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On the Ground: Exploring Millbourne Estate

January 19, 2022
An environmental horticulture student immersed in plants

At first glance, York College may look like a typical campus in a typical college town — but look a little closer, and you’ll discover a community full of hidden (and not-so-hidden) gems. In our On the Ground series, we explore some of YCP’s most beloved places and spaces with help from our own Spartan students.

The Fall 2021 semester kicked off York College’s new bachelor’s degree program in Environmental Horticulture. Students in the major are able to spend class time in the impressive gardens at the Millbourne Estate — the 50-acre private estate of the late Louis J. Appell Jr., a local philanthropist and founder of the Powder Mill Foundation.  Hannah Zinn, a first-year Environmental Horticulture major, has already made long-lasting memories at Millbourne.

A greenhouse and garden beds at Millbourne Estate “Our group had the opportunity to go there in the fall of 2021, and I was enamored,” says Hannah. In addition to acres upon acres of ornamental gardens, the estate includes water features, a chapel, ruins, and a number of design elements influenced by Mr. Appell’s interest in English gardens.

“Having this chance to research in the lab setting and then go out to the grounds and observe live plants alongside professionals, such as the fantastic groundskeepers at the estate, is an amazing opportunity that some might not get the chance to experience until further into their career,” explains Hannah. “There are so many future opportunities for field work and research that it’s hard to not be excited!”

The grounds at Millbourne are well-known for their beauty — and plans are in the works to expand their offerings to include a York College laboratory. “I really look forward to exploring the opportunities an on-site lab could bring,” says Hannah.

For students like Hannah, the Millbourne Estate offers an unparalleled look into ornamental landscaping, local ecosystems, plant science, and sustainable growth and production. “I’m passionate about helping others, and I hope that through encouraging engagement in horticulture in my future career, I can help people realize how deeply they are interconnected with the world around them, and consequently, how valuable they are to this life.”  

Greenery, trees, shrubs and flowers surround a small pond at Millbourne Estate. A bumble bee stops to rest on a bright purple flower in a garden.

The Appell Environmental Horticulture program at York College was made possible through a multimillion-dollar gift from the Powder Mill Foundation, established by the late Louis J. Appell Jr.