Just in time for Mother’s Day and the blossoms of spring, this 28-acre historic garden gem in northern New Jersey is opening its gates for the 2021 season. Within driving distance from New York City, Newark, and Philadelphia, Greenwood Gardens offers a sensorial walk through the flora, fauna, fountains, Arts and Crafts follies, and antique garden ornaments from a time gone by.
Greenwood Gardens will be open to the public Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from May 1 through November 7 between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Entry is by vehicle and advance timed ticket registration only. Tours are self-guided.
“We are looking forward with great excitement to our first full season in over a year following extensive renovations completed last September,” said Abby O’Neill, Executive Director of Greenwood. “Mother’s Day weekend will be a particularly joyous occasion for families. As tickets are limited, we encourage families to make reservations early, in time to celebrate the start of the season with their loved ones when the garden is beginning to bloom and signature trees are starting to show their splendor.”
Springtime at Greenwood Gardens is an exciting time of the year when the season begins to reveal a changing plant palette including billowing clouds of pink and white cherry blossoms, flowering dogwoods and tulip trees, yellow daffodils, red azaleas, purple rhododendrons, and blankets of white flowers. The garden encourages repeat visitation to view the unfolding of the season and our newest collections which have been expanding over time. Winding paths lined with stone figures and boxwood, graceful staircases entering and exiting the Teahouse, terraced gardens, woodlands, grottoes, fountains, Arts and Crafts follies, and intricate iron gates, along with other original structures, contribute to Greenwood Gardens’ unique hardscape, as does the careful layout and planning of the plantings.
Visitors feel the effect of the timelessness of Greenwood as soon as they drive through the Main gates where a graceful London plane allée lines the entrance drive, creating a sense of peace and order. Visitors also will be able to take full advantage of our delightful fountains, varied new plantings, and gracious seating. In the process, they can experience the revitalizing effects of connecting with nature in a safe and beautiful garden oasis over the course of a 75-minute self-guided tour.
After checking in at the new ticket kiosk, visitors disembark in one of two parking lots. From there, they proceed on foot to the first stop on their self-guided tour, the 1925 and 1926 Cottages, Tennis Pavilion, and First Tee, all storied landmarks in Greenwood’s history. The tour continues past the 1950 Main House to the Main Terrace, with its grand view of the entire renovated Main Axis, the core portion of the historic garden, featuring fountains, horticultural delights and antique urns and sculptures.
From the Main Terrace, visitors step down a gracious staircase to the Reflecting Pool Terrace with its D-shaped pool, in the center of which, original lead dolphins delightfully spout water. Surrounding the pool is a mix of perennial and annual flower garden classics which are expected to reveal themselves in rich hues of yellow, blue, and purple. Poppies, peonies, iris, and digitalis complement the masonry walls and the nearby Rookwood ceramics. The area is accentuated with dwarf conifers, yucca, antique ceramic urns, and putti.
The next staircase leads to the Croquet Lawn, where crisp taxus hedges and teak benches in each corner offer ample opportunity to linger and take in the flowering dogwoods, eastern redbuds, a paperbark maple, and a Persian ironwood. Spring and late summer are anticipated to be well represented here with roses, asters, gentian ‘True Blue,’ and reblooming weigela.
One more elegant staircase provides a transition to the final Main Axis tier: the Garden of the Gods. This magical and dramatic woodland scene with elegant antique trellises surrounds a circular pool and fountain. A sense of cultivated wildness with newly planted pink and white azaleas for spring and dwarf abelia for summer will provide a counterpoint to the formality of this area, yet will still be in keeping with the intended symmetry.
Beyond the Main Axis, stops on the tour include the iconic garden follies – the Teahouse and Summerhouse – both constructed in the late 1920s and which harken back to a quieter, slow-paced era. Comfortable benches overlooking the bucolic twin ponds at the eastern edge of the property offer a relaxing way to linger and take in the vista, which will likely be punctuated by the appearance and sounds of Greenwood’s collection of domestic geese.
Entry to the garden is free to members and children under 3; $15 adults 13-64; $10 senior (65+); and students with ID; and $5 children 3-12. Register for advance timed tickets at greenwoodgardens.org where a complimentary downloadable guide to the garden and its history is also available. The garden adheres to state and municipal guidelines governing visitation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please refer to our website prior to your visit for the latest visitation guidelines and information.
ABOUT GREENWOOD GARDENS
Greenwood Gardens is a non-profit 28-acre public garden and historic site located at 274 Old Short Hills Road in Short Hills, New Jersey. Its mission is to connect people with nature in a historic garden oasis through self-guided tours and programs at the nexus of nature, beauty, and history. Formerly the private estate of the Day and Blanchard families, Greenwood is supported by gifts, membership, and volunteers. For further information, visit www.greenwoodgardens.org or call 973-258-4026.