Wilbur D. May Arboretum & Botanical Garden

arbo sign

The Wilbur D. May Arboretum and Botanical Garden is a 13 acre living museum with over 4,000 native and adaptive plant species. Located in a transitional zone between the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Great Basin Desert. The garden averages 7 of precipitation annually and comes in the form or rain or snow. A short growing season, less than 120 days, and at an elevation of 4,600 feet, the gardens' daily temperatures can fluctuate 50 degrees or more in a day! Only a few plants can survive these conditions without additional care and maintenance.
lear gardenThe Arboretum's primary purpose is education, research, and to demonstrate how introduced plant species and native plants grow in a high desert environment. The Wilbur D. May Arboretum & Botanical Garden is a member of the American Public Garden Association (APGA) and a certified Level II Arboretum through the Arb Net Program administered by the Morton Arboretum of Registered Arboreta, Lisle, IL.

The first phase of the four phase fencing project was completed in 2014, and Phase II is nearly complete thanks to a generous donation from the May Foundation.  The primary purpose of the fence is to protect and preserve the plant collection and gardens for future generations. Final phases of the fencing project will be completed when funds become available. The Arboretum gates will remain open and free to the public during regular park hours. This year we are making plans to upgrade Kristen's Garden by adding a new water feature and tranfoming it into a shade garden. Funding for the upgarde is made possible by a generous donation from the May Arboretum Society.

HOURS OF OPERATION: The Arboretum & Botanical Garden is open during regular park hours, year-round.


GETTING HERE: The Wilbur D. May Arboretum & Botanical Garden address is 1595 N. Sierra Street. We are located inside Rancho San Rafael Regional Park.
Office phone number ~ (775) 785-4153
Horticulturist: Bill Carlos, M.S., bcarlos@washoecounty.us 
Horticulture Assistant: Phil Brazier, ISA Certified, pbrazier@washoecounty.us 
Maintenance Worker II:Kelly Latham