Annual Open House

Saturday, July 25, 2015
8:30 AM - 2 PM

FREE Admission

Plant Diagnostics Taking photos in the gardens. Garden Tours Lectures.

Come for a day of FREE tours, classes, leisure and enjoyment.
New Jersey gardener, this is your day.  So car pool, come early, bring a picnic and enjoy a day of horticultural learning and sharing.  Families, all ages welcome.

For over half a century New Jersey gardeners and horticulture professionals have come to us this day to advance their horticultural skills and knowledge.   Information stations on gardening, nature and wildlife will be available throughout the event, as well as informational tours of our different gardens. 

The star of the day is the Donald B. Lacey Display Garden (DBL), which features combinations of outstanding annuals for summer-long color and interest. Plants in the DBL are exceptional performers chosen from professional trials across the country.  Included are award winners by All-America Selection, Proven Winners and Proven Selections. 

This display garden was created in 1964 by Donald B. Lacey, a Rutgers Cooperative Extension specialist in Home Horticulture. In 1965, to showcase the garden, Mr. Lacey established the Rutgers Gardens Open House. 

While you are here, enjoy the 60 beautiful acres of flower, herb, vegetable, tropical, succulent, bamboo gardens, woods, ponds and more. 

Day Long Exhibits-

The Garden Club of New Jersey- "Backyard Wildlife Habitat".  Bees, butterflies, frogs and all things good that live in our garden spaces will be featured. 

Garden State Daylily Growers- a daylily bloom display, information on gardening with daylilies, handouts with daylily care and culture, membership information for local, regional and national daylily organizations, local resources for daylilies and assorted varieties of bare root daylilies for sale.

“Ask the Experts”  - Middlesex County Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer all of your gardening questions.

New Jersey Audubon - Come meet the staff of NJ Audubon and learn about their mission to connect people to nature and steward the nature of today for the people of tomorrow, and thus touch upon nature education, ecosystems education, environmental education and sustainability education. 


Stay for the day then see the play!

re-think theatrical

3:00pm - 6:00pm

Experience Shakespeare like never before as reThink Theatrical takes you on a fully immersive retelling of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Mischief and magic will lead you up and down throughout Rutgers Gardens in this outdoor performance. Fairies will guide you, Royals will sing to you, and bumbling players will make you roar with laughter!

Tour Schedule





8:30 am

NJ Audubon Early Bird Tour

John Parke

Potting Shed Shop

9:00 am –12:00pm

Hourly tours of the Donald B. Lacey Display Garden

Rutgers Gardens Staff and Volunteers

Donald B. Lacey Garden

9:30 am

Helyar Woods - Every forest has a story to tell and Helyar Woods has multiple stories! Come explore the 70 acre woodland, hike the trails and learn about the ecology of this fascinating place! The walk will also visit the Pine Forest, the Labyrinth and the various quarries.

Rutgers Gardens Volunteer

Potting Shed Shop

9:30 am Organic Vegetable Gardening – Explore the cultural, biological and mechanical practices used in organic gardening to promote sustainability, ecological balance, and biodiversity, along with providing a healthy and bountiful garden. Theresa Lam, Coordinator of Vegetable Community Agriculture Donald B. Lacey Garden

10:30 am

Rain Garden - Rain Gardens can be an attractive and environmentally sensitive addition to your home.  The main objective is to reduce storm water runoff from impermeable surfaces such as driveways, patios  and rooftops, thereby reducing erosion and sedimentation of local streams and rivers.

Bruce Crawford, Director Rutgers Gardens

Potting Shed Shop

11:00 am New Introductions - See the newest annual flower introductions for 2015-2016 planted in the Donald B. Lacey Display Garden. Ira Grasgreen, Eason Horticulture Resources Donald B. Lacey Garden

11:30 am

Container Plantings in the Gardens - Learn techniques for planting and maintaining beautiful containers. Monica will explore the containers at Rutgers Gardens, the plants that are used and show you some tricks for maintaining your container for summer long color!

Monica McLaughlin, Staff Horticulturist

Potting Shed Shop

12:30 pm

Learn how to plant and care for herbs in your garden or in containers.  Discover when and how to harvest your herbs as well as how to preserve and store your harvest.

Caren White, Gardens Volunteer Holly House

1:30 pm

Explore the Labyrinth and Pine Forest

Bruce Crawford, Director Rutgers Gardens

Potting Shed Shop