What's in bloom at Baltimore-area gardens and conservatories right now?

Winter seemed that it would never end, but spring has made its presence known in Baltimore. Gardens around the area like the Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory & Botanic Gardens, Cylburn Arboretum, and Ladew Topiary Gardens are seeing some plants and flowers already in bloom, with some that will peak as early as this weekend.

"It's incredible the number of things blooming right now. It's a really good time," said Kate Blom, supervisor of the Rawlings conservatory and gardens. She expects many of the flowers and plants that haven't already bloomed to peak within the next couple of weeks.


Sarah Oktavec, the lead gardener at Ladew Topiary Gardens, agreed, though she emphasized that "everything is a guess" when it comes to plants and flowers — much of it dependent on the environment. But with the warmer weather expected later this week, things look promising, she said.

"Everything is starting to go at once, which is benefit of having a cold spring in April. … The garden wakes up all at once instead of stages," she said.

"If you can get through that cold April, then it's a great May."

Here's a list of the flowers and plants that are in bloom or expected to peak this weekend at various gardens and conservatories in the area:

Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory & Botanic Gardens

Blom, the conservatory supervisor, said the botanic garden's plants are in different stages of blooming, but "something is always blooming and peaking here," she said, so a weekend visit is encouraged.

"They are pretty much on time and on schedule," she said of the plants, which are housed indoors, meaning they're more affected by the changes in daylight throughout the seasons than by the actual temperatures.

"The plants definitely feel the turn of the earth, the change of the seasons, but we see those changes much earlier in the year than you would outside," she wrote in an email. "As soon as the winter solstice in December passes, we begin to see signs of the changing season, because the days are getting longer."

Check out the conservatory's different gardens listed below for a wide range viewing of different flowers and plants in peak bloom.


Tropical House:

  • Banana flowers with young fruit
  • Bromeliad
  • Cannas
  • Carnivorous plants
  • Epiphyllum will peak during Mother’s Day weekend
  • Gardenia
  • Ginger
  • Heliconia, or bird-of-paradise
  • Jasmine

The welcoming evergreens and flowers in the front, the backyard pool enveloped in gardens, the views of the lush landscape — that’s not how the grounds looked when Bruce and Polly Behrens bought their Ruxton home in 2001.

Orchid House:

  • Bromeliads
  • Cymbidium
  • Lady slipper
  • Moth orchid

Desert House:

  • Aloes

Palm House:

  • Coconut fruit
  • Ginger

Mediterranean House:

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    Citrus flowers and fruit trees

Citrus flowers and fruit trees


Citrus flowers and fruit trees

Citrus flowers and fruit trees

Cylburn Arboretum

At the Cylburn Arboretum, volunteer Nancy Blois said the following flowers are in bloom:

  • Azaleas
  • Crab apples
  • Daffodils
  • Daphne
  • Lilacs
  • Magnolias
  • Primroses
  • Redbuds
  • Serviceberry tree
  • Spring ephemerals

Ladew Topiary Gardens

At Ladew, Oktavec said some flowers have already peaked, including saucer magnolia trees, which are in full bloom, while other plants like wisteria and lilacs are fully budded and ready to drop.

Nancy Lawson and her husband transformed their two-acre property outside Sykesville into a wildlife-friendly oasis. Now, Lawson is teaching others to do the same.

"May is going to feel extra special," she said.

  • Azaleas
  • Crab apple, cherry and early spring flowering trees
  • Daffodils
  • Exochorda, also known as a pearl bush, opened earlier this week and will hold for a week or two before flowers will start to drop, leaving behind a beautiful display of foliage.
  • Forsythia
  • Irises
  • Lilacs
  • Spiraea, or bridal-wreaths
  • Tulips
  • Viburnum carlesii, also known as the fragrant Koreanspice viburnums