Donald B. Lacey Display Garden

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See a map of the 2016 Display Garden

This garden area is named for the Extension Specialist in Home Horticulture – Mr. Donald B. Lacey – who, in 1964, oversaw the conversion of a massive display of Bearded Iris into a demonstration garden of annuals that are suitable for the home landscape. This garden has grown into one of the finest displays of unusual and colorful annuals, tropicals, herbs and vegetables that can be visited in the state of New Jersey.

Visitors are awestruck by the dizzying array of colors and textures found in this garden's beds and containers.   Designed annually by our Staff Horticulturist, Monica McLaughlin, the garden is dutifully planted and maintained by volunteers and interns. The garden is arranged in an attractive formal pattern around a central pond. The planting design of the garden changes yearly, so please come back often to enjoy the new display!

Two perennial beds – called the Chroma Gardens – border this display of annuals. Initially designed by a student in the Landscape Architecture Department, these beds feature the "chromas" of red, blue, yellow, and purple. These borders are ever-changing through the gardening season. The Chroma Gardens include grasses, cut backs (woody plants that are cut back heavily each spring), and perennials.

New this year is a mixed border that was designed by an adult education class offered at the Gardens.  Similar to the Chroma Gardens, this bed includes shrubs, perennials and grasses, but focuses upon plants that provide a greatly extended season of interest in regards to flowering, texture or foliage coloration.

All-America Selections Garden
The All-America Selections display is located to the rear right side of the Donald B. Lacey Display Garden. This area is grown from seed in our greenhouse and planted new each year by the staff Horticulturist, Interns, and Volunteers. The garden is comprised of a large variety of annuals, vegetables, and even a few perennials!

All-America Selections is an independent, non-profit organization that tests new varieties of both annuals and vegetables in various regions throughout the US, and then introduces only the best garden performers as AAS Winners. Judges look for significantly improved qualities such as earliness to bloom or harvest, disease or pest tolerance, novel colors or flavors, novel flower forms, total yield, length of flowering or harvest, and overall performance.

The AAS Winners offer gardeners reliable new varieties that have proven their superior garden performance in trial grounds across North America. When you purchase an AAS Winner, you know that it has been put through its paces by an independent, neutral trialing organization and has been judged by experts in their field. The AAS Winner label is like a stamp of approval.


All America Selection
All American Selection bed


Here are just a few of this year's plants.  
Angelonia Gaura
  Angelonia Serenita™ Pink F1 2014 Winner.          Gaura Sparkle White 2014 Winner   
Pepers Petunias
  Pepper 'Mama Mia Giallo' F1  2014 Winner       Petunia African Sunset 2014 Winner