New Jersey is the Garden State so, naturally, no story about the state is complete without a tour of some of its beautiful gardens and arboretums.
I will start with my favorite, Deep Cut Gardens in Middletown. Deep Cut Gardens is part of the Monmouth County Park System and there is something to see year-round. The main attraction is the Rose Parterre which is breath-taking in full bloom.
Smell the Roses
You can walk around, smell the roses, or just sit on one of the benches and enjoy the beauty of nature all around you. The pergola at the far end is the crowning touch.
At Deep Cut Gardens, you will find more than 180 rose bushes of all shapes, sizes and colors. Each bush is labeled with its scientific and common name — pay attention to the names and you will notice the gardeners have a sense of humor; for instance, the Julia Child Rose is planted next to the Butter Rose.
While the roses, in my opinion, are the stars of the show, they are by no means the only actors. The trees on either side of the terraced walkway are incredible and make for welcomed shade on hot days. There are benches throughout and a couple small waterfalls and pools to sit next to.
Gaze at the trees
Don’t make the mistake that flowers are the only things to see; this tree below is just a few short yards from the parking lot, just before the koi pond. You will find these trees along either side of the walk/stairs leading from the Visitor Center to the Rose Parterre.
Park benches can be found under the trees, many of which have a small pond next to them. These benches make wonderful resting spots — you are out of the sun and can see a world of beauty spread out below you.
While walking make sure to keep an eye out for the fauna that take up residence in the park. You may find chipmunks, squirrels and deer. Look up to the sky and you are bound to see a red-tailed hawk circling overhead — birders would do well to bring their binoculars, too.
For more gardens and arboretums, check out our arboretum guide.
Adapted from “Exploring Photography with Joe Valencia.”