Caleb's getting plenty of fresh air and sunshine during his visit to Baltimore. Not to worry – I'm making sure he has a good sunscreen on since he didn't bring any other clothes. We don't get many perfect spring days in Baltimore, but the other day was sunny, breezy, and in the low 70's. Just right for another jaunt with my visitor. We took advantage of the great weather to visit Sherwood Gardens where the azaleas and tulips were glorious!
The gardens were begun in 1927 by John Sherwood, a local petroleum pioneer and conservationist. What started as a hobby has become one of the most famous tulip gardens in North America. Originally on private land, the gardens are now owned and maintained by the Guilford Association, a neighborhood association in that region of Baltimore City. Caleb said he liked the nearby homes of Guilford, but they were a bit formal for his taste.
Some 80,000 tulip bulbs are planted each fall along with other spring flowering bulbs. They bloom in April and May when the gardens are at their most spectacular with dogwoods, wisteria, magnolias, and brilliant azaleas. Many of the plants have been here for decades, and some date back as far as the 18th century. The tulips are the stars, though, and are planted throughout much of the six acres of Sherwood Gardens. When the season is over, the bulbs are dug up and sold to garden lovers for 25 cents each on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.
This year the Gardens aren't as spectacular as usual. By some accounts, 25 to 30 percent of the tulips planted last year did not come up. Some beds are completely bare, while others are as abundant as always. It's a mystery they're trying to unravel, but the leading theory is the weather. We had a long, wet fall and a warm winter followed by alternating bitter cold and unseasonably warm days. In Baltimore, Christmas day was warmer than Easter when it snowed! But even with the occasional bare spot, Sherwood Gardens is still beautiful.
One of the best things about Sherwood Gardens is that it is completely open to the public. There are no gates or fences, and no admission charge. As Caleb saw, there is no better place for a stroll – or a bit of tree climbing - on a bright spring day in Baltimore.