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Presby Iris Gardens, Upper Montclair

4.8
#74 of 289 in Parks in New Jersey
Garden · Hidden Gem · Nature / Park
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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. Use our Upper Montclair online trip itinerary maker to visit Presby Iris Gardens on your trip to Upper Montclair, and learn what else travelers and our writers recommend seeing nearby.
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Presby Iris Gardens reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
65 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • Beautiful - hundreds of irises and dozens of varieties. Parking is available on the street in front of the gardens. There are benches available for resting. Plent of room for social distancing... 
    Beautiful - hundreds of irises and dozens of varieties. Parking is available on the street in front of the gardens. There are benches available for resting. Plent of room for social distancing...  more »
  • 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... 
    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 »
Google
  • Well maintained gardens with nice benches to sit and relax. We spent close to two hours lounging here while our kids played and ran across the garden and had great fun. There is also a nice play area right across the road.
  • Nice compact park for a quiet walk or sit down. World famous expansive Iris beds typically in bloom around mid May for several weeks - that’s when the Place is pretty busy. Parking tip - park on Highland Avenue and walk down the hill. Often spots in Upper Mountain Avenue are in short supply.

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