Greenwood Gardens

Greenwood Gardens, in Short Hills, New Jersey is an elegant garden in the eclectic Beaux-Arts style of the early 20th century. The garden is 28 acres of designed and naturalistic landscape that includes formal Italianate water gardens, rustic stone summerhouses, long allées of majestic plane trees, wildflower meadows, and pristine woodlands. Greenwood is surrounded by 2,100 acres of preserved parkland, set in one of the most densely populated regions of the country.

The property was a private estate until 2002, when the owners began collaborating with the Garden Conservancy to create a public garden that would foster an appreciation of the property and promote an understanding of conservation and stewardship of the land. This successful partnership resulted in a great public garden and horticultural resource for the New York metropolitan area.

TIMELINE

2017
The Foundation for Landscape Studies recognizes Peter and Sofia Blanchard with the Place Keeper Award for their success in converting Greenwood Gardens into a membership organization open to the public.

2016
Peter P. Blanchard III publishes Greenwood: A Path to Nature and the Past, a history of Greenwood Gardens, including stories of the Day and Blanchard families.

2013
A renovated, refurbished, and replanted Greenwood Gardens opens to the public on a regular basis for the first time.

2009
Construction to upgrade facilities and restore parts of the garden commences, during which time Greenwood is closed to the public.

2006
An ambitious 10-year restoration plan commences, the first phase of which includes new utilities and new restroom access.

2005
The Garden Conservancy concludes 18 months of direct management and turns over all operational responsibility to Greenwood. The tea house garden is restored, a modern swimming pool is removed, and two early twentieth-century cottages are stablized.

2004
Greenwood Gardens opens its gates to the public for guided tours.

2003
The Garden Conservancy enters into partnership with the newly-formed nonprofit organization The Greenwood Gardens to preserve Greenwood  and share it with the public. The Garden Conservancy assumes temporary management and administrative responsibility for the property. 

2002
The Garden Conservancy board of directors nominates Greenwood Gardens as a preservation project.

2000
Peter Blanchard dies (his wife had predeceased him in 1956). His son, Peter P. Blanchard lll, and daughter-in-law, Sofia, proceed with plans to carry out his wish for long-term preservation of the property.

1949
The core of the original estate is sold to Peter B. Blanchard, Jr., and his wife, Adelaide Frick Blanchard. The Blanchards demolish the crumbling villa, build a new Colonial Revival-style home in its place, and change the name to The Greenwoods. Over the years, Blanchard improves the gardens, laying out new allèes, planting hundreds of ornamental trees and shrubs, and adding ponds and garden sculpture.

1944
Joseph Day dies and Pleasant Days is divided into parcels.

1911
The first house is destroyed by fire and Day erects a grandiose stucco Mediterranean-style mansion to replace it. The new house is designed by William Renwick, nephew of the renowned American architect James Renwick.

1906
Joseph P. Day, the leading real estate auctioneer of the time, and his wife, Pauline Pope, buy a 79-acre country estate and name the residence and the gardens Pleasant Days.

For more information, visit greenwoodgardens.org.