Brookdale Park

Rose Garden at Essex County Brookdale Park

The Rose Garden at Essex County Brookdale Park was established in June 1959 through a joint effort of the New Jersey Rose Society and the Essex County Parks Department. The initial collection started with 650 rose bushes including 80 different varieties. Care and restoration of the Brookdale Rose Garden was taken over in 1997, as a community project by the newly formed Essex County Master Gardeners (ECMG), under the leadership of Jonathan Forsell until his death and was then revived again in 2003, under the leadership of Bob Kroeckel.

The garden continues to thrive today and has grown to 15,000 square feet divided up into 29 separate beds of hybrid tea, floribunda, shrub, hybrid musk, polyanthas, rugosas and antique roses. It includes 1,500 bushes of almost 100 varieties. Roses have been selected for their disease resistance, color, fragrance and blooms throughout the growing season.

Care and Maintenance

ECMG and other community volunteers meet every Thursday morning from mid-March thru November to keep the the Rose Garden looking its best. Drastic pruning, fertilizing, herbicide application and weeding are performed in early spring while throughout the summer, mulching, watering and weeding takes place around the beds. A balanced rose fertilizer is used twice a season and granular Epsom salt is applied to each rosebush several times a season. Granulated lime is judiciously applied every autumn to counteract the high soil pH caused by air pollution. All weeding is done mechanically rather than with the use of herbicides and there is no use of fungicide at all.


Brookdale Park’s outdoor archery field is leased by Essex County to The Bloomfield Archers. The club, founded in the 1930s, houses equipment, including target butts and stands, in a building adjacent to the field for the exclusive use of members. From April through October, the club hosts weekly “Sunday Shoots” that are open to all archers. Distances are adjusted for youth and novice archers. All archers pay an entry fee of $10. Registration on the field is required one-half hour prior to shoot.

The archery field is the official site for The Gold Cup, the New Jersey Outdoor State Archery Championships. An estimated 200 archers compete at the annual event. Actress Geena Davis was at the 1999 Gold Cup and world-class record holders come to Bloomfield to compete every year. For Bloomfield Archers membership info, please visit Bloomfield Archers.

Tennis Center at Brookdale Park

Since 1982, the Brookdale Park Tennis Center has been managed by Elite Tennis Academy with support from Essex County Department of Parks Recreation, and Cultural Affairs. The Tennis Center has eleven tennis courts and one handball court, public lockers and a restroom facility.

The tennis season runs from April thru October. Players must check in with the Elite Tennis Academy attendant located inside the tennis building before playing on the courts. For more information on the Brookdale Park Tennis Center and Elite Tennis Academy, call (973) 744-7060 or (973) 575-1000 ext. 202.