Reeves-Reed Arboretum
Summit, New Jersey
May 2008



entrance sign


In 1889, John Hornor Wisner created a country estate on this property and built the colonial Revival residence, now the administrative center known as Wisner House.
Wisner House

He hired Calvert Vaux, a partner of Frederick Law Olmsted in the creation of Central Park, to design an overall landscape plan.
In 1916, the property was bought by Mr. and Mrs. Richard Reeves, who continued to develop the property. They built the 1925 rose garden

rose garden

with connecting rock-pool garden

rock pool

in the "garden room" landscaping style, a popular style in country estates. Italian stone masons were hired to install stone steps in several areas.
stone steps

In 1968, the Charles L. Reed family acquired the property. They were the last private owners, adding the patterned herb garden, opening woodland trails and upholding the property's design heritage.

herb garden

In 1974, local citizens, including the Reed family, raised the funds needed to preserve the estate as an arboretum and the City of Summit, became the property owner.
Today the Reeves-Reed Arboretum has 5-1/2 acres of formal gardens. and about 6 acres of woodland with trails.

Our first stop was the wildflower trail. This short woodland walk leads you through an abundance of spring flowers.
wildflower trail

The wildflower trail also takes you to the hosta collection.

hosta collection


Very few plants were in bloom in the Rose Garden, but one was really spectacular, a shrub rose labeled 'Canary Bird'.

Rosa 'Canary Bird'

A highlight when we visited were the Lilacs. There is a large and diverse collection, well-labeled, and well cared for.

lilac collection

Beyond the formal gardens are woodlands and wetlands, which showcase native trees and plants.

woodland trail

The Reeves-Reed Arboretum is a beautiful country estate and there's a lot to like about it. They have excellent, small collections of lilacs, hostas and roses. Plants are generally well-labeled and everything is well-maintained. I'd love to see them add interpretive signage or brochures about their major collections - why they have them and why they're special are questions visitors would like answered.
The property is listed on the National Register and the New Jersey Register of Historic Places.

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here to see more photos of Reeves-Reed Arboretum.

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here to visit the official website of Reeves-Reed Arboretum.

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