Tulips Everywhere the Eye Turned Saturday at Deep Cut
MIDDLETOWN NJ – A gently curving swath of tulips (at top), about 12 feet wide and more than 40 feet deep, bathed in bright sunshine Saturday (April 17, 2021) and swayed slightly in a light and cool breeze as dozens of visitors wandered through the entrance to Deep Cut Gardens. It’s a floral and landscaping showpiece of the Monmouth County NJ park system, located 109 miles northeast of Sanatoga.
The 54-acre garden property is a four-season wonder, open daily year-round from 8 a.m. to dusk, with free admission and free parking. Curiously, it’s the now-popular municipal legacy of a criminal well-known in the 1930s and ’40s, former New York City Mafia mob boss Vito Genovese.
Don Genovese “was ruthless, ambitious and power hungry,” according to his biography at The Mob Museum in Las Vegas. The man was “heavily feared” for a vicious reputation, it said, but he also held a soft spot for his native Italy. That prompted him, in 1935, to buy property in Middletown NJ as a retreat for his family. Stone walls, cascading pools, and an extensive rose garden with pergola all were developed under his ownership, and today form the heart of Deep Cut’s elegance.
The gardens have since expanded with greenhouses, a gardener’s cottage, lily pond complete with large and brightly colored koi fish (above), a Japanese-themed garden, bonsai tree displays, and a horticultural center that hosts a variety of garden education programs. Its extensive woodland meadow walk includes a natural stream-fed pond that’s home to frogs, fish, birds and plants, and picnic facilities.
- See Deep Cut’s animated “world tour” map, here. Note: it takes about 30 seconds to load, but it’s lively and fun.
Programs are scheduled regularly in the horticultural center, and are intended specifically for home gardeners of all ages. The center also houses a 4,000-volume horticultural library, as well as a free “take one-leave one” Seed Exchange Station. During The Post’s visit, the county was preparing for its free annual spring perennial plant swap, which will be conducted May 1 (Saturday) from 8:30-11:30 a.m. at Tatum Park, directly across from Deep Cut on Red Hill Road in Middletown.
Not surprisingly, the gardens are loved by professional photographers taking wedding, prom, and family pictures. Three different sets of future wives-and-husbands were on the grounds between 1:30 and 4:30 p.m., accompanied by photographic and video teams with shutters clicking and digital images rolling. Their sole task, of course, was to capture their clients’ wedding bliss (above) among all those acres of cultivated beauty.
Editor’s Note: When The Post takes a road trip, its readers go too. “Travels With The Post” is a series that reports on places and activities beyond our usual coverage area, but usually within a drive of three hours or less of Pottstown PA. Joe Zlomek, managing editor of The Post, is an accredited travel writer and a TripAdvisor.com contributor since 2006. Read other articles in this series.
Photos by The Post