Keyport Unlocks Its Glorious Gardens

The Keyport Garden Walk, now in its sixth year, allows visitors to explore about 40 green and growing sites in this charming town on Raritan Bay.

Sights include private gardens at a number of Keyport’s historic waterfront homes
Sights along last year's Keyport Garden Walk included private gardens at historic waterfront homes.
Photo courtesy of the Keyport Gardens Walk

April showers may bring May flowers, but wait for the first weekend of June to experience the beauty of Keyport’s public and private gardens. The Keyport Garden Walk, now in its sixth year, allows visitors to explore about 40 green and growing sites in this charming, 1.5-square-mile town on Raritan Bay.

“Our mission is to make Keyport a tourist destination and to have our visitors discover the charm of our gardens, our fantastic eateries and antique shops,” says Garden Walk chair Clare Skeen. The free, self-guided walk can be completed on foot, car or bicycle, or in a complimentary pedicab. “You can certainly walk to each and every garden,” says Skeen, “but you will probably want to do a mix of walking and biking or driving.” The three pedicabs, hired for the weekend from New York’s Central Park, conduct 15- to 20-minute drive-by tours of select gardens.

The gardens range from a historic waterfront house with a backyard garden offering magnificent bay views to a majestic Queen Anne home with a number of pocket gardens. Public gardens on display include a community vegetable garden and the Waterfront Pavilion Park rain gardens. There’s also a certified wildlife habitat with a hand-built garden shed topped by a living roof.

Flowers are plentiful. Keyport is considered planting zone 7A, says Skeen, which is ideal for hydrangeas, rhododendrons and azaleas. “Knockout roses are a home run in most gardens,” she says.

Visitors are encouraged to register for free morning garden talks at Keyport Borough Hall. For complete information, go to keyportgardenwalk.org.

Keyport Garden Walk is scheduled, rain or shine, from 11 am to 3 pm, June 3 and 4. No tickets are necessary; visitors are encouraged to download a garden guide from the website or pick one up at the Keyport Waterfront Pavilion on Legion Drive.

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