Laurelwood Gardens Rhododendron Sanctuary
Gift to Wayne Township in New Jersey
John and Dorothy Knippenberg
On May 4, 1960, thirty acres of rhododendron planted woodland was presented to the Township of Wayne. The announcement was published on the above date in the local newspapers. The Donors have agreed to maintain the rhododendron Arboretum without cost to the Township. One condition in the agreement holds that the Donors may cultivate and maintain the Woodland without restriction as long as one of them lives.
The 30 acre tract is bounded by Colfax Road, Vale Road and Pines Lake Drive West. The natural woodland area is dominated by towering Canadian hemlock containing two ponds and a winding spring fed brook. The wood consists mostly of oak, hickory, beech and maple with quantities of dogwood predominating. The rolling terrain is made up of two parallel hills with declining northern slopes that have proved a congenial home for the many classes of rhododendron hybrids and species being grown. (Fig. 26)
Fig. 26. Laurelwood Gardens looking toward Laurel Pond
Great effort and enthusiasm has gone into the preparation of the area with soil preparation the important major factor. Endless clearing and thinning of superfluous trees has been done with toil still continuing to make room for the increasing quantity of propagation and rapid succession of hybridized rhododendron seedlings that must be accommodated.