Willowwood Arboretum

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Willowwood Arboretum evolved from a 1791 farm. In 1908, the Tubbs brothers purchased the Kenneday Homestead as a country home. Originally named Paradise Farm, the Tubbs renamed it Willowwood after the willow trees growing on the property.

Henry and Robert Tubbs, and Henry’s adopted son, Dr. Benjamin Blackburn, collected and planted different species of trees and plants. What had been plowed fields, developed over 50 years into wild forests, meadows and country gardens.

For a while after the Tubbs brothers, Rutgers University used the estate as a tree research facility. Morris County took ownership of the arboretum in 1980 and opened it to the public.

I found Willowwood far less manicured than other arboretums in New Jersey. The paths and gardens all had a shabby chic feel to them. The resulting effect was very relaxing.

I listened to some of the mobile phone tour as I strolled through the different sections of the park. An Asian themed garden runs behind the farmhouse, Dr. Blackburn’s contribution. The forest has gown up around the lotus pool so that lotus can no longer grow there.

There are about 3,500 types of native and exotic plants, many rare, on 130 acres. A Champion tree, a Dawn Redwood, stands next to one of the outbuildings. It’s almost 100 feet tall.

The Dawn Redwood at Willowwood Arboretum

Location: 300 Longview Rd, Far Hills, NJ 07931
Designation: County Park
Date designated/established: 1980
Date of my visit: April 28, 2021

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