Category: Message from our President

Periodic messages from Willowwood’s President.

Message from Meryl – Oct. 18, 2022

Dear Friends,

Autumn leaves are swirling and we have reached another lovely FALL season at Willowwood. And while members of the Willowwood Foundation Board of Trustees are already busy planning for a spectacular SPRING, I would like to take a moment to acknowledge some “changing of the guard.” We thank trustees Peter Williams and Margo Dana for their years of service as we welcome Olga Christie to our Board. In addition, Leslie Allain, our long time administrator whom many of you know, has now fully retired. Our debt to her is tremendous and we are thrilled that she has joined our board. We are pleased to report that Patti Millar has accepted the position of Foundation Administrator and she has hit the ground running!

You will no doubt meet Patti on May 21, 2023 on the occasion of our long-awaited, newly re-imagined SILVER ANNIVERSARY LILAC PARTY. Save the date for a bash that will appeal to each of your senses as we celebrate spring. Keep your eyes peeled for regular updates in this space and on Instagram.

While your calendar is handy please make note of another unique opportunity, the 7th annual Tubbs lecture slated for April 23 in the Stone Barn.  Tom Molnar, an associate professor at Rutgers will provide an overview of the University’s longtime dogwood breeding program.

The Foundation’s commitment to the glorious vision of the Tubbs Brothers remains stronger than ever as we continues to work closely with Morris County Parks to  support horticultural initiatives, professional internships and staff education, educational programming, and scholarships. Please support our programs and events and be sure to visit the Arboretum, a place of beauty and joy in every season.

 With best wishes,

Meryl Carmel

President Willowwood Foundation

Message from Meryl – 6/29/22

Summer 2022 is here in all its glory and change is in the air. I am pleased to announce that the Willowwood Foundation Board has recently added a new trustee, Olga Christie of Far Hills. Olga is an accomplished gardener and photographer. Native plants, trees, and shrubs reign supreme in her home garden and her passion for nature photography has been beautifully expressed through her images of Willowwood Arboretum in all seasons. We are delighted to welcome Olga to the Board.

After another stunning and showy season our lilacs are sleeping once again. But have no fear! They will spring back to life in time for our 25th Lilac Party next May. So please save the date: May 21, 2023. The Lilac Party Committee is hard at work planning an exciting reawakening event after our long period of covid hibernation. More details to follow.

If you haven’t been by the Arboretum lately, be sure to put a visit on your summer “to do” list. Of special note is the newly renovated Rosarie. There are several unique features including an eye-popping “purple door” and a gentle water feature which adds coolness and a sense of peace to the lovely environment.

Special thanks to MCPC staff member Zinnia Cheatham, Plant Records Curator Specialist,  for her informative bloom reports and Instagram posts.

With best wishes for a safe and happy summer.

Meryl Carmel
President, Willowwood Foundation

Spring Holds a Special Joy – 4/19/22

Sunday Daffodils

I have just enjoyed back to back visits to Willowwood so as not to miss a single new thing. While a stop at the arboretum is a delightful experience in any season, spring holds a special joy. Although the Bloom Report provides a wonderful way to “stay in touch” it is hard to resist snapping photos of the daffodil field, blue bells, magnolias and more to share with family and friends. The daffs alone are sunshine for the soul.

Be sure to put a visit on your spring “to do” list and also make note of the date for next year’s Lilac Party. After a three year hiatus our Trustees are hard at work creating an exciting event for Sunday, May 21, 2023. As we gather once more among the Lilac Blooms we will have a great deal to celebrate.

On behalf of the Trustees, thank you for your continued interest and support of the very special Willowwood Arboretum.

Happy Spring!

Meryl Carmel
President, Willowwood Foundation

2022 Lilac Party CANCELLED

After much soul searching the Willowwood Foundation Board of Trustees has made the difficult decision to cancel our annual Lilac Party. We do so in this time of uncertainty out of the utmost concern for the continued safety of our guests and staff.

Please know that in the months ahead our committee will be hard at work planning with an eye toward creating a spectacular Lilac Party for 2023.

Be on the lookout for the Spring Bloom Report to gauge the best time to stroll among the Lilacs on your own. Take pictures and enjoy the beauty of the Arboretum and our natural world!

Thank you for your continued support of Willowwood Arboretum!!! Can’t wait to safely celebrate Spring and stroll among the lilacs with you once more.

Meryl Carmel, President, Willowwood Foundation

Autumn Welcome

How is it possible that 2021’s spring and summer have come and gone? Despite lingering Covid 19 concerns, we are happily welcoming the nascent signs of autumn at Willowwood. 

I am so grateful that the Arboretum continues to provide the public with such a beautiful and comforting oasis as Willowwood and my appreciation extends to the dedicated staff of the Morris County Parks Commission. They always go above and beyond expectations to keep Willowwood looking its best.

On the staff front, there’s some very exciting news. I am delighted to announce that Bruce Crawford, past Director of Rutgers Gardens and current State Program Leader in Public and Home Horticulture with Rutgers Cooperative Extension, has joined the Morris County Park Commission as Manager of Horticulture. Bruce is a familiar face in the gardening community and we look forward to his leadership and expertise moving into the fall and winter months and as planning begins anew for 2022. 

In closing, for those who cannot visit on a regular basis, enjoy the latest BLOOM report and follow the Arboretum on Instagram. The regular pictorial updates are so inspiring! And as always the Foundation Board of Trustees thanks you for following Covid protocols when visiting in person and for continuing to support garden restoration and development at the Arboretum.

With best wishes for a safe and happy fall season,
Meryl Carmel, President