Welcome to the Willowwood Arboretum 7/1/20 CLOSED until Further Notice due to Covid

Exciting Events at Willowwood

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 is open free to the public daily, 365 days yearly from 8am to dusk.

Click to enlarge

Summer Update: Brace Krag, President of the Willowwood Foundation

Sadly, I began the Fall newsletter by remembering 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 is 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.

Our annual upcoming fall open house which takes place on Sept 22 from noon-4:00 (TO BE CONFIRMED DUE TO COVID) will showcase the Arboretum at one of my favorite times of the year. Fall colors, cooler temperatures and dappled light have a great effect on gardens. The welcome break from heat, humidity and perpetual weeding comes as a welcome respite. It also reminds us that the dynamic world of horticulture can be appreciated at any point on the timeline.

We also look forward to next year’s very special 25th Anniversary Lilac Party POSTPONED TO NEW DATE May 16th, 2021. More information will be forthcoming on the website, but please be sure to mark your calendars.

I wish to thank the Trustees, Morris County Park System and our donors for the collective effort that makes the Arboretum successful. Without the financial grease on which this engine runs, we could not do what we love to do. Your ongoing and future generosity is greatly needed and appreciated. The Willowwood Foundation is a certified 501 © 3 for purposes of gifting and is eligible for Corporate Matching.

Warm Regards, Brace Krag, President, Willowwood Foundation

Willowwood Cell Phone Tour ends October 30, 2019. BUT resumes Spring, 2020.

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. 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 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.

Willowwood on Film

Greener New Jersey Productions has produced a new half-hour film featuring Morris County as part of the "Open Spaces & Historic Places" series. The Willowwood and Bamboo Brook Arboreta are a part of this. It originally aired on NJTV in May, 2014. BUT there is a repeat viewing on Monday, April 6, 2015 at 10:30 pm on NJTV.

Or, you may view the entire 30 minute production on vimeo by clicking below.

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.