In the Garden
The nickname "the Garden State" originated from New Jersey's booming agriculture industry. Still, there are many beautiful floral gardens that can be found throughout the state. Here are some favorite ones to explore. Visitors are welcome to stroll the grounds, relax and enjoy the gardens throughout the changing seasons. Most of the gardens listed are free to the public and open year-round, daily from dawn to dusk.
"And the Secret Garden bloomed and bloomed and every morning revealed new miracles" - Frances Hodgson Barnett.
Avis Campbell Gardens
Tucked away behind the United Way Building located in the center of Montclair, is a lovely flower garden filled with a colorful variety of annuals and perennials. A central
water fountain creates a soothing atmosphere. Roses abound in this small paradise that boasts a formal English-style walled garden. This garden is maintained by the Garden Club of Montclair and welcomes volunteers to join them on Tues mornings.
Bamboo Brook Gardens
The Bamboo Brook Outdoor Education Center was the home of William and Martha Brookes Hutcheson from 1911 to 1959. A perfect example of the early 20th century landscape design, the gardens were designed by Martha herself, who was one of the country's first women landscape architects. A large portion of Bamboo Brook have been restored to their circa 1945 appearance where water was an important feature in the design. Gardens here include the East Lawn, the Circular Pool the Upper and Lower Waters and the Coffee Terrace. Open year-round, daily from 8 am to Sunset.
Camden's Children's Garden
The Camden’s Children’s Garden is designed to provide horticultural experiences for children and families. The gardens include Four Seasons Butterfly House, a Dinosaur Garden, the Storybook Gardens and a Picnic Garden with oversized cups and bowls. Kids of all ages will enjoy crawling through the underground maze and climbing the Tree House. Admission is $9. Open Wed-Fri 10am-3pm, Sat 10am-4pm, March to Dec.
Photo Credit: Facebook/Camden's Children's Garden
Colonial Park Gardens
This five acre perennial garden has something blooming for every season. Daffodils, lilacs, and daphnes come alive in the spring. Summer blooms irises, peonies, lilies and roses. In the fall, you will see asters, ornamental grasses and butterfly bushes. Winter showcases evergreens and winterberry hollies. Colonial Park Gardens also is home to a 144 acre aboretum, a Fragrance and Sensory Garden and a Shrub Collection. The Rudolph W van der Goot Rose Garden has over 3,000 roses with 285 different types.
Cross Estate Gardens
This favorite garden is located at the Cross Estate mansion in Morristown National Historic Park. The early 20th century design includes a wisteria-covered 19 stoned columned pergola, along with the formal perennial garden and a native plant garden. The lawn garden consists of rhododendrons, perennials and primroses. Cross Estate Gardens are maintained by the New Jersey Historical Garden Foundation. Tours of the garden are offered on Wednesdays between 10am & 11:30am, April through Oct.
Davis Johnson Park & Gardens
This 7 acre peaceful park is the former estate of Alliene S.D. Johnson. Here you will find a beautiful gazebo with wooden bench seating perfect for an outdoor wedding. Also on the property is a Garden Room, a greenhouse, a collection of dwarf conifers and the sunken garden. The Jack D. Lissemore Rose Garden, an award winning rose garden is displayed here. Stroll along the walking paths that wind through the park.
Deep Cut Gardens
Named after the deep valley in which they were made, the property was bought by Vito Genovese in 1935 and designed to be reminiscent of gardens of Italy. It features cascading pools, a Gardener’s Cottage, a Lily Pod with koi and large goldfish and a Japanese Garden. A rose Parterre leads the way to the focal point at the end of the garden which is a stunning wooden Pergola. Open daily 8am to dusk, year-round.
Spend the day at this beautiful 1,000 acre paradise donated by Doris Duke. Start your visit at the Orientation Center and pick up a map of the grounds that include over 18 miles of walking trails. Some of the highlights to see are the Old Foundation, the Hay Barn, an indoor Orchid Range and the Great Falls. Bring a blanket and a picnic basket or enjoy breakfast or lunch at the Farm Barn Café. A perfect place for bicycling, bring yours or rent a bicycle at the Bikeshare Program for just $5 for 2 hours. Duke Farms is open daily 8:30am-4:30pm but closed on Wednesdays. Arrive early since the gates will close once the parking lot fills up. A free assistance tram car runs on weekends.
Essex County Rose Garden
Established in 1959, this special Rose Garden is located in the Montclair section of the Brookdale Park. About 1,500 bushes of over 100 species of roses are found here for your viewing pleasure. There are 29 well kept rose beds that include rugosas, hybrid musks, floribunda, shrub, hybrid teas, polyanthas, and antique roses. June is the peak bloom time. Visitors are welcome daily to sit and smell the roses from dawn to dusk.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this 28 acre now public garden was
once the estate of Joseph P. Day during the late 1920’s and was called Pleasant Days. The Gardens are still in the process of being restored to their original glory days that included sunny green lawns and grottoes decorated with colorful glazed tiles. Follow the self-guided walking tour showing the main lawn, the reflecting pool terrace, the Garden of the Zodiac, the Tea House, the Dragon Fountain Pool, a lovely pond, open meadows, and more. This true secret garden is a top pick and is open Thurs thru Sun from 10am-5pm. It is closed in the winter. Admission is $10, children under 12 are free.
