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Frelinghuysen Arboretum

linkTrail Guide

353 East Hanover Avenue
Morris Township, NJ 07960

T: (973) 326 - 7601

Hours:
M-F: Daily, 8am to sunset.
Sat-Sun: Daily, 8am to sunset.

Directions

Amenities

Set among a majestic 124 acres, this arboretum offers a serene setting for relaxation and plentiful opportunities to learn, explore, and celebrate.

This public arboretum is a place of natural beauty and learning, with nearly 2,000 specimen trees and plantings, gorgeous formal gardens, woodlands, meadows, walking trails and a historic mansion. The Frelinghuysen Arboretum offers endless opportunities – take a leisurely stroll, enjoy a picnic on the manicured Great Lawn, shoot memorable photographs, take a gardening class or join a special tour. Open to the public year-round, every season delights the senses and beckons your visit.

Plan Your Visit

To best enjoy your visit, we encourage you to:

  • Explore our website prior to your visit.
  • View a map of our gardens and trails and learn about our 28 unique garden areas and numerous state Champion trees.
  • Check our hours of operations and note special announcements.
  • Dress for the weather and wear comfortable walking shoes. Bring water, a hat, sunscreen, and bug spray as needed. Insects, including ticks, bees, and mosquitoes, are part of our ecosystem.
  • Follow us on Facebook and Instagram @MorrisCountyGardens

During your visit:

  • Take photos! Photography for personal use is allowed, provided it does not disrupt other visitors. Commercial photography and filming, wedding, engagement, and similar types of photography require a permit. To obtain a photography permit, please click here to fill out the Event Request Form.
  • Learn more about the gardens by following along on our cell phone tour (available seasonally from April thru November). Download the Step by Step Tour Guide which will provide full instructions plus a readable script for each stop on the cellphone tour.
  • Picnic on our lawns throughout the formal gardens. Please plan to take your trash with you as you leave. Food and beverages are not sold onsite.
  • Please refrain from climbing trees, picking plants and flowers, walking into the water features.
  • For safety purposes, all trail users must stay on signed/blazed trails or walkways.
  • Pets are not permitted at arboreta as per article XII, Section K of the Morris County Park Commission Rules and Regulations.
  • Bicycle riding is not permitted.
  • Bow and firearm hunting may be permitted in some parks. Please contact the Natural Resources Office at 973.285.6552 for more information.
Maps

Official Trail Map – Letter – 8.5″ x 11″ (1page)

Not sure where to go or what to see? Here are a few suggested walking routes:

The Big Tree Tour

Conifer Collection

Or try MCPC Explorer, a web-based, interactive, experience, where you can view your current location, search parks by activity/amenity, find trails by permitted uses, easily download offline maps to your mobile device and more!

To learn more Trail Courtesy, What to Bring, and other trail tips on how to share this pristine, natural space with each other – check our Trail Resources!

Programs & Activities
  • Seasonal programs and special events for visitors of all ages.
  • Self-guided cellphone tour.
  • Community Garden.
  • Customizable Horticulture Therapy programs.
  • Host your next special event or photography session!
History

The Frelinghuysen Arboretum was once the country home of George Griswold Frelinghuysen and his wife, Sara Ballantine Frelinghuysen, and was known as Whippany Farm. The Frelinghuysens commissioned the Boston architectural firm of Rotch & Tilden to construct a summer home and carriage house on the property. The mansion, a beautiful example of Colonial Revival architecture, was built in 1891 in the style of an English country estate. The mansion features Federal urns, swags, ionic columns and a palladian window facing the Rose Garden. The estate was planted with trees and shrubs with the mansion overlooking the Great Lawn, all of which was considered essential to the ‘English-style landscape.’

The Frelinghuysens spent 40 summers at Whippany Farm in fashionable Morristown. Their daughter, Matilda E. Frelinghuysen, inherited the property from her parents and participated in planning for its conversion to a public arboretum. Whippany Farm was bequeathed to Morris County in 1969 and dedicated in memory of her parents in 1971. Frelinghuysen Arboretum was entered on the State and National Register of Historic Places on September 22, 1977.

Gardens

Once the country home of George and Sara Frelinghuysen, the Frelinghuysen Arboretum features more than 3,200 different species of flowering plants and trees laid out in inspiring gardens. Surrounding a magnificent Colonial Revival mansion, the woodlands, meadows and gardens provide the perfect background for leisurely strolls along many paved trails. With such a variety of species planted throughout the grounds, the Arboretum also provides a wonderful backdrop for learning about plants and their impact on the environment.

Garden Areas at Frelinghuysen:

Nature Trail

Travel the winding trail and see how native plants can be blended into a garden. The pedestrian bridge allows for viewing from a higher vantage point, allowing a different perspective of how the sweeps of groundcovers can blend with various shrubs, all under the soring canopy of trees.

Rose Walk

Directly adjacent to the mansion and leading into the rose garden, this shady garden retreat highlights colorful annual displays from late May through frost.

Rose Garden

The classic geometric rose garden features fragrant English, Shrub and Climbing Roses for adorning structures and gardens. The flowering period for many of the climbing and species forms peaks in early June while the prodigious repeat bloomers keep providing color to frost and beyond. The garden also features a Wisteria covered arbor and a beautiful clamshell wall fountain that adds soothing background sound as you stroll the garden.

Craig Garden

This is a beautiful outdoor room with an elegant arch as the main entry point, and a pond with four fountains as the central feature. This is a great outdoor space for a moment to sit and relax or for an intimate wedding ceremony.

