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Presby Iris Gardens, Upper Montclair
(4.7/5 based on 45+ reviews on the web)
Presby Memorial Iris Gardens is a nonprofit, volunteer-run living museum specializing in iris flowers, located at 474 Upper Mountain Avenue, Montclair in Essex County, New Jersey, New Jersey, United States. The gardens are situated on 6.5 acres. Adjacent to the gardens is a Victorian house, the Walther House. The house is open to the public and is home to a museum shop and headquarters for the Citizens Committee that oversees the gardens.Following financial problems in 2008 and 2009, ownership of the gardens was transferred to Essex county, who bought the Walther House for $1.1 million in order to give the gardens a better financial standing. The county then leased the gardens back to the Presby Memorial Iris Gardens for $1. While Essex County owns the property, the actual iris beds are maintained without taxpayer funds. Rather, they are maintained by private donations and volunteer effort.DescriptionThe Gardens are in a park-like setting and open to the public without charge. Donations, however, are greatly appreciated. Each year Presby has over 10,000 visitors. Normally, the blooming season is May 14 to June 4. Check the Presby website (see External Links below) for the exact status of the current season. The gardens were established in 1927 to honor Frank Presby, a noted horticulturalist and a founding member of the American Iris Society. This world-class collection now includes approximately 10,000 individual plants, representing 6 species and over 3,000 different named varieties of irises. It is the largest non-commercial garden dedicated to irises in the world.VandalismIn August 2005, 157 historic rhizomes were vandalized. One year later, Montclair Police were tipped off to the culprits who were later arrested and sentenced. The three men, minors at the time, had clubbed the plants practicing golf swings, while intoxicated. In 2008, a theft was attempted on some irises, by removing them and putting them in a plastic bag, but they were recovered.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • We got see it twice. Even had lunch there one day. It was very attractive. Their were irises everywhere. My even bought a Presby Garden cap! 
  • definitely worth the trip to see those marvelous blooms. they are here for such a short time so dont miss them in te spring. 
  • Spectacular! And a lovely gift shop with unique offerings. The gardens are small, but exquisite! You can also purchase bulbs but my cousin and I didn't think the price was great and the selection was ...  more »
Google
  • Yesterday was a prime day for this beautiful garden. Almost every iris was in bloom. I wasn't aware there is a tent set up with volunteers requesting $8.00 donation from each person. It was worth it for the chance to walk among hundreds of varieties of irises, cared for by volunteers.
  • If you love gardens or irises or peonies, this place is amazing. It is an old rich guy's house and property who passed away and willed his property to the local town. They are known for their Irises, which are amazing, but they also have an incredible group of peonies by the front door. Great place to just walk around and take time to "smell the roses".
  • Beautiful in May when all the flowers bloom
  • Love this place - try to go every year - so many breathtaking colored bearded irises
  • Small historical garden and house that you can visit during summer in Montclair