Discover the Beauty of a Maryland Native Garden at Adkins Arboretum

Adkins Arboretum

One of the hidden gems of Maryland’s Eastern Shore is Adkins Arboretum, tucked away near Tuckahoe State Park in Caroline County. The arboretum is a 400-acre native garden offering five miles of paths through meadows and native plant gardens.

The arboretum is also dedicated to conserving a variety of diverse habitats as well as educating the public about them.

The Trails at Adkins Arboretum

While exploring the trails, you can expect to see more than 600 plant species in woodlands, wetlands and meadow settings. We particularly enjoyed the trails that guide us through hardwood forests and pine forests.

Often, visitors encounter shy deer and wary fox. Unfortunately, we saw neither on our visit, a hot day in July. We were indeed grateful for the shaded trails and shied away from the meadow trails.

The trails are easy to walk, level and well maintained. Lots of plant and tree information along the trails. In fact, this is a beautiful place. It’s multiple walking trails offer a variety of choices and lots of reasons to return. Walking paths were dry, despite a wet summer and recent rainy days.

Art at Adkins

When we visited Adkins, there was an art exhibit for environmental artists Howard and Mary McCoy. Naturally, these two artists make art in the woods, using materials they find there. Inspired by nature’s own creativity, they alter or augment trees, vines or fallen branches they find, creating sculptures that blend into nature itself. We were fascinated by the sculpture, and how these two artists leverage the natural beauty of the shapes of the trees and vines to create their works.

Along the trails, like prayer flags, are Mary McCoy’s poems. Like the sculpture, the poems often reflected their setting. In fact, I thought, the poems actually added thoughtful commentary on the natural environment. The McCoys’ exhibit is a rotating one, and will only be at Adkins Arboretum through the end of September.

Forest Music
By Mary McCoy
I heard a cello singing
from this bench
under these trees
braiding its music
with the branches
mingling up toward the sun.
A cello singing in these woods,
its wooden body
with music
duetting with the trees
who daily,
sing their branches
into the naked breeze above.

Know Before You Go

When you visit, ask the Visitor Center staff to borrow an audio tour to take on your walk through the Arboretum. You’ll also want a map of the Arboretum’s scenic paths. Spring is probably best for wildflowers, and May brings the blooms of the native azaleas and mountain laurel. During warmer months, bug spray will help you avoid getting ticks, which unfortunately are plentiful in the arboretum.

Getting there: 12610 Eveland Rd, Ridgely, MD
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Sunday noon to 4 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving and between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
Website: the Arboretum

Enjoy visiting historic and botantical gardens? Check out other gardens and arboretums MidAtlanticDayTrips has visited.

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