Grape Hyacinth - Foreground Focus - Cylburn Arboretum

A 10-minute hop, skip and jump from Baltimore, nestled in the Inner Harbor, Clyburn Arboretum is a must-see Oriole City attraction. Resplendent in any season, Cylburn is glowing and gorgeous in the summer, shows off some more frosted hues in the winter, and displays blazing oranges, reds, greens and yellows in the spring and fall. There is also a veritable rainbow of other pastels and colors to see anytime of year in its 23 formal gardens and countless tree collections. The entire grounds, arboretum, greenhouses and mansion included, were recently reopened with many improvements. Cylburn exhibits a beautiful new visitor center with floor to ceiling windows, fully accessible asphalt paved garden trails and a ton of trees and gardens, most with woodland style paths. There is even a quaint 1860’s mansion that’s been extremely well preserved. The general consensus among visitors and locals is: if you enjoy nature, the Baltimore area Arboretum and Gardens are well worth seeing.Cylburn is, overall, a 207-acre urban park administered by the Horticultural Division of the Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks. As previously mentioned, it is located within the city limits, but it ensues the feeling of a grand estate set in a rolling lush countryside. The collections of Japanese Maples, hollies, conifers, Maryland oaks (begun on Arbor Day 1983) beeches, tree peonies and magnolias envelop you; and spacious, manicured green lawns and gardens surround a stunning Victorian Mansion in the background. Trails wind through the woodlands, where rare trees, native plants and wildflowers may be studied.The Cylburn Arboretum is a lovely place. The nature trails lead you through beautiful scenery; each trail is extremely well kept (and mulched) so it’s nearly impossible to get lost! In addition, the trails are in a loop so you begin and end at the same place, the mansion, so you always know where you are. The layout was keenly idealized to take you through every aspect of the park.

Educational programming at Cylburn is pretty impressive too; it provides opportunities for anyone of any age to learn about our natural environment through horticulture and environmental education programs. Classes range from Wildflower lectures, trail walks, and guided tours to Nature Storytime and “Soup and Walks.” There is also a Nature Museum; the Nature Museum is part of Carriage House and combines exhibits from the Bird Museum and the Nature Museum into an accessible hands-on learning environment. The Nature Museum contains a collection of Maryland birds, most of which are mounted in habitat arrangements, and collections of bird eggs from the late 1800’s, butterflies and moths, rocks and minerals, fossils and seashells, games, and habitat dioramas. Visitors are invited and encouraged to touch many of the items.

Next time you’re out visiting Cylburn, be sure you have the following list: Seven Heavenly Attractions at Cylburn. Use it as a small guide of things and exhibits to see why you’re there, or use it as an adjunct to any other information you receive on-site.

1. The Trails

Two-and-a-half miles of trails wind through the woodlands, where native plants and wildflowers may be studied. As an environmental conservation area, Cylburn’s woodland trees, shrubs and native herbaceous plants are protected in their natural habitat. Cylburn’s woods have been home for generations and generations of wildlife and for native and migrating birds. Birds and wildlife may be observed in this natural habitat. Cylburn offers beauty and serenity to her human visitors in an ever-changing seasonal setting.

2. The Tree Collections

The Arboretum has an extensive and constantly expanding collection of trees and shrubs. These include groves of Azaleas, Bamboo, Boxwoods, flowering shrubs, dwarf flowering shrubs, magnolias and many more, plus individual specimens of other species. Some of the trees planted by the original owners still stand on the lawns!

3. The Daylily Garden

The Cylburn Daylily Display Garden is recognized as an American Hemerocallis Society Display Garden. There are over 150 cultivars represented at Cylburn. The Garden is host to multiple summer events including The Daylily Dig and a series of seminars, “In the Daylily Garden,” where Representatives of the Freestate Daylily Society converse the ins and outs of cultivating these beautiful specimens, how to care for them, and much more.

4. The Mansion

The Mansion is a luxurious post-Civil War dwelling, built of gneiss from founder Jesse Tyson’s quarries in another part of Maryland, with a mansard roof, a tower and a cupola of Italianate design. Its fireplaces, inlaid floors, mosaics, tapestries and ornate plasterwork have been preserved. The Mansion houses the famous Wildflower art collection and many holds many special events.

5. “Soup N’ Walks”

Famous with locals and vegetarians, these legendary events allow visitors to discover the gardens and woodland trails at Cylburn by joining a Cylburn naturalist for a guided walk and a soup and salad prepared by the restaurant. The walks focus on Cylburn’s native plants and trees, as well as plants found in the beautiful display gardens. The soup and salad are reflective of the season and walk. A representative from the restaurant discusses the soup making process, the health and nutritional; benefits, and the source of the natural ingredients. Experience Cylburn as summer blends into late fall by signing up for one of these unique Soup N’ Walk programs. Where else can you find asters, goldenrods and soup?

6. Formal Garden

Renovated in Victorian style, the Formal Garden is just east of the Mansion; this garden is alive with color in all seasons. The Formal Garden is one of the most popular sites in Baltimore for weddings and parties or special events.

7. The Garden of the Senses

The Garden of the Senses features plants, flowers, wildflowers, shrubs, trees and flowering plants…all as tall as your waist! This allows any physically challenged visitor to feel and smell the plants easily. This garden is quite an experience for those not physically challenged as well; it feels as if you’re in Alice in Wonderland!

A true oasis in the city Cylburn and its Mansion are located just off Interstate 83 not far from downtown; however, the pastoral atmosphere makes you feel like you’ve taken a vacation to the country. Cylburn, according to one visitor, really is amazing and is definitely one of Baltimore’s most impressive and well-kept secrets. Popular with the visitors, as you can guess, Cylburn is one awesome place for the family, the kids, for lovers or for anyone. Whether you have a whole day there or a few hours one afternoon, don’t forget to get admissions information and visitor hours. For more information, visit Cylburn at 4915 Greenspring Avenue in Baltimore or call 410.367.2217.

Cylburn Arboretum
4915 Greenspring Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21209

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