This newsletter is sent to you by the Friends of The Frelinghuysen Arboretum because you directly subscribed to it or gave your e-mail address as part of your membership registration. Instructions to unsubscribe are at the bottom of this email.
If you have trouble viewing this as an email, open the Email Blast page on our website.

January 24, 2024


Saturday, February 3 - 1:00 PM

Speaker Marta McDowell will discuss her new book, Gardening Can Be Murder.

With their deadly plants, razor-sharp shears, shady corners, and ready-made burial sites, gardens make an ideal scene for a murder mystery. Flora and horticulture have had an outsize influence on the genre: motive, means, opportunity, victims, villains, and detectives. Join Marta McDowell, writer, gardener, and avid mystery reader, in exploring the many ways in which writers - from Edgar Allen Poe and Wilkie Collins to Agatha Christie and some of today’s top crime fiction authors - have found inspiration in the sinister side of gardening.

Marta McDowell lives, writes and gardens in Chatham, New Jersey. Her garden writing has appeared in popular publications such as Women’s Day, Country Gardening, The New York Times and she is a regular contributor to the British journal, Hortus. Marta teaches landscape history and horticulture at the New York Botanical Garden and consults for private clients and public gardens. She was the 2019 recipient of the Garden Club of America’s Sarah Chapman Francis Medal for outstanding literary achievement.

Since 1979, the Friends of The Frelinghuysen Arboretum have supported horticultural education through a scholarship named for Dr. Benjamin Blackburn.

Dr. Blackburn was a professor of Botany at Drew University. His involvement with the Morris County Park Commission began with his friendship with Henry and Robert Tubbs, whose property, Willowwood, eventually became the Willowwood Arboretum. Dr. Blackburn published many articles and wrote a number of books on gardening as well as being the host of a very popular radio gardening program. He generously shared his vast knowledge and deep love for horticulture with many staff members in the Horticulture Division and with his countless fans, members of the Friends of The Frelinghuysen Arboretum and area garden clubs.

Admission fees for this program support the scholarship that is offered to students in the Landscape Technology Program at County College of Morris (CCM). This scholarship allows interested students the opportunity to explore the different horticultural, environmental, and design studies offered through the accredited CCM programs. The increased knowledge the students acquire in the classroom and through hands-on programs at CCM will benefit them as they enter their chosen field in horticulture and landscape design.

This presentation will be followed by a book sale and signing.

This program is eligible for 1.0 Rutgers Master Gardener CEU

For more information and to register, click on the book cover image, above.

This event is generously sponsored by Mendham Capital Management.


Saturday, March 2 - 9:00 AM

Logo image for Community Garden Conference sponsored by the Friends of The Frelinghuysen Arboretum

The Friends of The Frelinghuysen Arboretum and Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Morris County are teaming up to present their Annual Community Garden Conference for the 14th year in a row. This year we are very excited to have Ben Flanner, Co-Founder and CEO of Brooklyn Grange as the keynote speaker. We have an impressive list of session speakers too, all experts in their field. They will cover topics relevant to not just community gardeners but backyard vegetable gardeners as well as garden managers, and those trying to establish a new community garden.

The topics for the 2023 conference are:

Keynote Speaker Ben Flanner

Ben Flanner is co-founder and CEO of Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm. He is widely considered a pioneer for his groundbreaking model, which adapts existing green roof technology to intensively cultivate vegetables, beginning with Eagle Street Rooftop Farm, a pilot project on a 6,000 square foot Brooklyn roof, which Ben co-founded in 2009. A year later, in 2010, Ben and his partners scaled up the model and, in 2010, launched Brooklyn Grange, a commercial-scale urban farming business, eventually expanding to 2.5 acres spanning two roofs. Ben directs all agricultural endeavors on the farm, he brings his system optimization background to bear, making sure the business remains as fiscally sound as it is ecologically healthy.

Morris County Agricultural and Natural Resource Agent, Rutgers Vegetable Expert and Conference Co-sponsor Peter Nitzsche

Pete will discuss the findings from the season-long community garden demonstration plot trials on the Genetic Diversity of Potatoes Grown from Seed.

Farmer Shaun Ananko, Director of Agriculture and Education

Back by popular demand, Shaun presents his talk on Maximizing Food Yields – a topic of critical importance for community gardeners. A native of Morristown, Shaun Ananko began developing his love for farming as a small child when his mother taught him how to grow tomatoes in their home garden. Shaun was raised to appreciate the benefit of growing one’s own food, but has witnessed society move away from these values. Now as Farmer Shaun for Grow It Green Morristown, he is proud to share his knowledge of food cultivation to the Morristown community and students of local schools.

