Travel to Maryland, and you can usually expect to do a few things: Eat hard shell crabs, walk the Ocean City boardwalk and tour some of the historic Civil War-era towns. But if it’s a garden you seek, you'll find that Maryland has nearly two dozen public gardens to explore, packed into its 12,000 square miles.
A complete tour of Maryland’s most famous blooming gardens can be an adventure. Here are a few of the state’s not-to-be-missed spots, and where to stay when you visit:
- Ladew Topiary Gardens, once the 18th-century home and property of dignitary Harvey Smith Ladew II, welcomes guests to tour the 250-acre property and Manor House. Ladew features two cross axes, with 15 themed outdoor “rooms” off of each. The Gardens host about 30 events annually, including Steeplechase Races and a Summer Concert Series. STAY: Just a 20-minute drive from the gardens, Gramercy Mansion is an elegant bed and breakfast with whirlpool tubs and fireplaces in the rooms. Extensively landscaped gardens surround the mansion.
- Adkins Arboretum is the only public garden that focuses on native mid-Atlantic plants, and is home to more than 600 species of native trees, wildflowers and grasses. STAY: The Inn at 202 Dover, built in 1874, boasts four suites and one luxury en suite bedroom, each themed. Victorian-era gardens surround the mansion.
- Just outside of Washington, D.C., Brookside Gardens is a 50-acre collection of formal, azalea, rose, fragrance and Japanese-style gardens. A series of distinct “rooms” include perennial and yew gardens, and a maple terrace. STAY: A four-star National Award Winner, the Inn at Buckeystown is located on two-and-a-half acres of lawns and gardens, and offers five guest rooms with private baths.
- The garden at Sotterley Plantation, on the banks of the Patuxent River in Maryland, was designed in 1910, but recreated from an 18th-century garden. It includes a vegetable and herb garden, fruit and nut trees and flowering plants. STAY: Choose from four stunning rooms overlooking the St. Mary’s River at the Brome-Howard Inn. Built in 1840, this plantation home boasts formal gardens and hiking trails on its secluded 30-acres. Guests are encouraged to snip chamomile or lavender from the herb garden to add to their tea or bath.
- Outdoor museum-quality artwork — some of it on loan from the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. — are an integral part to the Annmarie Garden Sculpture Park and Art Center on Solomon’s Island. Tours are available through the 30-acre site, and Annemarie has more than 500 shrubs of hybrid azaleas. STAY: Head to Solomon’s Victorian Inn and take in harbor views from your room, wine in the garden and breakfast at one of the best spots in town. The quaint town of Solomon’s is outside your doorstep, and offers more chances to explore the area.
Maryland is home to so many more great gardens, with frequent garden and flower festivals held throughout the year. For more information, go to visitmaryland.org.