Adkins Arboretum, 12610 Eveland Road, Ridgely, (410) 634-2847, adkinsarboretum.org. On your next trip to the Eastern Shore, learn a little about our native plants at this garden and preserve boasting over 600 species on 400 acres. With four miles of paths to wander and cool streams, stretching your legs here beats any stop for fuel.
Brookside Gardens, 1800 Glenallan Ave., Wheaton, (301) 962-1400, montgomeryparks.org/brookside. Drive out to Montgomery County for Brookside Gardens' Aquatic, Azalea, Butterfly, Children's, Rose, Japanese Style, Trial, and Rain gardens, among others, plus the woodland walk and horticultural reference library located in the visitors center.
Chanticleer, 786 Church Road, Wayne, Pa., (610) 687-4163, chanticleergarden.org. Only 90 miles from Baltimore, this "pleasure garden" offers some pretty unique gardens, such as the Ruins and Gravel, based on the foundation of the original owner's home; the Teacup, which is described as organized chaos; and one grown where there once was a tennis court.
Cylburn Arboretum, 4915 Greenspring Ave., (410) 367-2217, cylburnassociation.org. An urban park featuring 207 lovely acres of varied woodlands, gardens, and lawns where you can book guided tours with one of the arboretum volunteers, rent out the floors of the Victorian mansion for special events, take a walk across a footbridge over the bog and see an artificial beaver dam, and touch things at the Nature Museum in the Carriage House.
howard peters rawlings Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Druid Hill Park, McCulloh Street and Gwynn Falls Parkway, (410) 396-0180, baltimoreconservatory.org. A gorgeous glass building built in 1888, this classic conservatory sitting among 35 flower beds features orchid walls, a turn-of-the-century palm room, and desert, Mediterranean, and tropical environments full of prickly, green, and lush plants, respectively.
Dumbarton Oaks, 32nd Street between S and R streets, Washington, (202) 339-6410, doaks.org. Libraries are good for the environment--borrow don't buy!--but Dumbarton Oaks' research library and collection goes deeper, "supporting scholarship internationally in Byzantine, Garden and Landscape, and Pre-Columbian studies." But if you just wanna play, check out the serene Lovers' Pool, the three outdoor rooms of the Kitchen Gardens, and dreamy Crabapple Hill.
Ladew Topiary Gardens, 3535 Jarrettsville Pike, Monkton, (410) 557-9466, ladewgardens.com. This place is magical: the grounds of a 18th-century manor house cultivated into 15 themed "outdoor rooms," a 1.5-mile nature walk, and stunning examples of the very English topiary arts--leafy plants cut and trained into ornamental shapes. Take a pleasant walk through the Rose and Water gardens, then swing through the gift shop for gardening paraphernalia.
Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pa., (610) 388-1000, ext. 100, longwoodgardens.org. With 1,050 acres of gardens, woodlands, and meadows, Longwood is flush with gorgeous color along the Flower Garden Walk, pretty scents from the Rose and Topiary gardens, and lush greenery in the outdoor water lily display with more than 100 types of water lilies and other aquatic plants all summer long.
812 Park Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21201