Margaret O’Neil Knot Garden

Located directly outside of the Craig Garden, this is a classic interwoven design of plants. Each sheared hedge, barely 24-inches tall, appears to go under or over the intersecting hedge, presenting a unique visual treat.

Eger Fern Walk

Ferns are among the oldest plants on Earth, so take a walk back in time and enjoy the diversity of ferns and fern companion plantings in this shady garden retreat. Numerous flowering and shade trees tower above and provide a shady canopy. Located next to the Great Lawn, the focal point of the garden is a patio with an associated whispering bench.

Pinetum

This is a collection of evergreen and deciduous conifers located at the far end of the Long Meadow. It includes magnificent specimens of Dawn Redwoods (Metasequoia glyptostroboides), Plum Yew (Cephalotaxus harringtonia), Spruce Trees (Picea abies selections) and Cedars (Cedrus spp).  New to the Pinetum is the Frank and Joanne Goodhart Dwarf Conifer Collection featuring more than a dozen dwarf conifer specimens. 

Elmer Lampi Shade Garden

Acting as the visual terminus for the pedestrian walk in front of the mansion, this garden features numerous shade tolerant plants highlighted by a small pond and seating area.

Cherry Valley

In April and May, this dell explodes into gorgeous shades of pink and white as flowers from numerous species and selections of Cherry come into bloom.

Japanese Maple Lawn

Attractively arranged in a lawn panel adjacent to the Mansion, this collection of Japanese Maples showcases the beautiful variation in size, leaf shape and habit of this wonderful small tree from Asia.

Mary Lindner Perennial Garden

Serving as a backdrop to the lawn northwest of the Haggerty Education Center, the everchanging pattern of flowers throughout the seasons illustrates how perennial gardens can be designed for both full sun and shaded locations.

Small Tree Collection

There is nothing more useful for home landscaping than the small tree. Offering flower, form, bark, fall color and texture, the small tree is indispensable. This assemblage of trees allows visitors to compare and contrast the various plants available in the trade.

Rhododendron Loop

Located adjacent to the Helen Page Woodell Azalea trail, this collection of Rhododendrons and closely related kin provide a beautiful and continuous evolution of bloom from April through June.

Helen Page Wodell Azalea Trail

This shaded woodland walk containing our collection of non-native azaleas offers a showy display from April through May.

Thyra S. Maxwell Azalea Trail

Adjacent to the crabapple collection, this trail showcases our collection of native azaleas, which start blooming in April and continue to bloom through June.

Haggerty Education Center Gardens

The many gardens near the Hagerty Education Center at Frelinghuysen Arboretum are designed specifically to provide inspiration for design challenges many homeowners may encounter around their own homes.

Beth Fisher Winter Garden

Located between the Haggerty Education Center and Matilda’s Cottage is the Winter Garden. It is filled with a variety of plants that present flower, fragrance, bark or fruit interest throughout the winter and early spring. This garden provides suggestions and inspiration during those months when it is often needed most.

Anne D’Olier Klippstein’s Blue Garden

Playing off the electric blue chairs and woodwork, this garden features herbaceous plants and bulbs with blue flowers. Blue is a great color for providing depth to a design and this garden highlights those plants with ‘blue blooms’ from spring to fall.

Mary Lindner Cottage Garden

Adjacent to Matilda’s Cottage, this garden focuses on a rich combination of woody, perennial and annual flowering and foliage plants. A successful cottage garden is one that looks unplanned, yet in reality is highly planned to deliver layers of color from May or June until frost.

Gravel Garden

Water may be one of the limiting resources in the years ahead. Located adjacent to the deck, this garden (established in 2022) features plants that thrive with minimal irrigation. It also highlights two crevice gardens, an interesting technique in which plants are grown in soils sandwiched between vertically oriented stones.

Alpine Garden

Curious about what grows in Alpine conditions at high altitudes? This waist-high raised garden allows easy viewing of plants, which are often ground-hugging to adapt to windy sites. Bordering the Blue Garden, many of the plants have seeded into the large specimens of Hypertufa Stone located within the garden bed, adding to its natural appearance.

The All-American Garden

Marking the entry into the Haggerty Center from the parking lot, this garden features a seasonally appropriate colorful display of annuals, tropicals and bulbs that is updated yearly.

Larry Barkman Vegetable Garden

Growing vegetables is easy and helps reduce your carbon footprint and the burden on the family budget. Located adjacent to Cottage Garden, it shows how ample amounts of produce can grow in an attractively designed yet small outdoor space.

Julius Mastro Forced Perspective Garden

Featuring a bust of the mischievous Pan as a focal point, this walkway bordering the Cottage Garden demonstrates how to make a path or linear garden appear longer.

Vera Scherer Pavilion

A covered patio area adjacent to the Winter Garden, this area is ideal for birthday party rentals and outdoor education programs.

The Progressive Garden

Bordering the front of the parking lot, this garden features a winding path through woody and herbaceous plants that are organized into an attractive garden. Its name is inspired by the progression of flowers or foliage interest from January through December.

Watnong Rock Garden

This garden featuring dwarf evergreens, bulbs and herbaceous plants that thrive in rocky regions.

Waterwise Garden

There are a number of hardy cactus and succulents from dry, desert-like regions of the world that thrive in New Jersey. This garden features some easily grown and

ornamental additions for the home garden.

Nurseryman’s Garden

Houseplants are not just for inside the home! This shady retreat adjacent to the Haggerty Center demonstrates how ‘houseplants’ and tropicals can be creatively arranged outdoors, providing texture and color throughout the warmer seasons in New Jersey.