Passive Recreation Features
Established in 1959 through a joint effort of the New Jersey Rose Society and the Essex County Parks Department, the Garden has grown to include 1,500 rose bushes in 29 separate beds including nearly 100 different varieties. Dedicated volunteers from the Master Gardeners of Essex County work tirelessly to restore and revitalize the garden for the enjoyment of all park visitors. While the garden can be enjoyed year round, peak blooming times are in mid June and early October. Read more about the Essex County Rose Garden.
Planted in the spring of 2018, the Brookdale Park’s new pollinator garden is located just south of the Playground area near the Overlook. The garden was designed by Essex County Master Gardener Jean Greeley to provide food and habitat for butterflies, bees and other pollinating insects. Ms. Greeley continues to develop and maintain the garden area with funding and volunteers from the Conservancy.
Brookdale Park's Cherry Lawn is a quiet raised open lawn with over a dozen original 1930s flowering cherry trees along the west side and a raised rock wall to the east. Recent restorations included the addition of twelve new cherry trees.
Rock Garden and Overlook
The Olmsted Brothers’ Brookdale Park Master Plan called for an overlook to be built over a naturally occurring spring and an elaborately planted rock garden was located to the south.
During rainy seasons, the spring still feeds a small brook that flows towards the east, filling a rock lined basin before trickling under a walking path into the naturalized pond area. What remains of these features can be found near the middle of the park, just south of the present West Circuit Drive and restoration and replanting plans are currently underway by the Conservancy.
Brookdale Park offers over 200 acres of varied wildlife habitat and hosts a great number of bird species. Sightings range from the small and common House Sparrow to the occasional Wild Turkey. Visit ebird for Brookdale's Hotspot list of bird sightings recorded by our local birders.