FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, NJ - The Somerset County Park Commission Horticulture Department invites the public to the 18th annual “Garden Party” in Colonial Park Saturday, July 15 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., featuring garden lectures and music.

The Garden Party will be held in the Perennial Garden at the Colonial Park Gardens, Parking Lot F. Admission is free with donations kindly accepted.

Lectures and activities include:

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- “Plant It and They will Come: Creating a Bird-Friendly Landscape” from 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m., lecture by Kim Eierman, an environmental horticulturalist specializing in ecological landscapes and native plants. 

- “The Plant Storyteller,”  12:45-1:30 p.m., an eclectic discussion on topics ranging from luna moth caterpillars to poisonous plants by Edith Wallace, botanist extraordinaire and “Lilac Lady” for the NJ Botanical Gardens.

- Guided tour of the garden, 2 p.m.

Daisy Gardens will feature specialty plants and garden sculptures for sale.

Live classical music throughout the event will be provided by the New Jersey Youth Symphony String Quartet. Visitors are invited to bring chairs and blankets to enjoy the music.

Complimentary refreshments will be available.

For information, call 732-873-2459 ext. 21 or the NJ Relay Service at 711 for individuals with a hearing or speech impairment.

The five-acre Perennial Garden was established in 1976 as a lilac collection, evolving over the decades into a garden that provides year-round horticultural interest. In spring, the garden comes alive with the colors and fragrances of daffodils, lilacs, daphnes, and pinks. Late spring and summer bring added color and form to the garden. Irises, peonies, roses, lilies, and coreopsis bloom among the many perennials and shrubs. In autumn, asters, ornamental grasses and butterfly bushes reach their peak bloom. Evergreens and winterberry hollies provide interest well into the winter months. Amid green lawns and beds of colorful perennials, bulbs, trees, and shrubs, lies the focal point of the garden, the gazebo.

The Perennial Garden is open daily from sunrise to sunset and is managed and maintained by the Horticulture Department of the Somerset County Park Commission.