Leonard J Buck Gardens
This 33 acre garden began in the 1930’s when its owner, Leonard J Buck, a geologist and nature enthusiast, wanted to create a naturalistic woodland garden using large rock outcroppings found on the grounds. Today it is one of the east coasts leading rock gardens, featuring rare native and exotic plants in a setting of a wooded stream valley. Follow the wooded trails past wildflowers, various ferns, rich rhododendrons and azalea bushes. Peak visiting time is May and early June. Open daily April to Nov, Mon-Fri 10am-4pm, Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 12pm-5pm. Open 8am-8pm on Wednesdays May through August. Closed on holidays and weekends December through March.
Macculoch Hall Museum & Gardens
This 1810 brick Federal style mansion once owned by George and Lousia Macculoch.
It is now a historical museum showcasing nine period rooms. In the backyard you will find a beautiful garden showcasing over 65 varieties of period heirloom roses with 2 different types of roses known only as "Old Macculloch Hall Roses." The back porch boasts a wisteria trellis, a gift brought all the way from Japan. While there is a fee for the museum, the gardens are free and always open to the public daily 9am-5pm.
Morven Museum & Garden
Built in 1750, this national landmark named after the mythical kingdom of Ireland, is a former NJ Governor's Mansion. Included on the grounds is a horse chestnut walk and the formal front lawn is lined with Southern catalpa trees. The back courtyard boasts a 19th century brick wall and the Colonial Revival garden. In the kitchen garden, find vegetable beds growing heirloom as well as modern types of roots and fruits. Visit the mansion and gardens for an admission fee of $10 on Wed-Sun 10am-4pm. Enjoy an afternoon Tea & Tour available for $22 on Wednesdays held in the Garden Room.
New Jersey Botanical Gardens
This Tudor Revival manor house and 96 acre garden called Skylands, is New Jersey's official botanical garden. The nine formal gardens are made up of an Annual Garden, the Peony Garden, an Azalea Garden, a Lilac Garden, the Crab Apple Vista, the Rock Garden, a Magnolia Walk, the Perrennial Border, and the Winter Garden. Walk along the many Woodland paths and enjoy the scenery. Take a tours of the mansion given on selected Sundays for a fee of $7. Entrance to the garden and grounds is free and open daily from 8am-8pm. Winter month hours are from 8am-6pm. A $5 parking fee is charged per carload on Saturdays and Sundays from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Maintained by Rutgers University, this research and display garden sits on 180 acres and has 1,200 types of plants. The gardens include unique annuals, tropicals, herbs and vegetables. Pick up a map of the grounds and explore the Evergreen Garden, a shrub Garden, Rhododendron and Azalea Gardens, The Shade and Ornamental Tree Collection. The largest collection of American Hollies in the world is found here. Take a fun photo sitting on the giant Adirondack Chairs and be sure to follow the winding path through the enchanting Bamboo Forest. Open daily 8:30am til dusk, year-round.
Sayen House & Gardens
In the early 1900's, Frederick Sayen, an avid gardener, traveled the world and brought back a collection of rare plants and flowers from China, Japan and England. Many are still standing today as is Fred's 1912 bungalow style home. See over 1,000 azaleas and close to 500 rhododendrons. Grounds include nature trails, fish ponds and gazebos. The Annual Azalea Festival is held on Mother's Day. Open daily from dawn to dusk.
Van Vleck House & Gardens
This once private estate was built in 1916, and given to the Montclair Foundation by the heirs of the Van Vleck family. This classic styled Mediterranean villa features a stunning 50 year old Chinese wisteria displayed in the courtyard. The gardens here include a Formal Garden, the Woodlands Garden, the Winter Garden, the Children's Butterfly Garden and a Mother's Garden. There is an extensive collection of azaleas and rhododendrons on this 6 acre property. The Van Vleck house hosts non-profit organization events. The gardens are free to enjoy and are open daily year-round.
Well Sweep Herb Farm
At Well Sweep Herb Farm, you will find one of the largest collections of herbs in the country. In the formal display garden, herbs range from familiar and unusual names to the rare and exotic. Stroll along the garden paths, passing by 80 types of scented-leaf geraniums as well as lavenders, rosemarys and thymes. In the Healing Garden, have fun viewing the plants and reading their labels describing their remedies such as 'lung wort' for soothing coughs. Explore the many unique items found in the gift shop. Open all year Mon-Sat 9am-5pm, Sun 11am-4pm. Call ahead for winter hours.
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