Tulip Delight at Baltimore’s Sherwood Garden

Our original plan last Saturday was to drive with our friend Carol from her house in Maryland to Longwood Gardens. But then I remembered that this required a four hour round trip. As much as I wanted to see Longwood, having just driven from Springfield to Chicago and then flown to Baltimore, a four hour drive was distinctly unappealing.

And so I searched on the internet for gardens in Baltimore. What I found was Sherwood Gardens, a six acre park near the campus of The Johns Hopkins University and less than an hour away.Β The fact that every year 80,000 Tulips are planted at Sherwood clinched the deal.


Note: when visiting Baltimore, do not say (as I did) John Hopkins University, or even Johns Hopkins University. It’s The Johns Hopkins University, thank you very much. To say anything else is to invite scorn from the natives.

Anyway, Sherwood Gardens is a very traditional sort of park: flowing lawns graced with shade trees, shrubs, and beds of flowers (most notably Tulips, in April and May).


It’s a very popular sort of place. On the Sunday we visited it was full of people strolling, picnicking, and playing with their kids. Oh, and photographing each other, especially parents photographing their kids. The people-watching was as good as the tulip-gazing.


A map was available that indicated the names of the tulips. The one above is ‘Alibi’. This year they’ve had a warm spring in Baltimore. Many of the early tulips were already done blooming, and quite a few others were close to losing their tepals.


This one is ‘Parade’, I think, a Darwin Hybrid.


Blooming Azaleas complemented the Tulips nicely.


This white Tulip is ‘Pays Bas’.


The dark purple Tulip is ‘Saigon’.


At the end of the Tulip season, the public is invited to bring their trowels and buckets and dig out all the tulips. They can take them home for 30 cents per bulb. This year’s Tulip Dig, if you’re interested, is May 28 from 7 t0 11 AM.


The orangey Tulip is ‘Teletubby’. Kind of an unfortunate name, though years ago I spent many hours watching children’s television. Why not ‘Mr. Rogers’, or even ‘Ernie’?


I always loved how the Tulip tepals can catch the sunlight.


Here ‘Saigon’ is mixed with ‘Flaming Flag’. Both are Triumph Tulips.


After giving all the Tulip beds a close examination, it was time for a picnic. While we were eating a group of twentysomethings nearby started playing bocce ball, which provided some entertainment.

When the Tulips are done blooming, the beds are filled with annual flowers. Like I said, it’s a traditional sort of park.

In any case, Sherwood Gardens made for a satisfying garden visit on a Sunday in late April.

49 Comments on “Tulip Delight at Baltimore’s Sherwood Garden

  1. Seems like a perfect park for someone who is just slightly tulip-obsessed πŸ™‚ I love the idea that the public can come and dig some bulbs for their own gardens.

  2. Traditional can be beautiful, as this post’s pictures indicate. That picnic looks delicious.

  3. I’m 20 mins from John Hopkins n oops I say it w/o the The. I have never been and will be going on the next beautiful day. And most deffently be digging up some of those pays bas. Thank you for posting

  4. I would not have been up for a long drive either, after so much traveling. You found a lovely park to share with us. I like traditional very much. It’s cool that they share the tulips for so little.

  5. A lovely display, and the idea of letting people dig them up is ingenious… I have often wondered what happens to all those plants in annual displays when their time is up and this is an excellent alternative to chucking them out. I recently saw a report about a tulip festival somewhere in England, (10,000 tulips!), and afterwards they are all dug up and donated to hospital gardens or old folks homes. πŸ™‚

  6. What a beautiful park, gorgeous tulip beds, and a delicious looking lunch. You guys sure know how to have a day out in nature. πŸ™‚ Love the idea of the tulip dig. It sure makes a lot of sense. πŸ™‚

  7. Very nice ! Tulips are finished here. They were great while they lasted. (We’ve had an unusually warm, dry early Spring too. Plenty of days already in the 80s, including today – forecast high 85. :O

  8. You have managed to make me envious of all of these tulips and hungry. Both look great. ha… One reason I don’t have more tulips, other than my laziness, is that in my mind these big masses of tulips are the way to plant them. They make a statement this way. When I put dribs and dabs around the garden I am not satisfied. Your picnic looks so darned yummmy. I am glad you had some relaxed entertaining moments.

  9. Wow, you found a great substitute destination. Lovely. I recommend Ladew Topiary Gardens next time you’re in the area.

  10. Sherwood Gardens looks like a delightful place to spend a Sunday afternoon. The drifts of tulips fit with the traditional park, followed by annuals and a great idea to invite the public to come dig.

  11. What a beautiful park, the tulips look gorgeous….what a great place for families to enjoy. I always gravitate to parks whenever we travel, such a relief from cities.

  12. How ingenious that people have to pay to do all the work to remove the tulips! My husband is a Balto native and we’ve always referred to Johns Hopkins as simply Johns Hopkins, no The or University included. Sometimes, just to be low-rent, we call it Hopkins. πŸ˜‰

  13. A lovely park with stunning tulips. That is the way to grow them , en masse in wonderfully colourful blocks. A bit cheeky to charge people to dig them up, over here they are usually given away.

  14. I recently visited a park that had a massive azalea collection. There too it was packed full of people photographing kids, a wedding, sweet 16 photos. I think it is really smart to charge the public to do the work. I suppose it funds part of next year’s purchases. I think tulips are appealing in large swaths. I find that they are a lot of work for a short bloom time in my garden. It is far to hot for them to look good for any length of time. Lovely visit!

    • I think you are right that each year’s tulips pay for the next, at least in part. Tulips do tend to provoke a mania in certain people, and I must admit to being one of them.

  15. How lovely to find such a relaxed and beautiful space to spend time with your friends. Inviting visitors to dig up the bulbs when they’re done is such a good idea. I do love large drifts of tulips but I think I prefer lots of varieties mixed up together. Hope your garden has been ok while you were away πŸ™‚

    • I think masses of one variety and masses of mixed tulips can both be beautiful. I like mixes that contain different shades of the same color,

  16. What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday. The park is beautiful and how nice that they have a Tulip Dig.

  17. Oh what a treat! I wish I could go to the ‘tulip dig’ in May. Your pictures may have forced me to book a 2017 trip to Keukenhof (which I’ve resisted to date).

  18. Thank you for this great information. I live only 2-3 hours away from Baltimore and I don’t know about this place. I only wish I could go and dig up some tulips. They are so absolutely gorgeous. How do they manage to plant so many? I guess they have scores of gardeners who go on their knee and plant them. What amazing sights. Thanks for sharing.

  19. I’m embarrassed that I lived an hour away from Baltimore for 25 years and never heard of this garden. I find the Tulip Dig a charming way to get work done while encouraging gardening.

  20. Don’t those tulips go beautifully with the Azaleas? I loved Saigon, gorgeous. What a good idea inviting the public to dig up the tulips! A picnic is the perfect way to end a lovely afternoon.xxx

  21. You made a great choice. What glorious streams of tulips 🌷. And I love the idea of getting the public to dig up the year’s spent tulips in exchange for low prices to keep them. Wins all round!

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