Garden in mist -- by Mary Jean Peters

Photo by Mary Jean Peters

The Gardens are located on the Cross Estate, site of the New Jersey Brigade Unit of Morristown National Historical Park, on Old Jockey Hollow Road in Bernardsville, NJ. The Gardens are open from dawn to dusk. Parking is free, and there are no entry fees.

The early twentieth-century landscape of the Cross Estate, characteristic of the Arts and Crafts period, includes a formal perennial garden, a wisteria-covered pergola, a mountain laurel allee, and a garden of native plants.

Large specimen trees such as Silver Maple and Chinese Sequoia can be found on the grounds of the Cross Estate. A self-guided walk provides visitors with the opportunity to view historic trees and learn about their importance to Native Americans and colonists.

The National Park Service purchased the Cross Estate in 1975. Acquisition of the property allowed Morristown National Historical Park to join the isolated New Jersey Brigade area to the main encampment area in Jockey Hollow. Today, in addition to the formal and native gardens, the grounds of the Cross Estate provide hiking trails that connect to trails in Jockey Hollow, Lewis Morris Park, and the Scherman-Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary (New Jersey Audubon). The buildings on the property serve as office and storage space for the park.

Wisteria covered pergola - photo by Michael V. Gutwillig

Photo by Michael V. Gutwillig

The Cross Estate Gardens look spectacular any time of year thanks to their faithful volunteers who meet every Wednesday morning from March to December. In addition, since 1995 the foundation has hired student interns to work in the gardens.

The walled garden is on two levels, and the pergola features 19 stoned columns with blue and white wisteria and male kiwi vines. Other gardens include the lawn garden, with its native rhododendrons, primroses, and perennials lining the spring border; the fern garden, site of a dawn redwood — a seedling originally planted by Mrs. Cross, the pachysandra beds, and a mountain laurel allee, which runs alongside the driveway.

The Cross Estate Gardens are a project of the New Jersey Historical Garden Foundation, in cooperation with the National Park Service.