox, Jr. Arboretum Foundationreceived notification of a generous gift from the estate of Mr. Charles R. Niehaus for the purpose of developing and maintaining a Magnolia and Lilac collection on the grounds of the Arboretum. Mr. Niehuas was a local Daytonian who loved spending time in his garden.

At the time of the gift the foundNiehausCollectionation board identified the need for maintaining the collection once established. With approval from the estate executor, the decision was made to allow the fund to grow to an amount allowing for the purchasing and planting of a world-class collection, as well as covering the salary of a horticulturist to take care of the collection once fully established.

Thanks to Mr. Niehaus’ gift, each spring visitors to the Arboretum can experience a walk fragranced with the sweet scent and beautiful blooms of lilacs and magnolias. Both of these collections have grown substantially over the past few years and continue to grow with new plantings added each spring and fall.  The collections are located in what is known as the Shrub Garden, found around the south pond of the Arboretum and extending past the Children’s Maze. The Niehaus Collection can easily be found by following the paver loop path to the south pond. A secondary paver path (a lighter shade of pavers) from the loop path leads you to the Niehaus Collection.