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Ladew Topiary Gardens, Monkton

#12 of 96 in Historic Sites in Maryland
Must see · Garden · Historic Site
Ladew Topiary Gardens (22 acres (8.9 ha)) are nonprofit gardens with topiary located in Monkton, Maryland. The gardens were established in the 1930s by socialite and huntsman Harvey S. Ladew (1887–1976), who in 1929 had bought a 250-acre (100 ha) farm to build his estate. The house and gardens are open April through October, weekdays and weekends; an admission fee is charged.

The grounds contain 15 garden rooms, each devoted to a single color, plant or theme, arranged around two cross axes with vistas. The axes meet in an oval swimming pool. The garden is particularly noted for its topiary, which was strongly influenced by Ladew's extensive travel in England, where he frequently went fox hunting. Ladew designed topiaries depicting a fox hunt with horses, riders, dogs, and fox clearing a hedge, a Chinese junk with sails, swans, and a giraffe, among others. It was proclaimed an "exquisite garden estate" by The New York Times. The Garden Club of America has described it as "the most outstanding topiary garden in America." The grounds also contain a 1.5-mile (2.4 km) nature walk.

The house was built in stages, starting in the late 18th century, with a mid-19th century addition and other additions in the 20th century. The oval library is particularly noteworthy, and has been called "one of the 100 most beautiful rooms in America". Both the grounds and house, which contains a good collection of antique English furniture, opened to the public in 1971.

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Ladew Topiary Gardens reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
245 reviews
  • Visited late June 2021. So nice to be out on a beautiful day. The gardens were beautiful. There are more water features than I recalled from a previous visit. Iris garden was a highlight. Several...  more »
  • My granddaugher, daughter-in-law and I had a girls' day out and decided to visit Ladew Gardens. The place is huge and we were able to enjoy lots of topiaries, sculptures, plants and trees. There...  more »
  • It's a beautiful place do get me wrong if ratings went off of a beauty this would have a 5 star. I'm eating 5 star because of the prices. I get it it takes a lot to manage something like that, but we asked for a regular turkey sandwich with just 2 slices of bacon and they said it would be 16 dollars...that's just a little too much for my tastes. A bit overkill to he honest. Plus the admissions was high too I think. It's a beautiful place looks like it would be great for weddings or parties but the prices are insane.
  • We went and toured just the gardens and the butterfly house. The topiary and formal gardens were beautiful. I imagine it would be spectacular in early summer. The butterfly house was small but had a lot of things to look for. The volunteers were very helpful spotting caterpillars and chrysalis. Great for families but there are steps so strollers might be a challenge.

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