Polly Hill, 100, a horticulturist who helped develop standards for recordkeeping in botanical gardens nationwide, died of heart failure April 25 at her home in Hockessin, Del., her son Joseph said.
Hill, who founded an arboretum at Martha's Vineyard, Mass., that bears her name, became known internationally for her skill in growing hardy trees and shrubs from seed.
Born Mary Louisa Butcher in Ardmore, Pa., but known since childhood as Polly, Hill graduated from Vassar College, where she majored in music. She worked for a year in Tokyo, teaching English and field hockey at a girls' college.
She studied botany and horticulture at the University of Delaware and at Longwood Gardens near Wilmington, Del.
After she and her husband, Julian, an organic chemist, became owners of Barnard's Inn Farm on Martha's Vineyard, she began transforming 20 acres of fields surrounding their summer home into a showplace of trees and shrubs grown from seed.
By 1997, when Hill was 90, her garden contained about 1,700 kinds of woody plants. The property in West Tisbury, Mass., was renamed the Polly Hill Arboretum and established as a nonprofit organization for research and education.