Greenwood Gardens offers a sensorial walk through the flora, fauna, fountains, Arts and Crafts follies, and antique garden ornaments from a time gone by. Just in time for Mother’s Day and the blossoms of spring, this 28-acre historic former private estate is opening its gates for the 2021 season. Visitors feel the effect of the timelessness of Greenwood as soon as they drive through the Main gates where a graceful London plane allée lines the entrance drive, creating a sense of peace and order.
Springtime at Greenwood Gardens is an exciting time of the year when the season begins to reveal a changing plant palette including billowing clouds of pink and white cherry blossoms, flowering dogwoods and tulip trees, yellow daffodils, red azaleas, purple rhododendrons, and blankets of white flowers. The garden encourages repeat visitation to view the unfolding of the season and the newest collections which have been expanding over time. Winding paths lined with stone figures and boxwood, graceful staircases entering and exiting the Teahouse, terraced gardens, woodlands, grottoes, fountains, Arts and Crafts follies, and intricate iron gates, along with other original structures, contribute to Greenwood Gardens’ unique hardscape, as does the careful layout and planning of the plantings.
The first stop on the self-guided tour is the 1925 and 1926 Cottages, Tennis Pavilion, and First Tee—all storied landmarks in Greenwood’s history. The tour continues past the 1950 Main House to the Main Terrace, with its grand view of the entire renovated Main Axis, the core portion of the historic garden, featuring fountains, horticultural delights and antique urns and sculptures. Visitors then step down a gracious staircase to the Reflecting Pool Terrace with its D-shaped pool where the original lead dolphins delightfully spout water. Surrounding the pool is a mix of perennial and annual flower garden classics which are expected to reveal themselves in rich hues of yellow, blue, and purple. Poppies, peonies, iris, and digitalis complement the masonry walls and the nearby Rookwood ceramics. The area is accentuated with dwarf conifers, yucca, antique ceramic urns, and putti.
The next staircase leads to the Croquet Lawn, where crisp taxus hedges and teak benches in each corner offer ample opportunity to linger and take in the flowering dogwoods, eastern redbuds, a paperbark maple, and a Persian ironwood. Spring and late summer are anticipated to be well represented here with roses, asters, gentian ‘True Blue,’ and reblooming weigela.
One more elegant staircase provides a transition to the final Main Axis tier: the Garden of the Gods. This magical and dramatic woodland scene with elegant antique trellises surrounds a circular pool and fountain. A sense of cultivated wildness with newly planted pink and white azaleas for spring and dwarf abelia for summer will provide a counterpoint to the formality of this area, yet will still be in keeping with the intended symmetry.
Beyond the Main Axis, stops on the tour include the iconic garden follies—the Teahouse and Summerhouse—both constructed in the late 1920s and which harken back to a quieter, slow-paced era. Comfortable benches overlooking the bucolic twin ponds at the eastern edge of the property offer a relaxing way to linger and take in the vista.
Greenwood Gardens will be open to the public Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from May 1 through November 7 between 10am and 5pm. Advance timed ticket registration only. Tours are self-guided.
274 Old Short Hills Road, Short Hills | 973-258-4026