Presby Memorial Iris Gardens

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Presby Memorial Iris Gardens Horticultural Center
Presby Memorial Iris Gardens
Presby Memorial Iris Gardens is located in Essex County, New Jersey
Presby Memorial Iris Gardens
Presby Memorial Iris Gardens is located in New Jersey
Presby Memorial Iris Gardens
Presby Memorial Iris Gardens is located in the United States
Presby Memorial Iris Gardens
Location474 Upper Mountain Avenue, Montclair, New Jersey
Coordinates40°51′5″N 74°12′23″W / 40.85139°N 74.20639°W / 40.85139; -74.20639Coordinates: 40°51′5″N 74°12′23″W / 40.85139°N 74.20639°W / 40.85139; -74.20639
Area7.8 acres (3.2 ha)
ArchitectJohn Wister
Architectural styleSecond Empire
NRHP reference #80002483[1]
NJRHP #1171[2]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPSeptember 17, 1980
Designated NJRHPJune 25, 1980

Presby Memorial Iris Gardens is a nonprofit, volunteer-run living museum specializing in iris flowers, located at 474 Upper Mountain Avenue, Montclair in Essex County, New Jersey, New Jersey, United States. The gardens are situated on 6.5 acres. Adjacent to the gardens is a Victorian house, the Walther House. The house is open to the public and is home to a museum shop and headquarters for the Citizens Committee that oversees the gardens.

Following financial problems in 2008 and 2009, ownership of the gardens was transferred to Essex county, who bought the Walther House for $1.1 million in order to give the gardens a better financial standing. The county then leased the gardens back to the Presby Memorial Iris Gardens for $1. While Essex County owns the property, the actual iris beds are maintained without taxpayer funds. Rather, they are maintained by private donations and volunteer effort.[3]


The Gardens are in a park-like setting and open to the public without charge. Donations, however, are greatly appreciated. Each year Presby has over 10,000 visitors. Normally, the blooming season is May 14 to June 4. Check the Presby website (see External Links below) for the exact status of the current season.

The gardens were established in 1927 to honor Frank Presby, a noted horticulturalist and a founding member of the American Iris Society. This world-class collection now includes approximately 10,000 individual plants, representing 6 species and over 3,000 different named varieties of irises. It is the largest non-commercial garden dedicated to irises in the world.


In August 2005, 157 historic rhizomes were vandalized. One year later, Montclair Police were tipped off to the culprits who were later arrested and sentenced. The three men, minors at the time, had clubbed the plants practicing golf swings, while intoxicated.[4] In 2008, a theft was attempted on some irises, by removing them and putting them in a plastic bag, but they were recovered.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  2. ^ "New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places - Essex County" (PDF). New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection - Historic Preservation Office. April 1, 2010. p. 5. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 4, 2011. Retrieved July 6, 2010.
  3. ^[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Philip Read (2006-08-11). "Alcohol fueled iris vandals, police say". Star-Ledger. Retrieved 2006-08-28.

External links[edit]