Spring 2023 Message

Dear Friends of the Willowwood Arboretum,

I hope you are enjoying the splendor of spring.  Despite our recent whiplash of weather, the blooms have arrived and Willowwood is putting on a splendid spring show. It seems that a new variety of flowering tree and shrub reveals itself each day. Grab your camera, take a walk, and enjoy the serenity that nature provides.

Some exciting news to share regarding an upoming partnership between MCPC and the Seward Johnson Atelier whereby a selection of sculptures will be on display at Willowwood for a period of about four months beginning this July.

In lieu of our Lilac Party for 2023, The Willowwood Foundation will host a most unique fundraiser in conjunction with the Seward Johnson sculpture display. We will host a jazz concert this fall featuring the Christian Tamburr Quintet. This collaborative venture between renowned composer-vibraphonist Christian Tamburr and internationally acclaimed sculptor Seward Johnson will feature The Awakening, “Sounds for Sculpture” inspired by Johnson’s sculptures. The musical performance premier was performed at Dizzy’s Coca Cola Club at Lincoln Center.

We are very pleased that the concert will be held in collaboration with The Willow School. Following the concert at The Willow School, attendees are invited for an independent tour of the sculptures at Willowwood Arboretum. Light refreshments will be served. September 10, 2023. Tickets $50.00. Ticket availability through this website after June 1. Stay tuned!

With best wishes,

Meryl Carmel, President Willowwood Foundation

Lilac Party Cancellation – Spring 2023

Dear Friends of Willowwood,

Our Traditional Lilac Party Fundraiser originally rescheduled for May 21, 2023 has been regretfully cancelled due to circumstances beyond our control.

However, the Board of Trustees of the Willowwood Foundation, is thrilled to announce a uniquely new fresh event scheduled for early September, 2023. As soon as we can release the details, an announcement will appear on this page. We look forward to seeing you in September.

Thank you for your interest and continuous support which allows the Willowwood Foundation to provide strategic initiatives focusing on horticulture interns, educational opportunities and garden restoration at the Willowwood Arboretum.

With best wishes,

Meryl Carmel, President Willowwood Foundation

Winter President’s Message – 2/17/23

Who can believe that Valentine’s Day has come and gone and we have only seen a small hint of good old fashioned winter weather? I miss the charming site of Willowwood wrapped in snow. But this is NJ so there’s always the possibility of a significant snowfall in the next two months. If this occurs, I invite you all to grab cameras (and cell phones) and snap photos at the arboretum to be shared on Instagram and our website. Information is forthcoming regarding where to send your best images (snow or not!). As you know, Willowwood is a lovely destination any time of year.

Many spring plants are a bit confused and poking their heads up right already, so get out to Willowwood and enjoy all the beauty and magic that awaits.

With wishes for good health now and always-

Meryl Carmel, President, Willowwood Foundation

News About Willowwood’s Gardens – 10/28/22

Bruce Crawford, Manager of Horticulture MCPC

Gardener Watering a Flower Garden
Gardener Watering a Flower Garden

At Willowwood, the summer of 2022 will be best remembered in one word – watering!  The long stretch of dry and warm weather necessitated watering recently added plant accessions. Surprisingly, numerous well-established plants showed stress and required irrigation.  Thankfully, the rains returned and our plants and gardeners are no longer looking stressed.

Despite the drought and heat, annuals continued to bloom beautifully.  Additional plants were added to the Rosarie and looking very colorful. Edits and additions are still being made to this garden, including bulbs.  

Another area in need change was the Cornus mas (Cornelian Cherry) bed, adjacent to the Tubbs House.  Several shrubs were slowly consuming the bed.  As they grew, the garden had lost much of the early spring detail it had once displayed.  These shrubs were transplanted into an area by the tent lawn, allowing the White Forsythia (Abeliophyllum distichum) to ‘breathe’ once again.  Species tulips will be planted to the area this fall and additional herbaceous plants are planned for a spring planting.

In typical fashion, the spring bulb displays will be planted in November.  We will focus on using bulbs outside of the large flowering tulips.  Thanks to a grant from the Willowwood Foundation, daffodils, various grape hyacinths, summer snowflakes, camas and fritillarias will be used to create a colorful spring display.   We will be planting 2,000 Siberian Squill (Scilla siberica) bulbs in the Winter Garden. These are a deep blue flower that slowly spread to bloom in early to mid-March, providing years of attractive color. 

As always, there is a lot of activity at Willowwood.  I hope that you will be able to come out soon on a weekday to chat with the gardeners or take a long quiet stroll on a weekend.  The air is crisp and cool with some fall color persisting, making this a wonderful time of the year to enjoy the Arboretum.   

Bruce Crawford 

Manager of Horticulture, Morris County Parks Commission