Agriculture Secretary Encourages Garden Visits, Fall Planting
(CHESTER 9.17.14) – New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher today visited Willowwood Arboretum in Chester and encouraged public garden and arboretum visits this fall. He also reminded residents and visitors that fall is a great time to tend to home gardens with new plantings.
“People in the tri-state region are just a short trip away from dozens of New Jersey public gardens, each offering a unique and special experience,” said Secretary Fisher. “At the same time, these gardens offer numerous ideas for the home gardener. This is the perfect time of year to plant for a beautiful spring garden.”
New Jersey has more than 60 gardens and arboreta in 15 counties for the public to enjoy. Susan Lowry and Nancy Berner, authors of a new book, “Gardens of the Garden State,” spoke about what attracted them to the Garden State – the tradition of agriculture, heritage of garden making and plant collecting, and hundreds of garden clubs around the state. They presented Secretary Fisher with a copy of their book for the State Library.
“New Jersey’s extraordinary public gardens open your eyes to the state’s rich horticultural legacy and its cultural heritage,” said Lowry and Berner. “Reflecting a high level of plantsmanship and dedication to preservation and land conservation, the state’s treasure trove of gardens never fail to inspire and educate.”
One of the gardens the authors highlighted in their book was Willowwood Arboretum, managed by the Morris County Park Commission and the Willowood Foundation since 1980. The land was acquired by brothers Henry and Robert Tubbs in 1908 as their country home. Henry’s adopted son, Dr. Benjamin Blackburn developed the property into an arboretum which now covers 130 acres and has about 2,100 kinds of native and exotic plants, many of them rare. Willowwood is one of the state’s most comprehensive and longest continually operating arboretum.
“Public gardens are places of wonder, solace, knowledge and fun and are important New Jersey cultural resources,” said Lesley Parness, Superintendent of Horticultural Education for the Morris County Parks Commission and President of Garden State Gardens Consortium. “Among our member gardens are Gilded Age estates, 21st century LEEDS certified facilities, monocultures, large university settings and tiny, hidden treasure gardens. The range of plant materials in New Jersey’s public gardens is matched by the program offerings at these sites, including events and classes for people interested in plants, nature and the environment as well as the arts.”
Governor Christie has proclaimed October as New Jersey Fall Gardening Month, encouraging citizens to utilize this prime season to visit our state’s gardens, nurseries and garden centers and patronize landscape companies to beautify their homes, neighborhoods and businesses and ensure a healthy and robust spring garden.