Welcome to the Willowwood Arboretum

Exciting Events at Willowwood

Willowwood 24th Anniversary Lilac Party!

- Sun, 05/19/2019 - 4:30pm

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.

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Update: Brace Krag, President of the Willowwood Foundation

As I reflect on 2018 in the context of The Willowwood Arboretum, I am reminded of the cycles of the natural world itself. We have seen the blessings and challenges of extreme weather conditions effecting growing conditions, our dedicated team has experienced unimaginable and unpredictable changes and challenges but our passion, strength and commitment to the Tubbs vision continues un-wavered.

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 culminates this year. 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. Our 2018 Tubbs lecture in April featured internationally known, Dr. Alan Armitage whose historical perspectives and insights captivated a sold out audience. We are grateful to Dr Armitage for making the trip from Georgia and touching so many with his visit. Our highly successful open houses and annual Lilac Party continue to grow in popularity and connect attendees and visitors with the precious resource that we nurture.

It is a privilege to work with the dedicated Morris County Park team who both identify opportunities for the foundation to contribute to multiple garden improvements and do all of the associated heavy lifting. Our longstanding relationship has helped create the secret garden that speaks to all who visit. On behalf of the board, I want to thank our many devotees for making the Willowwood Arboretum so special.

Warm Regards, Brace Krag

Willowwood Cell Phone Tour resumes April, 2018.

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.

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."

An exciting new addition 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.

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.

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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.