A beautiful day-off-work, off we went in search of someplace new to see before the sun went down. Just a half-hour away, the Frelinghuysen Arboretum, had managed to stay off our radar screens all these years. Who knew?
It’s the former summer estate of the Frelinghuysen family, an ancient New Jersey clan that still boasts a member of Congress among its members. Close to the entrance are some formal gardens with specimen trees and plantings, including even at this late date on the calendar several kinds of lettuces and flowers that one would think would need a greenhouse.
If you don’t recognize that right away (believe it or not, I did) it’s a cardoon, a celery-like vegetable that’s popular in Italian neighborhoods. The leaves are stripped, the stems are peeled, the whole thing is then boiled, and the children refuse to touch it.
Here are some of the nice specimens we saw in the pine grove.
There’s always a downside and you can count on me to point it out. Unlike places like Skylands, this is hard on the highway. In fact, a couple of them. I-287 is a constant droning presence everywhere you go on the property, and Whippany Rd. is busy as well. But even though nobody likes I-287 — especially the people who drive on it — it’s not going anywhere soon.