Treehuggers from all over will love the arboretums Baltimore has to offer. “Treehugger,” a term that was originally used as an insult, is now embraced by “greenies” and those who have a passion for “green” initiatives. These crusaders take on the name and wear it proudly as they help protect the Earth. What better place for treehuggers to visit or meet one another than at an arboretum? Baltimore may be a large city with lots of residences and businesses, but it also has a number of great parks and arboretums for even the most extreme treehuggers to enjoy. Here are just a few to check out in Baltimore.
4915 Greenspring Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21209
Cylburn Arboretum is a 207-acre park with an arboretum and gardens. It is open daily, except for Mondays, and has no admission fees. The park was originally a private estate. The house was built in 1888 by George Aloysius Frederick, the architect who designed Baltimore City Hall. The Cylburn Mansion is open to the public and has many paintings of wildflowers and other natural life. As far as the collection of trees and shrubberies, the arboretum is home to azaleas, bamboo, beeches, boxwoods, chestnuts, conifers, hollies, Japanese maples, magnolias, maples, Maryland oaks, viburnum and more. The park also houses several flower and vegetable gardens, as well as greenhouses where many of the plants start growing. The greenhouses are not open to the public. Engaged couples may be happy to know that Cylburn Arboretum is a highly rated venue to have a wedding.
Baltimore, MD 21218
During the 1800s, the property where Sherwood Gardens is located was part of the Guilford estate of A.S. Abell, the founder of The Baltimore Sun. The gardens, as they are today, were originally planted in the 1920s by John W. Sherwood. Sherwood’s green thumb led him to plant hundreds of tulips that he imported from the Netherlands. Sherwood Gardens has become known as the most famous tulip garden in North America. Approximately 80,000 tulip bulbs are planted each year along with many other flowering bulbs. Dogwoods, flowering cherries, wisteria and magnolias also grow in the gardens. There are a number of species of rare trees that are also a direct result of Mr. Sherwood’s passion. The garden is at its height of beauty in late April and early May. The Guilford Association takes great care in preserving this gorgeous garden and has an adopt-a-plot program. People can help keep the garden alive and beautiful by adopting sections and paying for the upkeep. Sherwood Gardens is over six acres and has no fences or boundaries. It is open to the public, free of charge. Simply stop on by and enjoy the scenery. Don’t forget a camera!
Ladew Topiary Gardens
3535 Jarretsville Pike
Monkton, MD 21111
Topiary is a horticultural practice where one uses trimming techniques to “carve sculptures” out of living trees and plants. You’ve probably seen these before when someone trims a shape out of their hedges. Well, the Ladew Topiary Gardens, located about 40 minutes north of the city, takes that concept the next level. Harvey Ladew, who originally planted the gardens in the 1930s and 40s, learned much of his gardening techniques from hunting trips to England. He brought back the knowledge and practices to America. The basic layout of the gardens divides the area into smaller “garden rooms” that all have a theme. The themes are based on color, plant or some general theme. The Rose Garden, Pink Garden and Yellow Garden are just a few of over 20 rooms you will find on your self-guided walking tour. The topiary sculptures are simply amazing and are unlike anything else you’ve seen before. Ladew Topiary Gardens is only open from April 1 through October 31 and there are admission fees. The fees vary depending on the age of the visitor and how much of the garden and estate you would like to see, around $10-$15 for adults. Check out the website for more information on what the gardens have to offer and to see the admission fees.
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Tom Clocker is a freelance writer covering all things Baltimore. His work can be found on Examiner.com.