Street Address
3535 Jarrettsville Pike
Monkton, MD 21111
Mailing Address
3535 Jarrettsville Pike
Monkton, MD 21111
Hours
April 1st - October 31
Monday - Friday10 AM - 4:30 PM
Sunday, Saturday10:30 AM - 5 PM
Admissions
House tours are docent led, not recommended for children 5 and under. Limited wheelchair access
Adults: $13
Seniors: $11
Members: free
Children: $5
Services
Gift Shop
Special Event Rental
Cafe/Restaurant
Group Tours
Staff
Emily Emerick, Executive Director
Barbara Barnoff, Visitors Services & Marketing Coordinator
phone: 410-557-9570 x215

Description

Set in 22 acres of formal gardens. the Manor House at Ladew is filled with equestrian and hunting memorabilia, fine art and English antiques.

Manor House

Harvey S. Ladew’s passion for fox hunting started early in life and is what lured him to the Maryland countryside in the early 1920’s. Born into wealth and privilege in 1886, Harvey S. Ladew grew up in Westbury, Long Island. As the area became more suburbanized in the 1920s, it became less and less agreeable to the sport of fox hunting. Friends of Mr. Ladew had heard “…great tales of the wonderful hunting country in Harford County and thought it would be fun to try it.” Ladew spent several seasons hunting in Maryland, not only enjoying the hunt, but the variety of social opportunities that accompanied the sport.

His increasing fondness for the Maryland countryside and new friends inspired him to buy the house and property known as Pleasant Valley Farm from the Scarff family in 1929. It was no coincidence that the 200+ acre property was adjacent to the Elkridge-Harford Hunt Club. He sold his home in Long Island and moved to Maryland – “…where I have been happy ever since,” he wrote in the 1960s.

Ladew renovated the old and added on the new. With the help of architect, James W. O’Connor, and interior decorators, Billy Baldwin, Jean Levy and Ruby Ross Wood, he converted the rustic farmhouse into a comfortable and luxurious country home. It is important to note here, that although his team was internationally renowned, the house was essentially the creation of Ladew himself.

The Gardens

“When I first bought the farm, I decided to do all the landscaping and planning of the gardens myself, although I knew I would make a lot of mistakes. I made the mistakes, but they taught me the little I know about gardening”, Ladew once wrote. The “little” Harvey Ladew said he knew about gardening, now covers 22 acres of formal gardens and reflects his style, elegance and sense of humor.

With the house mostly completed by 1937, Ladew had turned his attention to the grounds. Thanks to his extensive travels in England and Italy, he knew what sort of garden he wanted. It was to have two cross axes to allow for long vistas with “garden rooms” off each axis. The axes meet at his oval swimming pool, placed in the center of the Great Bowl. Garden rooms — devoted to a single color, a single plant or a single theme — had been the rage in England when Ladew started his numerous foxhunting visits. He was among the first Americans to recreate them on this side of the Atlantic.

The Garden Club of America awarded Mr. Ladew the prestigious Distinguished Achievement Award for “creating and maintaining the most outstanding topiary garden in the country without professional help.”

Today visitors can enjoy a self-guided tour through this living masterpiece. Writer Chris Weeks states “[Ladew] has a place for every mood and leaves the visitor with an enduring impression of its maker’s serenity, sophistication and wit.”

Nature Walk

Harvey Ladew was drawn to the Maryland countryside in the 1920’s because of the beautiful open space. The Nature Walk at Ladew was opened in 1999 and provides a contrast to the cultivated, formal gardens with pathways through a natural landscape.

Visitors can experience the various wildlife habitats of Ladew, which is located within the Piedmont Plateau. In addition to educational stations along the1.5 mile trail, there is a short boardwalk through wetland forest and fresh water marsh. Tours are self-guided, aided by a printed map and descriptions of each station.

Mission

The mission of Ladew Topiary Gardens is to maintain and promote the gardens, house and facilities in keeping with the creative spirit of Harvey S. Ladew for the public benefit and for educational, scientific and cultural pursuits.

History

The circa 1747 house was purchased by New York socialite Harvey Ladew in 1929. Mr. Ladew restored and expanded the house working with some of the era's leaders in architectural and interior design, including Billy Baldwin. The house features the remarkable Oval Library, which is included in the book '100 Most Beautiful Rooms in America.'

Artifacts Collections

  • art
  • silver
  • antiques
  • fox hunting objects and memorabilia

Educational Programs

Ladew Topiary Gardens takes great pride in providing a wide variety of educational opportunities, with many of the programs free to members.

  • Children, beginning at the age of 2, experience nature first hand through School Fieldtrips, Summer Nature Camps, Nature Pals and year-round Storytime.
  • Adults can learn from the pro’s—Our In The Garden Series provides the exclusive opportunity to learn advanced gardening skills directly from the Ladew Garden Staff. The Spring and Fall Lecture Series provide inspiration for garden design, interior design and travel through the variety of topics that are offered.
  • Our Maple Magic program and Children’s Day are great family fun and great for kids of all ages!

Facilities

Lecture Halls

Performance Areas

Publications

Bi-annual Newsletter, Event specific mailings

ADA

Limited wheelchair access

Wheelchair Accessible

Services

Ladew Topiary Gardens Gift Shop

The Ladew Topiary Gardens Gift Shop offers a unique selection of home and garden items, books, jewelry, statuary, stationary, and other gifts. All members receive a 10% discount on Gift Shop items.

Ladew Café

Enjoy a relaxing lunch or a refreshing snack in the Ladew Café and Courtyard. A favorite stop for visitors, the Café is located in the former stables and serves a delicious variety of treats with a side order of charm!

Weddings & Receptions

The Café and Café Courtyard are available for evening receptions. Wedding ceremonies may be held in the Wildflower Meadow and booked with a reception only. The formal gardens are not available for rental, but you and your guests are welcome to enjoy the gardens during daylight hours. One of the many benefits of having your wedding reception at Ladew is the exclusive opportunity to schedule a formal session with your photographer for wedding portraits in the gardens. Sessions must be scheduled at least two weeks in advance with Barbara Barnoff, 410-557-9570 ext 215.

Gift Shop

Special Event Rental

Restaurant

Group Tours