Summer Concert Series, Ladew Gardens, 3535 Jarrettsville Pike, Monkton, (410) 557-9466, www.LadewGardens.com, $12 children $3. This botanical wonderland is running a summer concert series in the Great Bowl garden. Belly up to the stage with a blanket or lawn chair and make like Yogi Bear with a basket of picnic. Refreshments will be for sale because nothing makes cover bands more fun than a nice buzz. The Crawdaddies play June 17, Automatic Slim June 24, Trinidad and Tobago Steel Drums July 8, Smooth Kentucky July 15, the Jody West Band July 22, the Beach Bums Aug. 5, Mambo Combo Aug. 12, and Spiral Aug. 19.
Wings of Fancy,10 a.m.-4 p.m. through Sept. 16, Brookside Gardens South Conservatory, 1800 Glenallan Ave., Wheaton, (301) 962-1467, www.brooksidegardens.org, $5, children $4. Hang out in a conservatory filled with tropical flowering plants while butterflies flutter by and hopefully land on you-that's gotta be good luck, right? No need to try to smuggle one or two out, because the informative staff is going to teach you how to plant a garden at home to attract your very own.
Fireworks and Fountains, 9:15-9:45 p.m. May 27, July 3 and 21, and Sept. 2, Longwood Gardens, 1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square, Pa., (610) 388-1000, www.longwoodgardens.com, $14-$30. The ticket price includes parking and garden admission, so start with a walk through the most amazing river of flowers ever. Then enjoy an all-American summer traditional meal of burgers, baked beans, and corn on the cob (with chili lime butter). Then it's the main event, explosive fireworks and colorful fountains light up the sky and do the freak to a variety of music. The first and last shows on the list sound really cool: "A Night at the Movies," with your favorite music from the silver screen.
Hatha Yoga in the Garden , 9-10 a.m. May 30 , Ladew Gardens, 3535 Jarrettsville Pike, Monkton, (410)557-9570, www.LadewGardens.com. As if these 22 acres of lilacs, peonies, and irises isn't Zen enough, you can work your body out with hatha yoga instructor Wendy Cohen. It's a bonus hot class if the weather permits.
Something Old is New Again, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. June 9, 1-4 p.m. June 10, corner of Park Avenue and Reservoir Street, (410) 902-8252, www.reservoirhill.net, $10. Tour 16 houses and 26 gardens that will make you green with envy and hopefully inspire you to improve your own home and garden. Talk shop with friendly neighbors over refreshments and live acoustic music. This is a nice way to celebrate how pleasant city life can be.
The Centre Park Garden Tour, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. June 23, Centre Park, 700 Centre Ave., Reading, Pa. (610) 375-7860, www.centrepark.org. $5-$10. The gardens of Centre Park are some of Reading's best keep secrets and it's high time we find out why. The park is comprised of 840 properties of Victorian and early 20th-century architecture-soooo beautiful. Come let the secret out with vendors, artists, food, and demonstrations by master gardeners. Plus there's a scavenger hunt you can help your kids win.
Brookside Gardens 1800 Glenallan Ave., Wheaton, (301)962-1400, www.brooksidegardens.org. Every good garden has the usual roses, azaleas, and maples, and this one does, too. Plus, Brookside boasts a Japanese-style garden, a fragrance garden, and "high quality visitor services." Stick around till the twilight hour for musical evenings in the Gude Garden: The RTTs play June 5, the Moonlighters June 12, Latin Soul June 19, and Olney Big Band June 26.
Dumbarton Oaks, 1703 32nd St. NW, Washington, (202) 339-6401, www.doaks.org/Gardens.html, $7, seniors and kids $5. Beatrix Farrand started her renovations on a property that was rather neglected, in 1920. Farrand had quite a resume, having worked for John Rockefeller, Jr. and designing the grounds of Yale University. It'll be difficult to take your eyes off of the beautiful day lilies, fuchsia, and grandiflora magnolias, however the stonework is worth a glance, also: the stone is from various quarries in Maryland, Mexico, and as far away as Italy. City Paper sizzlin' hot tip: The gardens are closed on Mondays.
