Fullscreen background image

Whipps Garden Cemetery

Whipps Gar­den Ceme­tery in Elli­cott City is a pub­lic, one-acre wooded garden-park, open dawn to dusk every day year round for vis­it­ing and for teach­ing envi­ron­men­tally sound gar­den­ing prac­tices and the use of native plants to sus­tain biodiversity.

Begun as a fam­ily grave­yard in 1855 for the Whipps fam­ily of Howard County, the site became a pub­lic ceme­tery before it fell into dis­re­pair and was aban­doned as a bur­ial ground in the early 1900’s. It was restored begin­ning in 1987, first by the St. John’s Com­mu­nity Asso­ci­a­tion and more recently by the Mas­ter Gar­den­ers of Howard County who now main­tain the her­itage park where his­tory and hor­ti­cul­ture inter­twine. The prin­ci­pal “adap­tive use” for the gar­den ceme­tery today is to teach and demon­strate envi­ron­men­tal sustainability.

Goals of the gar­den also include increas­ing cit­i­zen aware­ness of water qual­ity in lakes, rivers and streams and chang­ing com­mu­nity prac­tices which may adversely affect over­all water qual­ity. Through their 2009 Howard County Water­shed Enhance­ment Grant, Mas­ter Gar­den­ers improved the ripar­ian buffer at the ceme­tery, near a stream drain­ing into the Pat­ap­sco River, with many native trees and shrubs planted as a demon­stra­tion project. All county res­i­dents are invited to visit the cemetery-park and view the ripar­ian buffer of native plants.


Mas­ter Gar­den­ers main­tain a num­ber of gar­den areas, includ­ing a rose gar­den, but­ter­fly gar­den, and herb gar­den fea­tur­ing herbs grown in local gar­dens of the 1800’s. There is a per­ma­nent com­post­ing site at the ceme­tery and walk­ing trails through­out. All native trees and shrubs are labeled. Work days for Mas­ter Gar­den­ers are Thurs­day from 9–12 in good weather, March through mid-November.


• Help design and main­tain gar­den areas.
• Weed and re-mulch path­ways as needed.
• Write edu­ca­tional take-away mate­ri­als; keep an ade­quate sup­ply in the infor­ma­tion boxes on site, mak­ing the park “inter­ac­tive” with vis­i­tors.
• Give hor­ti­cul­tural pre­sen­ta­tions in the park’s “wood­land the­ater.”
• Con­duct tours for stu­dents, gar­den clubs, and others.


Aleta Grav­elle, 410−465−2398, agravelle@verizon.net



Green Tip

Hi, I’m Howard and I’m here to provide you with green tips. Look for me throughout the site and check out my cool interactive games at the Kids Zone.