Welcome to the Willowwood Arboretum

Exciting Events at Willowwood

Fall Open House Sunday Sept 22

- Sun, 09/22/2019 - 12:00pm

6th Tubbs Lecture April 26, 2020

- Sun, 04/26/2020 - 1:00pm

In 1908 two brothers used a small legacy to acquire their country home near Gladstone, New Jersey.

The two brothers, Henry and Robert Tubbs, and Henry’s adopted son, Dr. Benjamin Blackburn, developed this country place into the Willowwood Arboretum, New Jersey’s most comprehensive and longest continually operating Arboretum.

Since 1980 under the stewardship and management of the Morris County Park Commission, the Willowwood Foundation and the support and hard work of countless donors and volunteers have made it possible for the public to enjoy this beautiful green space of gardens and meadows.

Willowwood Arboretum is open free to the public daily, 365 days yearly from 8am to dusk.

Click to enlarge

Spring Update: Brace Krag, President of the Willowwood Foundation

On behalf of the Willowwood Foundation, I wish everyone a happy Spring! The year is well underway and the garden screams for attention with growing to do lists. Thankfully daylight savings time, returning Bluebirds and buds have appeared to remind us that the circle of life continues and uplifts us.

The trustees of the Willowwood Foundation have been working very hard to arrange our annual Tubbs lecture scheduled for April 28th. This year, Vincent Simeone, Executive Director of Planting Fields on Long Island, has graciously agreed to join us to educate us about Viburnums, one of the 9 key genera found at the Willowwood Arboretum.

Speaking of key genera at the arboretum, we have a celebrity in our midst: Our Metasequoia (dawn redwood) was just deemed national champion, largest in the country. It amazes me that the Tubbs brothers found the perfect location, a microclimate, with a consistent water source, sheltered from buffeting winds, to grow this almost-centurion. If you haven’t seen it, please consider making the effort. Additionally, the “Jolly Folly” located by the propagating house and stone barn justifies a visit or three. The incredible minds of John Beirne, Zinnia Cheetham and Mark Inzano, along with the world class MCPC Hort staff at Willowwood, have created a true triumph. This garden combines banana, jacaranda and countless other seasonal specimens to “Wow” every visitor in an entirely new way through Fall.

Our 24th celebration of the Lilac Party will take place, rain or shine on May 19th. Please consider joining us for our annual gala fundraiser which features Spring Artisan Wine Tasting with Andrea Maranca of Tewksbury Fine Wines and Spirits, our heralded rare plant specimen silent auction, delicious hors d’oeuvres by Ross & Owren and performances by “the Ten” University Glee Club. Special thanks to Anne Peterson and Becky Terry, long running Lilac Party Co Chairs, without whom this event could never happen.

On a personal note, I would like to thank Leslie Allain, our 16 year administrative “backbone” whose continued tireless commitment has kept the foundation thriving. Our newest officers, Meryl Carmel and Alice Cutler have graciously agreed to fill the roles of Vice President and Secretary at a critical time. I can’t thank this team enough for pitching in and thanklessly stewarding this stalwart endeavor.

Among the many who have contributed so much to Willowwood over the decades, I would like to thank Dan Will whose 30+ year board service culminated this past Fall. Dan’s legacy dates to Dr. Ben Blackburn and Russ Meyers, credited as the 21st century Arboretum architects. It is simply impossible to list the contributions of a man whose legacy includes staunch steward of the mission, board member, officer, historian, benefactor, conscience and visionary with respect all aspects of the growth and evolution of the arboretum. The sum of Dan’s involvement with Willowwood in time, talent and contributions may never be adequately conveyed, but can simply be attributed to “passion” and insatiable intellectual curiosity. We are grateful beyond words for the decades of guidance, gifts of every description and wisdom that have been bestowed on the Arboretum. Dan’s mark is evident in every corner and nook at Willowwood, ensuring the path set by the Tubbs brothers will be followed now and in the future.

Through the work of Dan and the dedicated board, Willowwood supports horticulture educational programs, internships and scholarships for the benefit of the local and professional community. We could not continue these efforts without our contributors, whose generosity fuels the results that we see in abundance at the Willowwood Arboretum. Multiple estate donations have come as a very nice surprise to the foundation and serve as a reminder to all for estate planning purposes. The Willowwood Foundation is a certified 501 © 3 for purposes of gifting and is eligible for Corporate Matching.

Happy Gardening and thank you again to everyone who has made this triumph possible. I look forward to seeing everyone at Willowwood.

Warm Regards, Brace Krag, President, Willowwood Foundation

Willowwood Cell Phone Tour resumes April, 2019.

The Willowwood Foundation and the Morris County Parks Commission partnered together to implement a tour of the key highlights (core gardens and buildings) at the Willowwood Arboretum via your cell phone. Visitors simply dial 973-349-3020 and begin their walking tour, stop by stop, listening to short audio clips about each place of interest. This technology is very similar to audio tours found at museums etc.

An exciting new addition debuted in 2018 includes a new walk highlighting the relationship with the Tubbs and E.H. 'Chinese' Wilson, plant explorer extraordinaire. Starting about 1928 when E. H. Wilson became 'Keeper' (Director) of the Arnold Arboretum, the Tubbs and Wilson exchanged letters with plant advice and commentary as well as seeds and plants. Today, Willowwood displays a collection of some of the plants Ernest Henry Wilson (1876-1930) brought back from his trips to China. See our Cell Phone Tab for more information, as well as this article from The Plantsman (Sept. 2018), People behind the plants: Ernest Wilson.

Willowwood’s beauty is clearly evident, but its fascinating history is not. Using cell phone technology helps us to share the story of Willowwood Arboretum with visitors and provide in depth plant information. Rob Diemar, Past President of the Willowwood Foundation noted, “The Willowwood Foundation is excited to have been able to work with the Morris County Park Commission to introduce the first cell phone tour to Willowwood Arboretum. This project brings Willowwood into the 21st century and provides guests visiting the Arboretum an opportunity to learn so much more about its rich history. This will truly enhance the visitors experience at Willowwood."

To see a map of the Cell Phone Tour Stops, click here or on Cellphone Tour in the Menu Box.

Willowwood on Film

Greener New Jersey Productions has produced a new half-hour film featuring Morris County as part of the "Open Spaces & Historic Places" series. The Willowwood and Bamboo Brook Arboreta are a part of this. It originally aired on NJTV in May, 2014. BUT there is a repeat viewing on Monday, April 6, 2015 at 10:30 pm on NJTV.

Or, you may view the entire 30 minute production on vimeo by clicking below.

Visitors are invited to enjoy the gardens Spring through Fall. During Winter, the Ornamentals Collection offers evergreen and deciduous plants featuring interesting fruit, bark or branching habit.


Willowwood, 130 acres of rolling farm land, has about 2,100 kinds of native and exotic plants, many of them rare. In addition to the formal gardens near the residence and undisturbed forest, historic collections include oak, maple, willow, magnolia, lilac, cherry, fir, pine, a superb specimen of Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia) now more than 98’ tall, masses of ferns and handsome stands of field and forest wild flowers.