The Garden Guide

Van Vleck Gardens

A 6 acre suburban estate with an Italianate Villa. The gardens were developed by 3 generations of the Van Vleck family. The property has been owned by the Montclair Foundation since 1993. There are some interesting rhododendrons and azaleas.
Photograph © Karl Gercens
Photograph © Karl Gercens
Photograph © Karl Gercens
Photograph © Karl Gercens


Van Vleck House & Gardens originated as a private estate more than 125 years ago. Three generations of the Van Vleck family lived on the 5.8 acre property and developed the grounds throughout the past century. The garden's evolution over the decades produced a strong representation of ericaceous plants, with rhododendrons and azaleas being particular favorites. Today, the Van Vleck property provides an excellent example of the large estates built in this New York City suburb during the late 1800s.

The last family member to reside here was Howard Van Vleck. His interests reached beyond gardening and garden design to include the scientific aspects of horticulture. He hybridized rhododendrons, working to create a clear, yellow-flowering variety. A number of his hybrids survive as special elements in the garden and several have been registered and named for Van Vleck family members.

The main house that now graces the Van Vleck grounds was designed and built in 1916 by Joseph Van Vleck, Jr. It recalls the classic architectural style of a Mediterranean villa. In 1993, the heirs of Howard Van Vleck placed the property in the hands of The Montclair Foundation. This community foundation transformed the house into a center for non-profits. The offices of several New Jersey foundations reside on the second floor and use of the ground floor is restricted to non-profit organizations for meetings, seminars, receptions, and fundraisers.

Plants of note

The Van Vleck Rhododendrons:
Rhodo. cv “Howard Van Vleck”
Rhodo. cv “Betty Van Vleck”
Rhodo. cv “Carolyn Van Vleck Pratt”
Wisteria sinensis – Chinese Wisteria
(planted by Howard Van Vleck in 1939)
Rhodo. gandavense “Coccinea Speciosa”
- Coccinea Speciosa Azalea
Rhodo. vaseyi “White Find”
- White Find Azalea
Rhodo. “Princess Elizabeth”
- Princess Elizabeth Rhododendron
Rhodo. fortunei
- Fortune Rhododendron
Rhodo. keiskei - Keiskei Rhododendron
Cedrus libani - Cedar of Lebanon
Magnolia grandiflora “Edith Bogue”
- Edith Bogue Magnolia
Metasequoia glyptostroboides
- Dawn Redwood
Cedrus atlantica glauca - Blue Atlas Cedar
Trochodendron aralioides - Wheel Tree
Enkianthus campanulatus - Enkianthus

21 Van Vleck Street, Montclair, New Jersey, USA, NJ 07042

Daily. Open 9am to 5pm.


Visit the Van Vleck Gardens website

Nearby gardens