Why is New Jersey Called the Garden State?

Why is New Jersey called the Garden State? In 1926, Alfred Heston published an historical account of New Jersey citing a moment in 1876 when Abraham Browning compared New Jersey to "an immense barrel, filled with good things to eat and open at both ends, with Pennsylvanians grabbing from one end and the New Yorkers from the other. He called New Jersey the Garden State, and the name has clung to it ever since." Although, New Jersey has historical roots tied to gardening, its modern ties to its nickname might be even more extensive. This is despite the famous 1954 incident where the Governor refused to sign a bill that would add this nickname to the state license plates. Although true that New Jersey is also strong in many other areas of manufacturing, mining, and construction its historical and modern ties are very extensive.

New Jersey has nearly a dozen garden clubs and several state associations with two large community gardens, Denville Community Garden and the Greater Newark Conservancy. Look around and you will find bird sanctuaries, garden museums, arboretums, and many historical garden sites. In addition, New Jersey has almost 10.000 individual farms spanning nearly 800,000 acres of farmland and among those leading the nation in many forms of agricultural production. New Jersey is a large supplier of tomatoes, corn, blueberries, cranberries, spinach, bell peppers, peaches, lettuce, apples, strawberries, potatoes, hay, and soybeans. Additionally, New Jersey is also famous for their wines and fruit wines with nearly three dozen wineries spanning the state.


New Jersey is extensively covered in parks and tress with more than 50% of the state still wooded. In fact, New Jersey strongly pushes for land conservation and protection of its natural trees, resources, and wildlife. The push for modern "greenways" by many of the local organizations is one example of the modern way the New Jersey citizens define themselves by their state nickname. The New Jersey greenway vision is a push for "interconnecting systems of parks, trails, and protected natural areas, farmland, and historical places" according to Ed McMahon, director of the American Greenways Program. With a future vision of keeping in touch with its traditional roots its clear that many modern citizens continue to identify with the state nickname.

Gardening is an extremely popular hobby in New Jersey. New Jersey is also famous for its master gardener programs at Rutgers where from 1984 to 2008 the program has accumulated over 1.2 million volunteer hours by the locals willing to learn and help out, according to a report by the university. This program has been extremely beneficial for getting people more excited and interested in gardening and landscaping in the area. The push for gardening even extends into the Northern New Jersey suburban housing where container gardening and window box gardening have become increasingly popular trends. The nickname not only defines New Jersey from a historical point of view it remains today an important symbol that represents what the average person from New Jersey relates to as well.

Why is New Jersey Called the Garden State?

Matt Buquoi is the owner of Flower Window Boxes, a window box company that specializes in affordable no rot window boxes. He has seen an increasing trend in the gardening and window box industry in the New Jersey area.