Honors Garden

Emily Carter

The Howard County Conservancy’s Honors Garden offers a calming, colorful respite where visitors can connect with nature. The 1.36-acre garden is bursting with native trees, shrubs and perennials that offer food and shelter to hundreds of species of birds, butterflies, bees and other pollinators.

Start under the arbor gate dripping with native honeysuckle, and take the winding, accessible path through the garden past two water features (complete with frogs). Visitors will see native flowers in three seasons, and specimen trees that offer shade on the warmest day. Interpretive signs help budding gardeners learn the benefits of native plants and particulars about each species. A recent garden, designed to attract hummingbirds, sits at the top of our hill.

Wanda Prather

Pictures of Us

Native plants and native plant cultivars are selected based on sustainability at each planting site. Here, plants are the stars of the show: coneflowers, baptisia, chokeberry, redbud trees, coreopsis, columbine. Our garden puts on an evolving show throughout the seasons and offers practical ideas to homeowners interested in native plant gardening. While the garden mostly sleeps in winter, its landscape, shrubs and trees still offer respite. Seedheads nourish wildlife and dead plant stems provide shelter and nesting material for birds and insects.

Ken Ackman

The pervious paver stone pathway, funded by the state of Maryland, allows visitors of all mobility levels to visit the garden while also permitting rainwater to infiltrate the ground. Anyone may purchase engraved paver stones to sponsor a commemorative message. The garden, which opened in the spring of 2006, honors individuals and organizations in a natural setting. State Sen. James Clark, Jr., a founding member of the Conservancy, dedicated the Honors Garden in memory of his late brother, John L. Clark. Recognition plaques are dotted throughout the gardens to memorialize loved ones.

Gifts for the Honors Garden will be accepted in honor of, in memorial, or in celebration of individuals or organizations. Options start at $600 and include shrubs, perennial beds, and engraved paver stones and stepping stones. The cost covers the planting, a recognition plaque, engraving, and maintenance. It may take up to one year for new features to be installed. Occasionally special events are held in this garden. If you would like to check the schedule, please contact our office. If you are interested in dedicating a garden element or have questions, please contact Tabby Fique for further information.

The John L. Clark Honors Garden is just one component of the arboretum at the Conservancy, which also includes the gardens and plantings around the historic house, outbuildings and demonstration gardens.

Wanda Prather

Native Plants

Photo of PlantScientific NameCommon NameHeight & SpreadLight RequirementsSoil Moisture RequirementsBloom TimeFruitBenefits to Wildlife
Amsonia hubrectiiNarrowleaf Bluestar2' - 3' tallfull sun to partial shadedry to moist soilblue flowers April - Maypodspollinators, deer resistant, nice fall color
Aquilegia canadensisEastern Columbine1/2' - 3' tallfull sun to partial shadedry to moist soilred flowers April - Julycapsules
Ascelpias syriacaCommon Milkweed3.5' - 6.5' tallfull sundry soilpale purple flowers May - Augustpods produced Aug. - Nov.host plant of monarch butterflies
Ascelpias tuberosaButterflyweed1' - 3' tallfull sun to partial shadedry to moist soilorange flowers May - Julypods August - Novemberhost plant of monarch butterflies
Athyrium filix-feminaLady Fern1' - 3' tallpartial shademoist to wet soilfern
Baptisia australisFalse Indigo3' - 5' tallfull sun to partial shadedry to moist soilpurple flowers May - Junepods
Baptisia tinctoriaYellow Wild Indigo1' - 3' tallfull sun to partial shadedry soilyellow flower May - Junepods
Ceanothus americanusNew Jersey Tea3' tallfull sun to partial shadedry soilwhite flower May - Septemberblack seedsHigh wildlife value
Cercis canadensisEastern Redbud20' - 35' tallpartial shade to full shadedry to moist soilpink flowers in Aprilpodshigh wildlife value

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Chrysogonum virginianumGreen and Gold1/2' - 1' tallfull sun to full shadedry to moist soilyellow flowers March - June
Clethra alnifoliaSweet Pepper Bush6' - 12' tallpartial shade to full shademoist to wet soilwhite flowers July - Augustbrown capsulehigh wildlife value
Conoclinium coelestinumMistflower1' - 3.5' tallpartial shade to full shadedry to wet soilpurple flowers July - Octobercapsule
Coreopsis verticillataThreadleaf Coreopsis1/2' - 3.5' tallfull sun to partial shadedry to moist soilyellow flowers June - Octobercapsule
Cornus floridaFlowering Dogwood20' - 50' tallpartial shadedry to moist soilwhite flower April - Maydark berrieshigh wildlife value
Dicentra eximiaBleeding heart1.5' - 2' tallpartial shade to full shadedry to moist soilpink flowers April - Septembercapsule
Dryopteris intermediaEvergreen Wood Fern2.5' tallpartial shade to full shadedry to wet soilfern
Echinacea purpureaPurple Coneflower2' - 4' tallfull sun to partial shadedry soilpink flowers May - Septembercapsulehigh wildlide value
Eupatorium dubiumJoe-pye Weed2' - 5'full sun to partial shademoist to wet soilpurple flowers July - October
Fagus grandifoliaAmerican Beech50' - 100' tallfull sun to partial shadedry to moist soilyellow/green flowers April - Maybeechnutshigh wildlife value
Geranium maculatumWild Geranium1' - 2' tallfull sun to partial shadedry to moist soilpink flowers April - Julycapsule
Hypericum densiflorumDense St. John's Wort1.5' - 6' tallfull sundry to wet soilyellow flower July - Septemberbrown capsuleshigh wildlife value
Ilex verticillataWinterberry6' - 12' tallfull sun to full shadedry to wet soilgreenish-white flowers June - Julyred berrieshigh wildlife value
Iris versicolorBlue flag iris2'- 3' tallfull sun to partial shadedry to wet soilBlue-purple flowers June - July
Kalmia latifoliaMountain laurel12' - 20' tallfull sun to full shadedry to wet soilwhite and pink flowers May - Julybrown capsuleshigh wildlife value

