This Japanese garden lies on the much larger site of the Georgian Court College, formerly the winter home of George Jay Gould, millionaire sone of the railroad tycoon, Jay Bould, on land purchased in 1896. It is now registered as a National Historic Landmark. With the exception of the Japanese garden, designed by Takeo Shiota (1881-1946), the site's buildings and grounds were designed by Bruce Price as a Georgian style estate.
The site lies on the outer coastal plain, home to the New Jersey Pine Barrens and the sandy soil of this region was not conducive to growing much of anything. To amend the soil, 5,000 carloads of loam were brought to Georgian Court from neighboring Monmouth County.
The arboretum was established in 1989 to maintain and expand the existing gardens, which include an Italian garden, a more formal garden, and a sunken garden in addition to the Japanese one. The arboretum was named after Sister Mary Grace Burns, chair of the biology department from 1927 to 1968.
The Japanese garden was a birthday gift to Edith Gould from her husband, George. A visitor enters near a machai and can follow a path that goes past a teahouse, leads over a wooden footbridge and continues to the back of the garden. The garden includes specimens of Japanese Yew, cherry, weeping cherry, hinoki (cypress), maples, azalea, iris, goldenchain tree, and lily-of-the-valley. The garden is at its best from mid-April to early June and then from mid-October to mid-November.
Not the snows of Fuji
Nor the auspicious plume
Of the white heron
Nor the sea-foam of Atami
Is so white
As the cherries of Aoyama:
The freshness of evanescence
On the carved stones of the dead.