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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



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