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The Garden State’s Top Garden Cities

New Jersey might be know as The Garden State, but which municipality holds the title of The Garden City?

David Cross

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While the Movoto Real Estate bloggers might know novelty real estate, there’s one thing we need help with. In the past couple of months, despite our best efforts, we have slowly killed all our office plants, either through neglect or what we call the “black thumb disease.” And while we have stopped pouring our lukewarm coffee into our potted plants’ soil, well, they’re still dying.

Still, we are proactive people. So, instead of continuing to commit planticide, we set out to locate someone to help us—in typical Movoto style, of course.

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

When we think of gardening, one place comes to mind: New Jersey. The Garden State. That said, we weren’t content with just asking help from any person from New Jersey. We asked ourselves: Which city in New Jersey best exemplifies the state’s nickname, because that’s the city we wanted help from.

What did we find?

The garden-est city in the Garden State, according to our survey, was Vineland, a 68-square-mile municipality in southern Jersey. And yes, we too were amused that verdant sounding Vineland took the top spot on our list. After all, with a name like Vineland, how could its residents not have green thumbs?

How We Grew this List

We surveyed N.J.’s 25 largest municipalities. Here is a list of the top 10 cities that exemplify that state’s nickname:

  1. Vineland
  2. Toms River
  3. Piscataway Township
  4. Cherry Hill
  5. Clifton
  6. Edison
  7. Brick Township
  8. Lakewood Township
  9. Trenton
  10. Union City

For a full look at how your cities, towns, and counties fared on our list, jump to the bottom of this post. Otherwise, dig into how we came up with this list of green-thumbed municipalities.

What Makes Your Garden City Grow

As with all our lists, we surveyed a number of different criteria using Saturday Night Science to figure out which New Jersey cities have the most green thumbs—or potential for green thumbs, anyway. In this case we looked at six criteria:

  • Nationally recognized gardening clubs
  • Flower shops
  • Botanical gardens
  • Nurseries and gardening
  • Community gardens
  • Lawn care services

For more localized pieces such as this, we survey only the largest cities in an area. For this piece we looked at the 25 largest municipalities in New Jersey (Jersey has some strange naming shenanigans when it comes to calling something a city, FYI). Once we located the largest municipalities in the state we ranked them each based on our criteria. The municipality with the lowest overall average score earned the title of the “garden-est” municipality in New Jersey.

But enough with the boring stuff. We know you’re looking for some material to argue over. Below you’ll find a breakdown of criteria and the cities that placed the best for a specific criterion. Put on your gloves, because it’s going to get dirty.

Nurseries and Gardening Stores

Well, this criterion shouldn’t come as a surprise. If you’re going to be a city known for its gardening, you’ll need a place to get all your seeds, plants, and dirt. We found that Vineland has the most nurseries and gardening stores on a per capita basis. Right behind, like late bloomers, are Piscataway Township and Edison.

Gardening Groups

Our assumption for this category was that the municipality with the most chapters or branches of gardening associations would indicate a higher affinity for gardening. There are a lot of associations out there, many that trumpet just one type of plant. To find the various branches, we went through all the affiliate associations found on the National Garden Clubs website. And yes, this included a cactus gardening club.

We found that Middletown Township has the most gardening groups per capita, followed by East Orange and Old Bridge Township.

Flower Shops

Do flower shops go against the idea of gardening? We don’t think they do. In this section we found the number of flower stores on a per capita basis. Piscataway Township came out on top. Right behind were Clifton and Vineland.

Botanical Gardens

We fully admit that not all cities will have a botanical garden. They are, after all, most likely found in and around larger municipalities. Still, we felt that a municipality should get a bump for having a botanical garden. We found only three botanical gardens across the cities we surveyed: Franklin, Hamilton, and Lakewood Township. Franklin took the No. 1 spot on a per capita basis.

Community Gardens

It can be difficult to gauge how many community gardens are in an area. We got around this by using those green spaces listed by the American Community Gardening Association. The municipality with the most community gardens per person was Clifton. The municipalities that placed second and third were Vineland and Camden.

Landscaping Services

We wanted to figure out which cities best exemplify New Jersey’s nickname. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to love gardening to appreciate a well-kept garden. We added lawn care services to our mix to include those who can afford paying someone to do the heavy lifting for them. The city with the most lawn care services was Toms River. The next highest ranked cities were Brick Township and Cherry Hill.

Conclusion

Vineland residents: If you’re reading this, shoot us an email with some tips on how to keep our houseplants from getting tossed in the trash. We’ve already tried singing to them, and are on the fence about that psychic communicator.

(click to enlarge)

Garden Cities Ranking

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posted on: August 16, 2013
622 views, 2 comments

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2 Comments

  1. Joe Szabo

    How about Hammonton, the “Blueberry Capital of the World?”

  2. Jim Devine

    Apparently, you have never been in New Jersey.

    Trenton & Union City? Movoto Real Estate bloggers might know novelty real estate, there’s nothing they know about New Jersey. (And Movoto Real Estate bloggers probably do not know novelty real estate.)

 

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