Maryland Highlights Its Public Gardens

In spring, it’s said, a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of love. And that makes this the ideal time to highlight a selection of Maryland’s public gardens, perfect for a romantic walk (and, at some, for a spring wedding as well).

Call ahead for details about days and hours of operation.

The gardens marked with an asterisk (*) are part of the Maryland Public Garden Consortium, which includes 13 members throughout the state. For further information about the gardens, call Ladew Topiary Gardens at 410-557-9570, ext. 25 to request a free brochure or visit the group’s web site at For more information about any aspect of travel in Maryland, the public may call 800-719-5900 or visit the state’s tourism web site,

Adkins Arboretum*
12610 Eveland Road
Ridgely, MD 21660
A 400-acre native garden and preserve promotes the appreciation and conservation of the Delmarva Peninsula’s native plants. Four miles of paths lead visitors across streams, through meadows and into a bottomland forest. There are blooming gardens near the arboretum’s visitors center, which also includes a gift shop, library, and nature and art exhibit.

Annmarie Garden on St. John*
Dowell Road
Solomons, MD 20678
Museum-quality outdoor artwork is combined with the tranquil setting of a natural garden. The garden sponsors festivals throughout the year and a light display during the holiday season.

Baltimore Conservatory and Botanic Gardens*
Druid Hill Park
Baltimore, MD 21217
This complex includes an 1888 Victorian Palm House, three display greenhouses and 1.5 acres of flower gardens. The collection features plants from around the world, including annuals and perennials, a tropical display, a cactus display and a rain forest exhibit. NOTE: This site is in the midst of renovations. The gardens will remain open, but the palm house and greenhouses are temporarily closed. Please be sure to call ahead to determine the site’s status before your visit.

Brookside Gardens*
1800 Glenallan Avenue
Wheaton, MD 20902
A conservatory greenhouse with a stream and tropical plants is the focal point of the 50-acre property. The grounds feature 11 formal gardens.

Carroll County Farm Museum
500 S. Center Street
Westminster, MD 21157
The museum portrays life 150 years ago, and it features an heirloom garden of "antique table fare." Among its contents are purple carrots and heirloom tomatoes. In addition, antique roses grow in a formal garden that is highlighted by towering holly trees, making it a popular spot for tea parties and weddings.

Cylburn Arboretum*
4915 Greenspring Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21209
Baltimore businessman Jesse Tyson began building Cylburn Mansion in 1863. The 207-acre estate features gardens, trails, a hands-on nature museum, a collection of Maryland oaks, a bird museum with dioramas, a horticultural reference library and a "Garden of the Senses" specially designed for disabled visitors.

Helen Avalynne Tawes Garden*
580 Taylor Avenue, Tawes State Office Building
Annapolis, MD 21401
This award-winning, five-acre garden represents geographic features from across the state, including everything from forested Western Maryland mountains to sandy Eastern Shore beaches. It was created by and is named for the wife of a former governor and is located on the property of the state office building that houses Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources.

Historical Society of Talbot County
25 S. Washington Street
Easton, MD 21601
The three historic homes that comprise this site are situated within award-winning gardens. Those gardens are a reproduction of a formal Federal-period garden and provide an ideal setting to enjoy a picnic lunch or quiet respite.

Ladew Topiary Gardens*
3535 Jarrettsville Pike
Monkton, MD 21111
This 250-acre property, home to the late Harvey Ladew, features a manor house (circa 1747), 15 thematic flower gardens on 22 acres and a nature walk. The house and gardens are on the National Register of Historic Places. The highlight here is the property’s intricate topiaries, among the most interesting of which is a life-size foxhunt. Many consider this site the most outstanding topiary garden in the United States.

Lilypons Water Gardens
6800 Lilypons Road
Buckeystown, MD 21717
Named for the opera diva, the gardens are nestled alongside the Monocacy River and are home to 275 acres of water lilies and other aquatic plants. Although the main purpose of the gardens is to be a retail "showroom," the staff will gladly conduct tours. The area is a favorite among bird watchers and picnickers.

London Town House and Gardens*
839 Londontown Road
Edgewater, MD 21037
Built in 1760, this one-time tavern inn overlooks the South River. Now it is a museum surrounded by eight acres of woodland gardens. The house is a National Historic Landmark and appears on the National Register of Historic Places, and the attraction is the site of archaeological digs.

McCrillis Gardens and Gallery*
6910 Greentree Road
Bethesda, MD 20817

A five-acre shade garden features an array of azaleas, rhododendrons, trees and shrubs. The accompanying art gallery houses changing exhibits throughout the year.

Merry Sherwood Plantation
8909 Worcester Highway/Route 113
Berlin, MD 21811
An eight-room bed and breakfast in a Victorian mansion is nestled on 23 acres of beautifully landscaped property. The gardens are open to non-guests as well.

Sherwood Gardens
Greenway and Stratford Road
Baltimore, MD 21212
Although all seven acres are open throughout the year, these gardens shouldn’t be missed from late April to early May, when more than 80,000 tulips bloom. Other plants found here include azaleas, boxwoods, dogwoods, magnolias and wisteria.

Sotterley Plantation
44300 Sotterley Lane
Hollywood, MD 20636
Designated a National Historic Landmark in 2000, this tidewater manor (circa 1710) boasts one of the region’s most impressive collections of blooming flowers, shrubs and trees. Sotterley’s formal garden dates to 1910, when Herbert L. Sotterlee hired a landscape architect to design a typical 18th-century garden overlooking the Patuxent River.

8537 Hollow Road
Middletown, MD 21769
This site boasts acres of beautiful gardens, all located on a historical farm. It’s open for herbal luncheons, garden tours, weddings and special events. The site was recently named one of the Top 10 Lawns in the United States by Briggs & Stratton lawn mowers.

William Paca House and Garden*
186 Prince George Street
Annapolis, MD 21108
William Paca, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and former governor of Maryland, built this Georgian mansion between 1763 and 1765. The two-acre pleasure garden features a Chinese trellis bridge, domed pavilion and fish-shaped pond and is the only one of its kind remaining in the city. The site is within a National Historic District and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

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