The Gardens are open
to the public from
dawn to dusk,

365 days a year,
and are always
free-of-charge.



21 Van Vleck Street

Montclair, NJ 07042
Tel. 973-744-4752



 
 

     
 
 
 
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What is Van Vleck

The 5.8 acre Van Vleck House & Gardens is a public garden with more than 130 years of history. A green oasis in a suburban setting, the gardens feature a series of formal and informal spaces planted with unusual trees, and extraordinary Chinese Wisteria, and many ericaceous plant species, including flowering rhododendron hybrids developed by Howard Van Vleck in the 20th century. Three generations of the Van Vleck family lived on this site.

In 1993, Howard Van Vleck’s heirs donated their property to the Montclair Foundation, a community foundation established in 1979 for the purpose of supporting Montclair-based-non-profit organizations.
 
The Master Plan
The transformation from a family home to a public garden began in 1995 with a Green Acres Grant followed in 1998 by the property’s designation as a project of the Garden Conservancy. With generous support of hundreds of volunteers, we continue to work to ensure that this early 20th century home remains a relevant resource for the public.

The highly regarded firm of Rodney Robinson Landscape Architects was selected to develop a Master Plan to guide that transformation. With a goal of $2.2 million, our Capital Campaign is making sure we preserve and enhance this unique community resource for generations to come, making the property even more accessible, allowing expansion of educational programming, and creating self sustaining endeavors.
 
Plan Phases
PHASE ONE | The Van Vleck family created gardens for the spring season but we are planting gardens with year round interest. Early donors have already made it possible to replace the old tennis court with a new garden containing a water feature and exuberant summer and fall blooms.


PHASE TWO | The quality of visitor experience is an important priority. Phase Two addresses the way visitors enter and move through the gardens. The parking and entry areas have been redesigned to improve access while fitting into the garden setting. Within the garden, improvements are being made to ensure visitors can walk through the gardens on a user-friendly path system.


PHASE THREE | Core values expressed in the mission of the Montclair Foundation and Van Vleck House & Gardens come together in our educational programs. Education, health, cultural, social service, and quality of life needs are already addressed through an assortment of offerings. Renovated classroom space and a new visitors’ center in an existing structure will enable better delivery of programs. An important feature will be handicap accessible facilities currently unavailable for visitors. The classroom will feature a wall of windows looking out on the Tennis Court Garden and an outdoor classroom will provide needed additional space.


PHASE FOUR | A garden means plants. With the right infrastructure in place, we will refurbish Howard Van Vleck’s renowned Rhododendron and Azalea collections, expanding seasonal interest and restoring the formal gardens and Wisteria courtyard.
 
Goals

New Garden Paths: better circulation, improved accessibility

Facilities for Education: new indoor and outdoor classrooms

Improved Visitor Experience: signage, better lighting and seating, Visitors’ Center, restrooms

Improvements: more seasonal interest, Azalea Walk and rear garden, Tennis Court Garden, restoration of Wisteria Courtyard, Mother’s Garden and Upper Walk, “Ring of Fire,” Woodland Garden, tree maintenance fund

Infrastructure: new gate entrance, parking improvements, perimeter improvements, new service drive and service yard, storm water management


The Gardens are open to the public from dawn to dusk,
365 days a year, and are always free-of-charge.
Come experience this precious gift!
 
John E. Welshons   The Van Vleck House & Gardens is proud to be a preservation project of the Garden Conservancy, an organization dedicated to preserving America's exceptional gardens.
Van Vleck House & Gardens is owned by The Montclair Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization supporting non-profits in our community.
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