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, email@example.com