Rutgers Gardens (20 ha / 50 acres) are horticultural, display, and botanical gardens, including arboretums, located on the Cook Campus, Rutgers University, 112 Ryders Lane, North Brunswick in Middlesex County, New Jersey, in the United States. The gardens are open daily without fee.
The gardens were first established in 1927, and are horticultural collections arranged in garden settings. Current collections include:
- American Hollies - according to Rutgers, the largest collection of American Hollies in the world, including selections from Dr. Elwin Orton's Ilex opaca breeding programs.
- Bamboo Forest - a large grove of evergreen bamboo (Phyllostachys nuda), originally planted in the 1950s, with a winding path by a small stream.
- Donald B. Lacey Display Garden - unusual and colorful annuals, tropicals, herbs, and vegetables.
- Ella Quimby Water Conservation Terrace Gardens - demonstration of drought-tolerant plants, including Amorpha canescens, Berberis, Ceanothus americanus, Hypericum 'Hidcote', Juniperus, and Hylotelephium telephium (formerly Sedum) 'Autumn Joy'.
- Ornamental Tree Collection - unusual small trees, including India Quassiawood (Picrasma ailanthoides), the state's largest Paperbark Maple (Acer griseum), a very large Persian Ironwood (Parrotia persica), and a fine Cornus kousa var. chinensis.
- Rhododendron and Azalea Garden - small trees and groundcovers, with a variety of shrubs focusing on rhododendrons. The collection started in the 1930s and now includes Cornus kousa, Davidia involucrata, Metasequoia glyptostroboides, and Rhododendron mucronulatum.
- Roy H. De Boer Evergreen Garden (1958) - fine specimens of Pinus strobus 'Pendula', Tsuga canadensis 'Sargentii', and many other cedars, pines, spruces, and firs.
- Shade Tree Collection - many mature shade trees, including Aesculus, Toona sinensis, Tetradium hupehensis, Fagus, Quercus dentata, Tilia, and Ulmus specimens.
- Shrub Collection - hybrid and species lilacs (dating from 1927) and other shrubs, including Buddleia alternifolia, Corylopsis spicata, Diervilla lonicera, and Hamamelis vernalis. The garden also includes two notable trees: Magnolia kobus and Magnolia virginiana.
- Log Cabin - The Log Cabin was built in 1936 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Today it is actively used for receptions and other events in the gardens. The log cabin overlooks the Westons Mill Pond, a section of the Lawrence Brook.
- The Gardens were created in 1927.
- The name of Rutgers Gardens is strongly associated with that of "Doc" Hamilton. In the 1990s, despite strong opposition, Rutgers, the New Jersey State University, planned to sell Rutgers Gardens for urban development; the Garden State was about to destroy some of its own most valuable gardens. In 1993, Dr. Bruce Hamilton, Rutgers professor, accepted responsibility for directing the Gardens' management and funding. Thanks to his outstanding dedication, to generous supporters and to the work of many volunteers, the Gardens survived for everybody's enjoyment. Without his efforts, the Gardens, the native forest, the brook near the bamboo forest and many natural features would likely be severely impaired or nonexistent today.
- Rutgers Gardens is now managed by its director, Bruce Crawford, and Laura Lawson, chair of Rutgers' Department of Landscape Architecture.
- History, Rutgers Gardens. Accessed September 24, 2007. "They are located just east of U.S. Route 1 on Ryders Lane in New Brunswick, New Jersey."