Saturday, May 4, 2013

Sayen Gardens in Hamilton Square, New Jersey

I don't know if you are tired of flower pictures or if the blogosphere is too saturated with flower photo essays, but this blogpost began writing itself so I let it go on. This morning I dragged all of my camera gear to Sayen Gardens in Hamilton Square. (Sayen rhymes with lion.) This used to be the home and garden of Frederick and Anna Sayen whose family had a rubber plant nearby. The Sayens bought the thirty acres in 1912 and built the Arts & Crafts Style bungalow house there.
The 1912 Sayen House
The Sayen house features a "TB room." These rooms with windows on three sides, were commonly built a hundred years ago for convalescing tuberculosis patients. There's no record of anyone in the Sayen family suffering from this disease, however.

A sign of the time: the "Tuberculosis Room" at the Sayen House
Hamilton Township bought the estate in 1981 and turned it into a park. The house is used for weddings and other special occasions.each weekend in the nicer weather. I planned my photo shoot for a Saturday morning before the bridal invasion began. That is a better time for flower photography, anyway.

The gardens are maintained by the township and volunteers and are open to the public from dawn to dusk. On Mother's Day every year, Sayen Gardens plays host to a popular Azalea Festival, and every other weekend year 'round, the grounds are crawling with bridal parties posing for pretty pictures. Fifteen to twenty brides find their way here every weekend in the nicer weather.

Frederick and Anna Sayen were travelers and brought plant specimens home from all over the world. These days the park is known for its azaleas in all possible colors, some so tall they form archways over your head.

Kids, brides, and photographers seem to flock to the pond where the quaint footbridge and fountain pose for photos daily.

Superstorm Sandy came through here in the fall, and groundskeepers are still chopping up fallen tree trunks. I'm glad that is not my job. That root ball is as tall as I am.

And of course there are flowers everywhere.

Don't forget to look up!
Sayen Gardens is located at the corner of Mercer Street and Hughes Drive in Hamilton Square, NJ.

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