They always say that hope springs eternal, but so do Gardens especially during spring! Let it be known that Willowwood is certainly not an exception to the rule. If you have been by the Arboretum of late, you will have noticed the entanglement of invasive plants along Longview Road to the East of the entrance has been removed! To me, it is a welcome sight to preview the Dawn Redwoods and other conifers within the confines of the arboretum as you approach along Longview. Later this spring and summer the area will be planted with primarily herbaceous material that will echo the meadows beyond. In addition, several genera of deer resistant woody plants will be added to ensure there is color and structure throughout the year. In the year to come, we will work on clearing and replacing the invasive plants on the other side of the entrance.
Another project that we are looking forward to this spring is replanting the Rosarie. The garden has of a very axial design with a focus on plants of the Rosaceae or Rose family, which inspired the gardens’ name. In order to give it an even more unique feel, the planting was intended to provide a Mediterranean twist with silver foliage worked amongst some brightly colored flowers! The new planting will hold true to the original intent of the garden and feature silver and robust green foliage combined with blues and touches of hot orange and red. This spring, the Holly hedges that surround the garden were given a rigorous pruning and the Wisteria arbor is getting a restoration with some new lengths of Juniper logs. I should note, the Holly Hedge was not all that received a substantial pruning this spring and winter. Most of the Lilacs along with numerous other shrubs received a good rejuvenation pruning as well.
Last fall, a number of Magnolias were transplanted to the hillside of the Long Meadow in an effort to give them a bit more elbow room to ensure proper growth. I am happy to say the plants have survived the move without incident. The new location should also provide a colorful spring display in the years to come as our visitors enter and exit the Arboretum.
If you have not been out yet this year, there is much to see! The early spring bulb and shrub display has been wonderful despite the chill of March and the display of Tulips to come promises to be a delight. Please come out and see what the Gardeners have been working on for your enjoyment, since as you know, the colors of spring will always sprout eternal!
Manager of Horticulture
Division of Cultural and Environmental Resources
Morris County Park Commission
P.O. Box 1295, Morristown, NJ 07962-1295