ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today announced the County’s first-ever destination Public Garden will be at the current Longwood property located in Glenwood. This Public Garden will offer visitors the opportunity to explore some of the most captivating plants in the world while enjoying nature. Photos of the event can be seen here.

Home to some of the most beautiful, engaging parks in our nation, we pride ourselves in Howard County on being environmental stewards geared towards protecting and promoting our environment. This destination Public Garden will be a place where residents and visitors of all ages and abilities can come together, embrace nature’s beauty and deepen their connections with Mother Earth, while improving their physical and mental well-being in a peaceful setting. I look forward to the creation of this garden and seeing it come to life, as we preserve this green space for generations to come.

Calvin Ball
Howard County Executive

During his State of the County 2023 address, Ball unveiled his concept of a Public Garden in Howard County. In his proposed Fiscal Year 2025 budget, Ball designated $400,000 towards the design of a Public Garden that features native and non-native plant species and mixes a variety of landscape design styles within formal and natural settings to create a rich and diverse way for visitors to interact with plants. Overseen by the County’s Department of Recreation & Parks, the Public Garden will also be a hub for lifelong learning, featuring interactive educational classes, camps, special events and gardening programs.

This garden will be a testament to Howard County's commitment to nature, to education and to creating beautiful, inspiring spaces. The County Executive has shared a grand vision, and I know that our dedicated focus group, filled with experts and passionate residents, is ready to bring that vision to life.

Nick Mooneyhan
Director, Department of Recreation & Parks

Additionally, all aspects of the garden, from design, creation and maintenance, will further the County’s environmental stewardship through sustainable practices and careful attention to landscape selections.

The creation of the garden will be overseen by the newly formed Public Garden Focus Group. Comprised of 14 members, the group consists of experts and resident volunteers who will make recommendations towards a preliminary concept plan with desired garden features, site elements and gathering spaces. Group members include:

  1. Meg Boyd, Director, Howard County Conservancy
  2. Bonnie Bricker, Resident 
  3. Dr. Chiara D’Amore, Executive Director, Community Ecology Institute
  4. Janssen Evelyn, Resident
  5. Peggy Hannon, Howard County Garden Club
  6. Deeba Jafri, Resident 
  7. Richard Jones, Horticulturalist – Campus Arborist, University of Maryland Arboretum & Botanical Garden
  8. Lisa Marini, Resident 
  9. Christine McComas, Resident 
  10. Liz O’Brien, Resident
  11. Stephanie Oberle, Director, Brookside Gardens
  12. Gregg Petersen, President, Howard County Bird Club
  13. Jay Polaki, Resident 
  14. Lauren Turner, Owner, Lauren’s Garden Service, LLC and Resident

Here is what some of the Public Garden Focus Group members had to say: 

“I am continuously inspired by the breadth and depth of positive impacts that come with time spent in gardens. In places around the world where people have the healthiest, longest lives, they garden. I am very excited by the prospect of a public garden in Howard County – a place of cross-pollination where everyone can learn about how essential it is for people and nature to thrive together,” said Dr. Chiara D’Amore, Executive Director, Community Ecology Institute.

“As someone whose life is influenced daily by public gardens, I am honored to be a part of this process,” said Richard Jones, Horticulturalist – Campus Arborist, University of Maryland Arboretum & Botanical Garden. 

“I learned about this quote by Baba Dioum, in high school, when conservation became important to me. ‘In the end, we only conserve what we love, we only love what we understand and we only understand what we are taught,’” said Lauren Turner, Owner, Lauren’s Garden Service, LLC and resident.

“Conservation through shared public access land is always a gift for the future, and its benefit cannot be measured in dollars,” said Peggy Hannon, Howard County Garden Club.

The Focus Group’s recommendation towards the garden’s preliminary concept plan is due to the County Executive and the Department of Recreation & Parks by November 1, 2024.

Media Contacts
Safa Hira, Director of Communications

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