Open Days, Water feature
When we moved into a mid-century house overlooking the woods, I immediately knew only a naturalistic garden would be appropriate to the place. The garden is hidden. You enter through the house, where you first glimpse the landscape, a sunny glade, through a wall of windows. Huge perennials and grasses evoke an "Alice in Wonderland" feeling (many plants are taller than you). The garden is in the New Perennial tradition: plants are massed in interwoven communities and emphasize structure, shape, and form—which are long-lasting—rather than flower. Begun as an experiment to explore garden making in the challenging conditions of unimproved, heavy, wet clay, the garden is ecologically similar to a wet prairie and is maintained by cutting and burning. Flowering begins in mid-June and peaks in mid-July, when the perennials and grasses reach maturity; then a second peak occurs in October, when low sunlight makes the grasses glow in yellows, russets, and golds. Two small ponds attract hundreds of frogs, insects, and wildlife. Many gravel paths make garden exploration an immersive experience.
The garden has been featured in The New York Times, Horticulture magazine, and in three books, Gardens of the Garden State (2014), Planting in a Post-Wild World (2015), and Dreamscapes (2018). It recently appeared in the Garden Design Journal (the magazine of the Society of Garden Designers, UK), and in BBC's Gardens Illustrated, and Better Homes & Gardens in 2016.
Directions: From the New York City area, take I-78. Take Exit 29 for I-287 toward Route 206/Route 202/Morristown/Somerville. Keep left at the fork and continue onto I-287 South for about 4 miles. Take Exit 17 onto Route 202 and continue to Flemington (about 19 miles). At the traffic circle, continue to the opposite side, and continue on Route 202 (about 10.8 miles) to the last exit in New Jersey, to Lambertville and Route29. At the foot of the exit, turn left, then at the bottom of the exit, turn right onto Route 29/River Road/Daniel Bray Highway. Continue north, passing through the village of Stockton, for a total of 5.1 miles from Lambertville. On the right is a large sign for Hidden Valley Nursery. Federal Twist Road is immediately past the sign. Turn right and drive up Federal Twist Road 2.9 miles to #208. Park on the right side of the road (the house side), taking care to leave the left lane open.
From western Philadelphia suburbs, take the I-276 East/Pennsylvania Turnpike east to Exit 343. Exit on Route 611 North toward Doylestown. In about 10 miles, exit onto Route 202N/New Hope. In about 10 miles, continue on Route 202 past New Hope, and cross toll bridge over Delaware River, exiting immediately on the New Jersey side toward Lambertville. At the foot of the exit, turn left onto Route 29 N/River Road/Daniel Bray Highway. Proceed as directed above.
From northern New Jersey or the Hudson River Valley, take I-287 south, take Exit 17 onto Route 202 and continue to Flemington (about 19 miles), at the traffic circle continue to the opposite side, and continue on Route 202 (about 10.8 miles) to the last exit in New Jersey, to Lambertville and Route 29. At the foot of the exit, turn left, then at the bottom of the exit, turn right onto Route 29/River Road/Daniel Bray Highway. Proceed as directed above.
Open Days 2018: July 14
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Admission to this garden is $7 for members and nonmembers without tickets purchased in advance.
Buy discounted admission tickets in advance! They can be used at most Open Days to make garden visiting easier.
Nonmembers get 6 visits for the price of 5 with advanced ticket book purchase.
Members get 50% off ONLY by purchasing ticket books in advance.
- This garden allows photography