The Ladew Topiary Garden in Monkton, Maryland owes its history and heritage to a man named Harvey S. Ladew. He was a traveler, artist, foxhunter, and colorful figure in American cultural history. Ladew created the topiary gardens and had a desire later in his life to preserve his work for everyone to enjoy. The garden's mission is "to maintain and promote the gardens, house and facilities in keeping with the creative spirit of Harvey S. Ladew for the public benefit and for educational, scientific and cultural pursuits.'' The gardens have been open to the public since 1971, and the Board of Trustees hosts a variety of events in order to help with the upkeep and maintenance of the gardens. There are 30 events annually including My Lady's Steeplechase Races, Children's Day, and a Summer Concert Series.
Ladew based his garden design on various styles he saw in England and Italy. The year was 1937 and he had recently finished his work on his home and had a desire to move outdoors and create an artistic, peaceful outdoor retreat. He designed the garden to have two cross axes with garden rooms at the end of each axes. The denter of the structure, where the crosses meet, is the site of Ladew's swimming pool. Each of the garden rooms is devoted to a single color, plant, or theme. This was one of the garden traditions he brought from Englad and he was among the first Americans to plan a garden in this manner. In the 1920's when he discovered the art of topiary, he decided to recreate the look in his own garden. Strolling through the garden will amaze visitors with the exact effort of his topiary design.
Ladew Gardens is a popular location for events and weddings. The Cafy and Cafew Courtyard are available for evening receptions. Those with a desire to hold their ceremony at the gardens can do so in the wildflower meadow. There is a maximu of 175 guests. Group tours of the gardens are available. Private tours are held April through October and require groups of fifteen or more. There are discounts available for tours scheduled for the months of July and August. Make your reservations early if you are planning to visit in the spring because May and June fill up fast. Tour guests can also schedule a luncheon in the gardens.
Tours are available of the Ladew home, which is filled with paintings, antiques, photographs, sketches, and fox hunting memorabilia. The house and the gardens are on the National Register of Historic Places. It took over three centuries to construct the Manor House, and was purchased from the Scarff famly by Ladew in 1929. The home is located on 250 acres of property. Ladew added to the original structure of the home, and one of the added rooms is the Oval Library, which features a secret door.
Guests can enjoy a one and a half mile nature walk through the woods and property of the Ladew Topiary Garden, which is an elegant and educational experience.