Reeves-Reed Arboretum

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The Reeves-Reed Arboretum started out as a country estate. Wealthy merchant John Horner Wisner purchased the land in 1889 and named it “The Clearing”. He built his home on a hill overlooking a glacially carved bowl. Later, the Wisner family planted the first clusters of daffodils there. Then, they hired the renowned landscape architect, Calvert Vaux, to design the formal gardens.

Richard and Susan Reeves bought the estate in 1916. Susan Reeves filled the glacial bowl with daffodils by planting 5000 bulbs every year. Each Spring, when they bloomed, Susan invited the public in to enjoy them.

The Reeves sold The Clearing to Charles and Ann Reed in 1968. Susan was Ann’s aunt. Though the Reeds only lived there for a few years, they were instrumental in preserving the estate as an educational arboretum. Today, the city of Summit owns it and the park is open to the public. The gates open up, for a nominal donation, from 9AM to 4PM most days (7-7 in April).

Today, the arboretum continues to replenish the Daffodil bowl each year by adding new bulbs. Throughout the month of April, visitors can stroll through tens of thousands of the yellow blooms.

I got there just in time to see the gorgeous daffodil display, but too early for the goats. The Reeves-Reed Arboretum boards some goat each fall to help clear away the season’s excess vegetation. Green Goats out of Rhinebeck, NY deploys their ‘Weapons of Grass Destruction’ in National, State and local parks across the county. The goats are a more environmentally conscious way to eliminate weeds and invasive vegetation.

Location: 165 Hobart Ave, Summit, NJ 07901
Designation: National Register of Historic Places
Date designated/established: 1889, NRHP 1993
Date of my visit: April 23, 2021

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