During the 1800s the property on which Sherwood Gardens is located was part of the Guilford estate of A. S. Abell, founder of The Baltimore Sun. The site of the gardens included a pond and lake, which were filled in when the area was developed beginning in 1912 by the Roland Park Company following a plan of the Olmsted Brothers. The northwest portion of the site was initially planned as a community park for the enjoyment of of the residents of Guilford known as Stratford Green.
Sherwood Gardens was created in the 1920's by John W. Sherwood, local petroleum pioneer and conservationist. Begun as a hobby, and planted by Mr. Sherwood with tulips that he imported from the Netherlands, the gardens have become known as the most famous tulip garden in North America. They now cover Stratford Green and several adjacent building lots purchased by Mr. Sherwood. His own house adjoined the gardens at 204 East Highfield Road.
When Mr. Sherwood died in 1965, he bequeathed sufficient funds to continue the gardens for one year. After that period, the Guilford Association purchased lots from the Sherwood estate and took responsibility for the care of Sherwood Gardens.
Approximately 80,000 tulip bulbs are planted annually along with other spring flowering bulbs. Dogwoods, flowering cherries, wisteria and magnolias bloom throughout the gardens. One will also enjoy the brightly colored azaleas and old English boxwoods which were particular favorites of Mr. Sherwood. Some of these plants date back as far as the 18th century, collected from gardens of Colonial estates in Southern Maryland.
Sherwood Gardens has always been at its best toward the end of April and beginning of May. Adding to the beauty and uniqueness of the present day gardens are the numerous varieties of rare trees which comprised another aspect of Mr. Sherwood's particular interests.
During the mid-summer months the beds of the gardens are planted with masses of annuals and perrenials thanks to the the Guilford Association's various summer flower projects.
More than six acres in size, Sherwood Gardens has no gates, fences or other barriers. Although a private park, the public is invited to stroll at leisure throughout the grounds. There is no admission charge and a reservation is not required except for organized events.