Visit these Gardens in Baltimore for the Best Spring Flowers
April 8, 2023
Spring has officially sprung and the Charm City is full of beautiful blooms. From the famous cherry blossoms to fields of tulips, there are plenty of great photo-worthy locations to visit. So plan a picnic, get the dog ready for a walk, or take the kids to the park. Here are some of the best gardens in Baltimore to visit this Spring.
Cylburn Arboretum features 200 acres of natural landscape within the concrete jungle of Baltimore. The arboretum is the epitome of open access. The grounds are FREE to visit and are open year-round. And unlike many other parks and public spaces, there are no playgrounds, basketball courts, baseball fields, or anything of that sort. Apart from a few buildings, Cylburn features nothing but natural landscape and the wildlife who live there.
At the center of the property lies the Cylburn Mansion, a Victorian Renaissance home built in the late 1800s. The mansion was once home to a wealthy Baltimore resident, and later served as a safe haven for abandoned children in WWII. Tours of the mansion and entrance to other buildings are currently suspended.
Within the 200 acres of property is 150 acres of gardens. Different areas are sectioned off and named for various people who were important to Cylburn’s history. Visitors will find ponds, trees, ferns, ornamental grasses, and flowers of all kinds.
Fort McHenry – Park Grounds
Probably the most famous spot in Baltimore for cherry blossoms, Fort McHenry‘s park grounds are stunning. While there is an admission cost to get inside the historic star-shaped fort, the grounds are FREE to visit. Located within the Baltimore harbor, Fort McHenry sits along the banks of the Patapsco River. Visitors can get beautiful panoramic views around the harbor all year long. But the springtime is when the park grounds truly shine.
In 1931, public schools students planted 304 cherry blossom trees to commemorate George Washington’s 200th birthday. The trees represented the 152 public Baltimore schools at the time. Since they were racially segregated, the white students planted 152 trees in the West Cherry Blossom Grove. Similarly, the black students planted 152 trees in the East Cherry Blossom Grove. Over the years the trees have been replanted as needed and remain one of Baltimore’s biggest attractions.
One of the most incredible topiary gardens you’ll ever visit is located north of Baltimore. Located in Monktown, Maryland, Ladew Gardens features 22 acres of beauty surrounding an historic manor house. The gardens are open to the public from April through June. Admission is $17 for adults, $12 for students and seniors, and $5 for children aged 2-12. Toddlers under 2 are free.
The formal gardens feature over 100 topiaries, carved into both traditional and whimsical shapes. In contrast, there is a 1-mile nature walk that winds through the part of the property that has been reclaimed by nature. Guests can meander along the pathway and its boardwalks to immerse themselves in nature. Note the various plants, trees, and wildlife you can see along the journey.
In addition to acres of gardens to explore, visitors can also tour the mansion for an additional $7. There is also a butterfly garden open during the summer, and a cafe should you get hungry during your visit.
Rawlings Conservatory & Botanic Gardens
Easily one of the best kept secrets in Baltimore, Rawlings Conservatory is celebrating its 135th anniversary this year. The tall, beautiful glass buildings are located in Druid Hill Park, next to the Baltimore Zoo. Flowers and plants are on display year-round for visitors to Enjoy. And while the conservatory is technically FREE to visit, a $5 donation per person is encouraged. Believe it or not, parking is also FREE.
When we stepped inside the main entrance, we were warmly greeted by an elderly man at the front desk. He graciously told us about the history of the conservatory and the types of plants we would find in each room. I was immediately in love with the place. Five large greenhouses connect to create the conservatory, each with a different climate and plants as appropriate. The oldest, the “Palm House” dates back to 1888 and is filled with various palms and tropical plants. It connects with the Orchid Room, Tropical House, Mediterranean House, and Desert House. Outside, visitors can stroll through more gardens during the spring and summer.
Don’t forget to visit the gift shop before you leave the conservatory. In addition to the typical souvenirs and gardening books you’d expect to find, they also sell small plants from within the greenhouses. I treated myself to a small pot with String of Buttons cacti.
Rawlings Conservatory Tours
Private/group tours are available, but must be scheduled in advance. Alternatively, you can use the cell phone tour to guide yourself through the different buildings.
All five of the greenhouses are wheelchair accessible.
Located in the heart of an upscale neighborhood in northern Baltimore, Sherwood Gardens has sprawling fields filled with tulips. Ornately positioned throughout the expansive park, tulips in beautiful shades of red, orange, yellow, pink, and purple fill a panoramic view. The park is open to the public, not gated, and completely FREE to visit. Its a great spot to take some family photos (like some people were doing when I visited). Or pack a picnic lunch to spread out across the large grassy areas.
More Parks & Gardens in Baltimore Worth Visiting
Carrie Murray Nature Center
Boasting over 1200 acres of natural landscape, Carrie Murray Nature Center is a a real treasure in Baltimore. With several miles of trails, native wildlife, sculptures, and special programming, it’s a great place for anyone to visit. Admission and parking are FREE and guests can borrow binoculars and maps from the main lobby.