Ladew Topiary Gardens – Monkton, Maryland - Atlas Obscura

Ladew Topiary Gardens

Monkton, Maryland

This English-inspired Maryland garden is home to acres of opulent plant life including bushes shaped into an entire fox hunt. 


One of the most remarkable topiary gardens in America, the Ladew Topiary Gardens are remarkable not just for their beauty, but also for the delightfully English-inspired creations including an entire fox hunt recreated from shrubbery.

In fact it was fox hunting that inspired the creation of the gardens in the first place. The Ladew gardens and estate were established in the 1930s by wealthy eccentric Harvey S. Ladew. The rich huntsman was enamored with English culture and design, especially the tradition of fox-hunting. So great was his love of the pastime that when he went to create his grand estate, he made sure that it shared a border with a hunting club.

Ladew bought over 200 acres of land in 1929 and set out to turning them into the lush, elaborate topiary gardens that stand today. Again inspired by an English landscaping trend at the time, the garden was designed with 15 “rooms,” which are small areas devoted to a single color or theme such as roses, or simply, yellow. The grounds contain multiple fountains and pools, and are surrounded by shaped and trimmed hedge formations that look like something straight out of a lush castle yard.

Possibly the most telling and singular piece among the opulent garden is the shaped hunt, where bushy dogs chase a topiary fox across the grounds. Ladew’s house is also open to visitors who would like to know more about the interesting man’s life and travels.

Know Before You Go

Travel time to Ladew Gardens from:
Baltimore, MD - 30 minutes
Wilmington, DE - 1 hour
Washington D.C. - 1.5 hours
Philadelphia, PA - 1.5 hours
New York, NY - 3 hours
Annapolis, MD - 1.25 hours

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