May Field Trip to Cunningham Manor Gardens

Our May meeting involved a fieldtrip to Cunningham Manor in Towson, an estate belonging to David Smith of the Sinclair Broadcast Group. Our hostess was Jodi Cantler, the garden manager who took on on a tour of the 30 acre garden (part of a 200 acre estate) surrounding the stone manor house. The owners fell in love with the “painterly” English garden style with “garden rooms” as espoused by Gertrude Jekyll and wanted to recreate the feel of being on an English manor.

The garden has a central axis flanked by pergolas draped with climbing roses and vines and is terraced beginning with the wide lawn overlook from the rear of the manor and three stairs:  a central stone stair plus curving stone stairs leading from left and right of the upper (croquet) lawn.

Stairs on left side

There were varied shrubs and small ornamental trees placed along the inside of the garden wall surrounding the terraces. Near the pergolas were large beds with emerging perennials and annuals, some of which were in bloom.

Rhododendrons in bloom by walls.

View of the mansion


There is a second step down with a formal rose garden with benches and ornamental container gardens to either side of the central grassy walk. We were not visiting during the major rose flush which was expected later in the month.


At the bottom of the terrace was a greenhouse and a cottage-office used by the garden management. Jodi said that they both grow some  and purchase many of their young plants from particular companies to set out for the seasonal show.

We would love to use a place like this ourselves!

We then followed a garden path outside the wall with woods to our left which opened to rolling lawn dotted with trees and visited the orchid house which had some interesting species in bloom.

This ended the tour and we concluded by lunching at Oregon Grill which had yummy food.  We cast our votes for the incoming administration to be inducted at the June meeting at the Carroll County Farm Museum.

Jockey’s at entry to Oregon Grill.

Afterwards, a few of us visited Valley View Farms and made some plant purchases.

Stopped at Valley View Farms