Lakewood, New Jersey

Sister Mary Grace Burns Arboretum

sunk garden mary grace arboretumThe Sister Mary Grace Burns Arboretum, established in 1989, is named after Sister Mary Grace Burns who was a professor of biology at Georgian Court University from 1927 to 1968.

Georgian Court University was once the winter home of George Jay Gould, millionaire son of railroad tycoon Jay Gould. After Gould’s death in 1923, The Sisters of Mercy of New Jersey bought the estate and moved their College of Mount Saint Mary to the site. The Gould family requested that the name of the estate stay the same, so the college became Georgian Court University.


The approximately 100 acres of the arboretum features a collection of native plants of the New Jersey Pine Barrens. There are mature chestnut, black and white oak trees, as well as pines. The largest white oak in Ocean County is located behind the Sister Mary Joseph Cunningham Library, and there are 16 trees that are the biggest of their species in Ocean County.

The architect Bruce Price was hired to transform the land into a lavish country estate resembling an English estate of the Georgian period; therefore, it was named Georgian Court. Price designed the Classic or Italian Gardens, the Sunken Garden or Lagoon, and the Formal Garden. The Japanese Garden was designed by noted garden designer Takeo Shiota.

Photo: The sunken garden. The tall conifers are cultivars of Moss Cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera). The pink trees are Crabapple (Malus sp.).


The arboretum is open from 8 AM until dusk daily, year-round with the exception of spring Commencement. [ info ]