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Presby Iris Gardens, Upper Montclair

4.7
#79 of 279 in Parks in New Jersey
Must see · Garden · Nature / Park
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.
The 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.
In 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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Presby Iris Gardens reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
64 reviews
Google
4.4
TripAdvisor
  • Irises are my favorite flower so I love to visit these gardens every few years during bloom season. Ever see tiny miniature iris? Giant bearded iris? Irises in almost every color known and...  more »
  • Beautiful garden, the largest iris garden in the country. Beautiful grounds. Check out all the estates along the way with massive front lawns. Run by volunteers so make sure you put some money in the....  more »
Google
  • Irises are my favorite flower so I love to visit these gardens every few years during bloom season. Ever see tiny miniature iris? Giant bearded iris? Irises in almost every color known and previously unknown to horticulture? It is all here. Bring a camera, hat and sunscreen and indulge in a few hours of sublime beauty. The town is fun to explore as well. Beautiful garden, the largest iris garden in the country. Beautiful grounds. Check out all the estates along the way with massive front lawns. Run by volunteers so make sure you put some money in the donation jar when you enter. Check the schedule for music in the summer evenings
  • The Iris Garden is wonderful & the best part dog friendly !! They ask for a donation when you first walk in which is sweet, can’t have all of this beauty for free 😉 So many beautiful bloomed flowers everywhere you turn! It’s decor is also very cute with bridges & benches nicely spread out. All the iris flowers have their name tags on it which is cool because you can see all the variety of kinds there actually are. Once you walk up higher there’s a nice grass field for sitting in the sun and relaxing. Bathrooms on site against far area of the garden. Definitely a cool spot to check out in the spring!!! Spent about 30-45 minutes here and it was wonderful!
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