Liatris spicataBlazingstar1' - 6.5' tallfull sun to partial shadedry to moist soilpurple flowers July - Augustcapsule
Lobelia cardinalisCardinal Flower2' - 4' tallfull sun to partial shademoist to wet soilred flowers July - Octoberpollinator, deer resistant
Lonicera sempervirensCoral Honeysucklevine can reach 6' - 12' tallfull sun to partial shadedry to moist soilred and yellow flowers April - Octoberred fruit around yellow capsulehigh wildlife value
Mertensia virginicaVirginia Bluebells1' - 2.5' tallpartial to full shademoist to wet soilblue flowers March - Junenut-like March - Maydeer resistant
Monarda fistulosabee balm or wild bergamot1.5' - 5' tallfull sun to partial shadedry to moist soilpinkish flowers June - Septembernut-likepolinators, deer resistant
Oenothera biennisCommon Evening Primrose1.5' - 6.5' tallfull sun to partial shadedry soilyellow flowers June - Octobercapsulepolinators, deer resistant
Packera aureaGolden Groundsel1/2' - 2.5' tallfull sun to full shademoist to wet soilyellow flower April - Augustcapsuledeer resistant
Panicum virgatumSwitchgrass3' - 6' tallfull sun to partial shadedry to wet soilgrasshigh wildlife value
Penstemon digitalisBeardtongue1' - 3.5' tallfull sun to partial shadedry to moist soilwhite flowers June - Augustcapsulepolinators, deer resistant
Phlox paniculataSummer phlox1.5' - 6.5' tallfull sun to partial shademoist soilpink flowers July - Octobercapsule
Plox subulataMoss Plox1/2' tallfull sundry soilpink flowers April - Junecapsulepolinators, deer resistant
Physostegia virginianaObedient Plant1.5' - 5' tallfull sun to partial shadedry to moist soilpink flowers June - Septembernut-likepolinators, deer resistant
Polygonatum pubescensSolomon's Seal1' - 3.5' tallfull sun to full shadedry to moist soilwhite-ish flowers April - Juneblack berrydeer resistant
Pontederia cordataPickerelweed3.5' tallfull sun to partial shadewet soilpurple flowers June - Novemberlarge edible seedwaterfowl, muskrats, deer
Rhododendron calendulaceumFlame Azalea5 - 9' tallpartial shadedry to moist soilyellow, orange and red May - Junebrown capsulesongbirds and small wildlife
Rosa carolinaPasture Rose0.5' - 3' tallfull sun to partial shadedry to moist soilpale pink May - Junered berry-like hip songbirds and other wildlife feed on the hips
Rudbeckia hirtaBlack-eyed Susan1' - 3.5' tallfull sun to partial shadedry to moist soilyellow with black eye June - Octoberbrown capsulepollinators, songbirds
Salvia lyrataLyre-leaf Sage1' - 2' tallfull sun to partial shadedry to moist soilviolet colored flower, April - Junenut-likepollinators
Silene carolinianaWild Pink0.5' - 1' tallpartial shadedry to moist soilpale pink flower April - Maycapsuledeer resistant
Sisyrinchium angustifoliumBlue-eyed Grass0.5' - 1.5' tallfull sun to partial shadedry to moist soilblue-violet flowers April - Junebrown capsulesdeer resistant
Solidago canadensisCanada Goldenrod1' - 6.5' tallfull sun to partial shadedry to moist soilyellow flowers July - Octoberfluffy capsulespollinators, songbirds, and wildlife
Stokesia laevisStokes Aster1' - 2' tallfull sun to partial shadedry to moist soilwhite, blue, or purple flowers May - Septembercapsulepollinators
Symphyotrichum novae-angliaeNew England Aster1' - 6' tallfull sun to partial shademoist soilviolet flowers August - Octobercapsulepollinators, wildlife browse
Tiarella cordifoliafoamflower0.5' - 1' tallpartial sun to full shademoist soilwhite flowers April - Junecapsuledeer resistant
Zizia aureaGolden Alexander1' - 2.5' tallfull sun to full shadedry to moist soilyellow flowers April - Junedeer resistant