Rebecca Magron, Horticulturist from Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Hunterdon County

Rebecca presents her excellent talk on How to Read a Soil Test. We’ll use examples of soil tests taken at community gardens and encourage you to bring your own if you have questions. Rebecca first started her horticulture career in 1996 with Cornell University Regional Fruit Program and studied plant science and plant pathology at Cornell University. Rebecca has worked in agricultural research on tree fruit crops with Cornell University and Cooperative Extension focusing on horticultural techniques to improve yield and reduce the reliance on pesticides.

The Coordinator’s Round Table moderated by Ned Gardner, Manager of the Ted Largman Community Garden in Morris Township and Mike Dziomba, Manager of the Randolph Community Garden.

This is a chance for managers of community gardens to connect with other managers and get questions answered and share successes as well as not so successful endeavors they’ve encountered. The topic for the 2024 discussion is Bulk Purchasing Power for Community Gardens and is open to all attendees.

This program is eligible for 5.0 Rutgers Master Gardener CEU's

For more information and to register, click on the graphic.


Tuesday, March 5

The bus leaves from the Arboretum parking lot at 10:00 AM SHARP

Philadelphia Flower Show 2024 PHS

This 2024 Flower Show’s theme, United by Flowers, will illustrate the beauty and power of flowers to transform, inspire, delight, and connect us to one another.

Join the Friends on this always popular and highly anticipated trip. Chat with garden experts and watch how-to gardening demonstrations in the Gardener’s Studio, shop acres of vendor booths brimming with merchandise in the Marketplace and enjoy lunch and/or dinner on your own at the show or at nearby Reading Terminal Market.

The bus leaves at 10:00 AM from the bus parking spot at The Frelinghuysen Arboretum; we will leave Philadelphia at 6:00 PM and arrive back at the Arboretum at 8:00 PM approximately.

For more information and to register, click on the Flower Show banner.


Online Tuesday evenings

Rutgers Gardening Education 2024

February 6 through May 21 - 6:00-8:00 PM

Would you like to better understand the science behind how things grow and improve your gardening knowledge?

Learn more through a series of online lectures given by the experts from Rutgers Cooperative Extension. Topics include botany, soils, entomology, plant pathology, composting, vegetable and fruit gardening, trees and shrubs, pruning and lawn care.

For more information and to register, click the brochure, above.


Misty, chilly and gloomy at the Arboretum and snow is still on the ground. A hawk flew overhead sending small birds scurrying for cover in the shrubs. An evergreen Helleborus foetidus (Stinking Hellebore) behind Matilda's cottage is getting ready to open its chartreuse flowers. A Tsuga canadensis cv. Detmer's Weeper (Weeping Canadian Hemlock) in front of Matilda's cottage is hanging on to its delicate little cones; and the Picea abies cv. Inversa (Weeping Norway Spruce cultivar) in the Four Seasons Garden is showing off a couple of beautifully shingled, large cones, the largest cones of any Spruce.

Tsuga Canadensis cv Detmers Weeper Helleborus Foetidus
Picea Abies cv Inversa Cones

Click an image to see them all in our website's picture gallery.


Several of our previously recorded events are available to watch on-line.

See our Prerecorded Events page for more information and to register.

Retail Partners

When shopping at our fine Retail Partners, please remember to present your Membership card at the beginning of your check out transaction. Our Retail Partners need to enter the discount at the beginning of that process.

If you have not yet used this wonderful Member Benefit, you can view our full list of Retail Partners by clicking here.

You can register and pay on line on our Events page and Membership page and subscribe to this newsletter here: complete directions for subscribing.


Friends of The Frelinghuysen Arboretum
Post Office Box 2267
Morristown, NJ 07962

Voicemail: 973-937-8803


Morris County Park Commission Logo
The Frelinghuysen Arboretum is a facility of
the Morris County Park Commission
  • Frelinghuysen, Willowwood and Bamboo Brook Arboreta grounds are open 7 days a week, from 8am to dusk
  • The Haggerty Education Center is now open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. The building remains closed on Sundays and Mondays.
  • Parking is limited. Other buildings remain closed. Portajohns are available.
  • HUNTING IN THE PARKS - See the Morris County Park Commission website.