Friday, February 23, 2018
New Jersey State Botanical Gardens
The New Jersey State Botanical Gardens, located in Ringwood, New Jersey, are part of Ringwood State Park. The history of the place is fascinating.
The property once belonged to Francis Lynde Stetson (1846-1920), a prominent New York lawyer. He built a country estate called, "Skyland Farms." This included a mansion with 30 outbuildings, gardens, and a lawn that served as a 9-hole golf course. Stetson entertained such prominent people as Grover Cleveland, Andrew Carnegie, and JP Morgan.
In 1922, Skylands was sold to Clarence McKenzie Lewis (1877-1959) who set out to make it a botanical showcase. The original Stetson home was torn down and the current Tudor mansion was built.
In 1966, the state of New Jersey purchased it, and in 1984, the governor designated the central 96 acres surrounding the house as the state's official botanical garden.
Today, there are several specialty gardens visitors can view. These include the Annual, Perennial Border, Crab Apple Allee, Wildflower, Lilac, Peony, Summer Garden, Magnolia Walk, Winter Garden, and the Moraine Garden pictured above which contains deposits of rock left behind by retreating glaciers.
The gardens are open daily from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM. Admission is free, although on summer Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, there is a parking fee: $5.00 for cars from New Jersey, $7.00 for those from out-of-state.