Buckle up and get ready to garden! Here are some New Jersey gardens to put on your road trip bucket list.
With a nickname like The Garden State, there are sure to be some great gardens growing within the state borders. New Jersey’s blooms branch out from the Atlantic coast to the Delaware Bay and all the parks and forests in between. Let’s take a trip (when we can) to some of the state’s best gardens.
Courtesy of NJ Family
We’ll start our tour at the northern end of the state. Walk among wildflowers, lilacs, and magnolias at the 96-acre New Jersey Botanical Garden. Located in Ringwood, it’s part of Ringwood State Park. There are miles of wooded trails to explore, as well as perennial and annual gardens, a hosta garden, and an Italianate garden with sculptures and ponds. Scavenger hunts are a fun way to involve the kids in garden activities. Free garden tours take place every Sunday, May through October. You can also tour the Manor House.
Found along the Whippany River, Frelinghuysen Arboretum features 127 acres of winding pathways and dogwoods, flowering cherry trees, and rose gardens as well as a Colonial Revival mansion. It was the summer home of patent attorney George G. Frelinghuysen. After his death, the property was left to his daughter. She was a member of the Garden Club of Morristown, eventually turning the home and gardens into an arboretum and bequeathing the property to the people of Morris County. The arboretum hosts special events, educational programs, plant sales, and children’s programs. Admission is free.
The 5.8-acre Van Vleck House and Garden property was the private home of three generations of the Van Vleck family. Located in Montclair, the 1868 Italian villa offers tours, workshops, educational programs, and virtual classes for kids. Enjoy the flowering vines and blossoms of wisteria, azaleas, hybridized rhododendrons, magnolias, spruce, English holly, and flowering dogwoods. Other features include outdoor courtyards, a children’s butterfly garden, and a winter garden. Admission is free and the garden is open 365 days a year.
Deep Cut Gardens, via Reddit
Next, head toward Sandy Hook Bay on the Atlantic Coast. Deep Cut Gardens, in Middletown, has 54 acres of gardens and greenhouses with native plants and trees. Dedicated to the home gardener, it’s the perfect place to visit to learn ways to cultivate your own garden and landscape. Enjoy gardening workshops, family-friendly activities, and walking tours led by horticulture experts. Featured trees include magnolia, China fir, and paperbark maple. The Parterre Garden has 52 varieties of roses and more than 180 bushes. There’s also a lily pond, a horticultural center, and a fairy garden.
The 180-acre Rutgers Gardens, at Rutgers University in North Brunswick Township, are used and enjoyed by the university and the public. There’s a bamboo forest, sun and shade gardens, a succulent garden, and a holly collection, as well as a wide variety of annuals, tropicals, and herbs. Educational aspects include a student farm, a farmers’ market, and volunteer vegetable gardens. Check out the unique pollinator garden with bee balm, milkweed, and cup flowers. Open 365 days a year, the garden is free to the public.
Laurelwood Arboretum, in Wayne, offers 30 acres of winding paths, wooden walkways, wooded areas, ponds, streams, and a sculpture trail. It’s popular for hiking, birdwatching, nature viewing, and photography. The wetlands garden has river birch, Norway spruce, Japanese cedar, and dappled willow. Other plants include a large rhododendron collection, as well as azaleas and native plants like the Eastern redbud, the celandine poppy, and the New Jersey tea shrub. A sensory garden has wide paths for wheelchair access, and there’s a section for children and adults who are visually, emotionally, or physically challenged.
Have you been to any of New Jersey’s botanical gardens? Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments.