Sherwood Gardens is one of the best known destinations in the Baltimore area for a pleasant spring stroll, a place to enjoy fall foliage, and a great place for a delicious summer picnic. The garden is one block east of the 4100 block of St. Paul Street, and is convenient to a number of downtown Baltimore neighborhoods. Located in the Guilford neighborhood, the gardens originally were part of the estate of A.S. Abell, founder of Baltimore's daily newspaper, The Baltimore Sun. The land on which the garden now lies was originally a pond. In 1912 when the property was developed for housing, the pond was filled in, allowing the rich, moist soil to later be used for gardens.
During the 1920's, the plot that was formally the pond was turned into a garden by John W. Sherwood. He was a local petroleum pioneer and conservationist and began the garden as a hobby. The tulips he planted in the garden were imported directly from the Netherlands, and as the garden has grown and become more popular, it has gained noteriety as the most famous tulip garden in North America.
At the time of Mr. Sherwood's death in 1965, he bequeathed enough money to the city of Baltimore for one full year of care and maintenance for his garden. After that, the Guilford Association took control of the gardens and have maintained the gardens ever since. On occasion, the City of Baltimore contributes money to the care and maintenance of the gardens, knowing their popularity and understanding the value the gardens add to the area.
Today the garden is home to approximately 80,000 tulip bulbs that are newly planted each spring. There are a variety of other spring bulbs included with the tulips, and the garden also features a variety of dogwood trees, flowering cherry trees, wisteria, and magnolia trees. There are also azalea bushes and Old English boxwood trees. The garden's bulbs are in full bloom from the end of April until the beginning of May. On the Saturday preceeding Memorial Day, the garden holds a tulip dig. As the blooms die off, visitors to the garden can dig up this season's bulbs and take them home for planting in their own gardens. Visitors pay for the bulbs and are required to bring shovels, spades, and bags to transport their bulbs. The following year, new bulbs are planted at Sherwood Gardens, allowing the plant, bloom, and dig cycle to happen again.
Throughout the summer, the garden remains in bloom through the Adopt-A-Plot program. Colorful annuals are planted by area residents who maintain their small plots of land. The park is open year round, and has no gates or fences restricting access to the area. Winter strolls down the snowy pathways may be chilly, but will offer lovely views of glistening trees and snow-covered fields. Admission to the park is completely free. The next time you are in the Guilford neighborhood, take a stroll through the six acre area known as Sherwood Gardens and enjoy the grandeur of nature in full, colorful bloom.