After a deluge of rain and high winds left us cooped up in the house for a few days, I was ready to enjoy the sunshine. The weekend was here, and for my family, that meant a road trip! Our destination was the Presby Memorial Iris Gardens in Upper Montclair, NJ. I had never been there, but we were right on time for the 2014 Bloom Season (May 9-June 6), and any garden that boasts 14,000 blooming irises sounded like a great destination!
When we arrived, we made a donation and entered the garden, noticing that the garden was divided into 30 different labeled iris beds. The flowers weren’t quite as bloomed as we had hoped-we probably should have checked the official “bloom status” on the website, but for a spontaneous trip and a day out, we were not complaining.
We enjoyed taking our time winding and toddling through the rows of flower beds at the base of the park. My little one tried out her new trick, of “smelling” the flowers, and despite a few close calls, my husband was an ace at keeping her from picking them!
I was extra happy because the beautiful flowers made a great back-drop for some candid photos. I’m always hoping I’ll get one “perfect” photo out of the 1000’s I take, and really, by perfect I mean, maybe just one where my little one is actually looking!
Coincidentally, the day we chose to visit was also the Family Garden Party, which meant, not only were their beautiful blooming irises, but also added entertainment in the park. There was live music by Jason Didner and the Jungle Gym Jam, a face painter, arts and crafts tables, and a walk-about balloon-a hot air balloon you can go inside. This was a nice added bonus, but truthfully the beautiful park and blooming flowers alone easily made this trip worthwhile.
Next time we go, I think I’ll pack lunch. The rolling hills and blooming, shady trees in the background make the park a great place for a picnic. Maybe we’ll even cross the street and let the little one play on the swings and jungle gym for a while.
This was our first visit to Presby Gardens, and it won’t be our last. It was a relaxing family day trip and photo friendly experience.
• Check the Presby Blog for the Iris Bloom Status for peak bloom times
• There’s no admission charge but donations are welcome
• Take time to peruse the Bloom Room Gift Shop while dad watches the kids
• Casual eateries and shops only a street or so away on/near Bellevue Avenue
• Free on street parking on Highland Avenue and Upper Mountain Avenue
• Not so stroller friendly-the park is hilly and doesn’t have paved walk-ways