Saturday June 12, 2021: 1pm – 4pm

Here is your invitation to step past the frontage and explore the private plants and blooms of some of the Cape May area’s natural areas and most dedicated gardeners. See both public and private gardens and take home ideas for your own gardens. Smell and see what’s blooming and flourishing in several different seashore locations dominated by sunlight, ocean breezes, sand and salt, but each uniquely situated. Physick Estate gardens are included as well as the The Nature Conservancy Garrett Family Preserve included!
The grounds of the Emlen Physick Estate will host nature and garden themed local vendors as well as a complimentary wine tasting by Cape May Winery!

This tour is self-guided.

Tickets $20

Purchase Tour

Properties on Tour

The Dwyer Residence
911 Farmdale Drive, West Cape May

“Wild and Weeds” – The garden has been planted using native plants that provide support for wildlife. Birds, bees and butterflies all have a place in this garden.  Flowers were chosen to attract hummingbirds, feed butterflies and provide a host for caterpillars. Birds use the shrubs for shelter as well as enjoy the berries.  Frogs and dragonflies use the pond to lay their eggs.  Toads hide in the underbrush. The human residents are sustained by the vegetable, herb gardens berry bushes. The garden has been a six year project to create a natural oasis to attract and support nature. The flowers are beautiful but the real enjoyment of this garden is watching the various visitors to the garden throughout the year.

The Viguers Residence
501 Broad St., Cape May

This garden located at the corner of Bank and Broad Street keeps within the historical tradition of Cape May. The original owner of the home ( Mr. F. Boerner ) was a gardener and the landscape designer/caretaker for the Physic Estate located just blocks away. The success of this garden can be attributed to the on going love of flowers. The gardening season starts with daffodils, tulips, and Siberian iris followed by a variety of asiatic lilies, heirloom roses, and mophead hydrangeas. In the fall you will find wine colored garden mum’s  planted along the cypress fence line. The cypress fence was hand made by the late Howard Viguers. The garden also features a fish pond. The pond, which is a former hot tub, hosts gold fish and a variety of aquatic plants which include water lilies. Take special note to the container plantings on the porch. You will find phalaenopsis orchids, a collection of begonias, and other house plants which enjoy their time on the porch all summer long.

The Emlen Physick Estate
1048 Washington Street, Cape May

Tour six different gardens on the grounds of Cape May’s only Victorian house museum.

OVAL GARDEN: 700 colorful annuals of multi-colored snapdragons, marigolds, white vinca and red cardinal salvia flower for Summer.
HERB GARDEN: Ornamental and culinary herbs thrive throughout the Spring, Summer and Fall seasons.
FRED AND SARITA KUHNER MEMORIAL SHADE GARDEN: Enjoy a refreshing retreat on a hot summer’s day among the fountain, hydrangeas, hostas, lilies of the valley, ferns, rhododendrons and holly trees.
ELVIRA TURANO MEMORIAL GARDEN: Featuring a fountain and benches that beckon guests to enjoy a respite among ferns, hollyhocks, hellebores and two fig trees.
WELCOME GARDEN: A pleasing “welcome” as visitors walk from the parking in the back to the grounds of the estate. It is made up of a collection of flowering shrubs (all white flowers) daylilies and other flowers.
POLLINATOR GARDEN: Made up of a collection of native plants designed to create a habitat for butterflies. The intention of this garden is to showcase plants that people can use in their own garden to attract and support butterflies.

The Gaines-MacKenzie Residence
1148 Washington Street, Cape May

Don’t expect a well-groomed perfectly neat landscaped arrangement here. Instead, witness the results of an impulsive gardener with a limited budget, cranky knees, and a willing husband.

A pollinator border of mostly natives defines the north side of this almost-double lot: anise hyssop, fennel, bee balm, aster, and varieties of echinacea are framed by a butterfly bush (buddleia), Morning Light Miscanthus, and, near the sidewalk, Oregon Grape Holly with fruit the birds can’t resist. New this season is a long-coveted Winterberry Holly, whose berries were consumed two days after the first mockingbird arrived.

A crape myrtle, beauty berry, two lace-wing hydrangeas and a thuja dominate the border along the house. Among the plants lower to the ground: ginger, Siberian iris, balloon flower.

There’s a vegetable garden, a cutting and fragrance garden, potted herbs arranged on an old boat, and a pond surrounded by, among other plants, lavender, beach plum, and Joe Pye.

A boxwood anchors the south side of the front yard, accompanied by several perennials, and colorful annuals. Camellia vernalis with bright red flowers that bloom some time between January and March anchors the other side, and a bird-planted crabapple centers it. The arch over the front walk supports an heirloom rose, Albertine, with flowers that are fragrant and tasty!

The Garrett Family Preserve
Off Seashore Road at the end of Wilson Street in Lower Township, NJ

Visitors can hike or bike on the more than four miles of flat, sturdy trails of this ecological gem, watch wildlife from the bird blind enclosure, see beneficial bugs at work in the insect hotel, have a picnic with friends under a shady pavilion or bring paints and pencils to capture the landscape on one of three permanent art easels.

The property was acquired in 1999 by The Nature Conservancy as an opportunity to manage a significant piece of land for migratory songbirds, whose stopover habitat, especially at the southern tip of the Cape May peninsula, has been all but wiped out. A generous donation from the Garrett family in 2013 enabled expansion of the site as well as improvements in habitat and visitor amenities.

The Gulish Residence
1125 Washington Street, Cape May

“Playing in the dirt” has always been a passion of ours since we were kids, a trait shared in our 50 years of marriage. To this day, we are most content while gardening no matter hose strenuous the work involved.

Since purchasing our home in 2008, we continue to replace overgrown or diseased plants with colorful and unusual shrubs and perennials such as rainbow euphorbia, lemon meringue baptista and varieties of peonies. Climbing roses grace our wrought iron gazebo while other climbers, tree and shrub roses will be evident throughout your visit.

We love being surrounded by colorful blooms not only in the garden beds but also in pots and planters of annuals on our porch and patio. Besides the flowers, a bird bath, fountain, feeders and bird houses attract birds and butterflies.

Behind our home, organically grown vegetables fill wooden box gardens and in the rear garden area a brown turkey fig tree overlooks iris, clematis and hydrangeas.

We retired from the garden industry and welcome any questions you may have during your tour. We hope our gardens bring as much pleasure to you as they do for us.

Emlen Physick Estate Gardens