Welcome to the Willowwood Arboretum

OPEN Daily 8 am to Dusk

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 and Bamboo Brook are open daily free to the public from 8 am to Dusk.

Meet Our New President

Read outgoing president, Brace Krag’s introduction to our new president, Meryl Carmel on our new Messages from the President page.

lilac tour brochure

Spring ’21: New Lilac Tour Brochure

We are happy to highlight a new Lilac Tour Pamphlet completely revised and updated for 2021.

Willowwood Arboretum’s lilac collection is quite famous, so take the opportunity to download the brochure and visit during lilac season this year.

Click here to download our new Lilac Tour Brochure.

Enjoy Spring at the Willowwood Arboretum.


Marta McDowell Article About Willowwood

Marta McDowell, the noted botanical author and landscape historian, has written a fascinating history of Willowwood Arboretum for the UK publication Hortus 136 (Winter, 2020). We are pleased to offer a pdf of the article (click the image at right) with the editor’s permission.

Be sure also to visit the Hortus website: hortus.co.uk for more information about this fine gardening quarterly.

Board Changes

In the Fall, 2019 newsletter we remembered the Life and years of service of Willowwood Foundation Trustee, Becky Terry, Library Committee Chair and Lilac Party Co-Chair with Anne Peterson. Our May 2019 Lilac Party’s success was due to the shared hard work of both Becky and Anne especially in selecting the plants for our annual fundraising event’s plant auction.

Becky’s board service began over 10 years ago but her passion for gardens, design and the natural world dated from her early childhood. Becky was a Lady.  She rarely ever missed a meeting. She never complained, always smiled and always found the positive in any situation.  We are blessed for having her help. Our plans to memorialize Becky are still in their infancy but will be forthcoming.

We wish also to thank George Rochat who leaves the Board after 3 terms. George joined the Board because of his friendship with Becky and her late husband John. His comments and contributions about Willowwood and its gardens were always interesting, on point and immensely helpful.

Willowwood Cell Phone Tour resumes April 1, 2021

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.

An exciting new addition debuted 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.

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. In 2014, 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 (funded by Dan Will, Trustee emeritus) 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.”

To see a map of the Cell Phone Tour Stops, click here or on Cellphone Tour in the Menu Box.

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.


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.