Chanticleer, 786 Church Road, Wayne, Pa., (610) 687-4163, www.chanticleergarden.org, $5, under 16 free. This garden is a popular one, and occasionally filled to capacity. This doesn't mean you should consider skipping a visit-quite the contrary, it's a must see. The teacup garden has a neat little wooden-surprise-teacup. The Ruin Garden is far from said name. The Cut Flower is just a figure of speech, don't even think about it. And the absolute show stopper is the most astonishing stone furniture. It truly looks like a sofa with six cushions and two lazy boys.
Cylburn Arboretum, 4915 Greenspring Ave., (410) 367-2217, www.cylburnassociation.org, free. The surrounding counties aren't the only ones with pretty gardens, you know. A driveway lined in daffodils is the welcome you receive from Cylburn. A 200-acre city park shaped like Maryland with a Victorian mansion smack dab in the middle, Cylburn is a celebrated open space scattered with a variety of themed gardens. More than a few of the gardens feature names, so it should be fun learning who all the shout-outs are for.
The Howard "Pete" Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens, 3100 Swan Drive, (410) 396-0180, free but donations welcome. This Baltimore Conservatory dates back to 1888 and has even found its way into the encyclopedia. This baby is a diamond in the rough, located as it is in the middle of Druid Hill Park, the first and largest municipal park of Baltimore City. In addition to 35 flower beds that provide color from early spring to late fall, three major flower displays are planned during the year. Check out the Fiji Palm in the Palm House, it is the magic-eye picture of the plant world.
Ladew Gardens, 3535 Jarrettsville Pike, Monkton, (410) 557-9466, www.LadewGardens.com, $10, children $2. In 1937, Harvey Smith Ladew II was the original Edward Scissorhands of shrubs, recreating the gardens he visited in England and Italy that brought him much joy. Visit his 250-acre property with 15 themed garden "rooms." Picnic baskets welcome.
Longwood Gardens, 1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square, Pa., (610) 388-1000, www.longwoodgardens.org, $2-$14. Holy shit, 11,000 different types of plants! This is the most spectacular, living kaleidoscope of color we have ever seen. There is a flowering agave plant (tequila anyone?), whose spike is growing 5 to 6 inches a day and will eventually shoot through the greenhouse roof. This place is off the hook, and that's just what we saw on the web site. City Paper sizzlin' hot tip: Tuesdays are only $10.
Mount Assisi Monastery Sunken Gardens, Loretto, Pa., (814) 472-8971. This beauteous spot is perhaps a mile or 30 out of your way, but what can we say? Could we tempt you with a cascading waterfall, or maybe rock gardens are your thing? How about a shrine of Michael the Archangel and a reflection pond? Wait, we know what you like-you're a huge fan of symmetrical landscaping. Anyhoo, this place has all that and then some.
Prabhupada's Palace of Gold, Road 1 NBU# 24, Moundsville, W. Va., (304) 843-1812, www.palaceofgold.com, $6, kids $3. Built by a young devotee for his master, using only Taj Mahal for Dummies guidebooks, this palace is too hard to handle. This kid's Lord musta been some mofo because 22-carat gold leaf covers 8,000 square feet. Shante, shante. My dear, you had us at gold.
Winterthur Country Estate, Route 52, Winterthur, Del., (800) 448-3883, www.winterthur.org, $5-$28. Let your kids don their finest fairy tutus and elf shoes, cause you're headed to an enchanted forest. Give them a map and set them free to follow the s-s-s-serpentine path to the tulip tree house, troll bridge, and green man's lair. That's just kid's stuff; your adult senses will be delighted, too. Take a garden tram through 60 acres of rolling meadows and flowers arranged in lyrical color combinations orchestrating a succession of bloom. Encore, encore.
812 Park Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21201