Brookside Gardens

Clematis at Brookside Gardens
Brookside Gardens is probably the best place in Maryland to photograph flowers for free.  It's huge, it's beautiful, and it's extremely well maintained.  It's located in Wheaton, MD off of Randolph Rd [map].  If you get there early, you can take advantage of good lighting and few visitors.  I usually arrive around 7:00 am and park by the greenhouse.  There are several beds of flowers close to the greenhouse and I spend most of my morning there.

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Brookside Gardens
There are many different gardens to choose from, including:
  • Azalea Garden with trails through a semi-wooded area.  
  • Rose Garden with more rose bushes than you can shake a stick at (but please don't)
  • Butterfly Garden by the Greenhouse
  • Japanese Garden by the lake
  • Perennial Garden
  • Fragrance Garden with all kinds of fragrant plants (be careful if you have allergies)
There's more than just these, but these are the highlights (at least for me).  Obviously, the best time to visit is in the Spring, but I've been able to get nice pictures of snowdrops and winter aconite as early as January.  And they have plants that flower well into the Fall.

Greenhouse at Brookside Gardens
The greenhouse is open all year round beginning at 10am, though it closes periodically to put in new flowers.  It's free to enter.  They do not allow tripods in the greenhouse as a rule, but I used to go on Friday mornings when it wasn't busy, and they would let me use my tripod.  They have school field trips in the greenhouse frequently, so I just make sure to stay out of their way.

Butterflies at Brookside Greenhouse
Beginning in the Spring, half of the greenhouse is converted to a butterfly sanctuary.  For a nominal fee, you can enter and photograph the butterflies.  This really is a "must see" place.  There are butterflies you'll see there that you probably won't see anywhere else, and they're everywhere.  It's almost cheating.

Brookside Gardens from


  1. That's an awesome close-up shot of the bee on top of the flower! Great job!

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