Committed to a mission of connecting people with nature in a historic garden oasis, Greenwood Gardens can be described as a living museum that showcases its natural art in an environment that changes every day! 

It is an honor to shine a spotlight on this magnificent property 

Located in Short Hills, New Jersey, Greenwood Gardens is an elegant garden comprised of 28 acres of designed and naturalistic landscape that includes formal Italianate water gardens, rustic stone summerhouses surrounded by majestic plane trees, wildflower meadows, and pristine woodlands, and antique garden ornaments, sculptures, and ceramic tiles dating back to the early 20th century. 

A long legacy 

Greenwood Gardens had its start over 115 years ago in 1906 when successful businessman and real estate auctioneer Joseph Day and his wife Pauline purchased the country estate as a place to escape from the intense pace of their life in Manhattan.. Originally named “Pleasant Days,” the property was enhanced further when architect William Renwick was commissioned to replace the original A-frame wooden house when it burned down in 1911.  The Days enjoyed their lavish new 28- room mansion and its elaborate gardens until Day died in 1944. 

Five years later, despite the neglected status of the once extraordinary estate, Peter B. Blanchard, Jr., and his wife, Adelaide Frick Blanchard, bought the property. They built a new home and at the same time changed the name to The Greenwoods. Along with all the changes to the house, the Blanchards also greatly improved the gardens, making a significant investment in laying out new allées, planting hundreds of ornamental trees and shrubs, and adding ponds and garden sculptures to create a place that would be renowned over the years for its natural beauty. 

Creating a source for public delight 

The family enjoyed their home and its gardens for decades - even after Adelaide’s untimely death at a young age. But in 2000 when Peter died, he specified that he wanted The Greenwoods to be a preservation project that would evolve from private to public property, enabling the public  to benefit from the peace and beauty of this enchanted hideaway. His son, Peter P. Blanchard III, and daughter-in-law, Sofia, were committed to making his wish become reality. In 2003, they incorporated The Greenwood Gardens as a non-profit organization and in conjunction with The Garden Conservancy, set forth to realize the elder Blanchard’s dream to  preserve Greenwood as a community resource for all. 

In 2006 the organization undertook a bold renovation  plan in preparation for opening to the public for visitation in 2013. Today, after additional extensive renovations were completed in 2020, the gardens and the variety of unique structures provide a breathtaking panorama of nature’s best, now preserved so it can be savored by all. 

Timing was perfect 

No one could have predicted the crushing blow brought on by the pandemic in 2020. But the Gardens, now open and accessible, offered a safe – and stunning – alternative for all those who were growing weary of the restrictions necessitated by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In addition to offering New Jerseyans a safe haven during a public health crisis, Greenwood Gardens continues to brighten lives every day by virtue of the startling beauty of its landscaped garden collections as well as the irreplaceable artifacts of unique family history that dot the property.  Executive Director Abby O’Neill,  a student of art history, relishes the opportunity to lead this organization to achieve its vision for enhancing people’s lives, giving them the opportunity to enjoy both the gorgeous landscape and hardscape of this historic site.  Greenwood is supported by donors, members and award-winning volunteers who make it possible for thousands of visitors to flow through its gates each year.