NOTE: Begin your stroll at the main entrance gate. Follow the numbers along the pathways, starting with #2, follow the numbered signs clockwise around the cemetery. At #14, go up hill ending with #18 and head back to the entrance ending at St. Johns Lane front bank.
Enjoy your stroll through Whipps Garden Cemetery.
During the late 1980s and early 1990s gardeners deﬁned an entrance with granite slabs donated by neighbors near the cemetery. Six tons of granite was donated by a local quarry, and Frank Ditman, a gardener and stonemason, volunteered to build a wall. Ironworker, Harding Wescott, set an iron gate and fencing atop the wall. When land for the St. John’s Church rectory was being cleared, Barbara Sieg and a neighbor dug and transplanted many daffodils and other plants here.
These iron railings, medallions and tassels were found in the cemetery. Several plots are surrounded by the original iron fencing, which dates to the mid-1800s, and bears the insignia of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F.), a service organization similar to today’s Rotary and Lion’s Clubs. Many I.O.O.F. members were blacksmiths, and William Whipps was a well-known blacksmith in Howard County.
The Whipps Cemetery was awarded Bay-Wise Certiﬁcation in 2008 for utilizing practices to protect the natural resources throughout the Chesapeake Bay water shed. One practice that Master Gardener volunteers utilize (and something home gardeners should try to replicate) is to avoid using pesticides and herbicides to maintain the ﬂower beds. Learn more about Bay-Wise at this Web site: www.baywise.umd.edu.
This chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution adopted a cemetery section in1953. Members were the ﬁrst to inventory the graves at Whipps Cemetery, which proved invaluable during restoration eﬀorts. Unfortunately, some of the headstones were damaged beyond recognition in the overgrown grave-yard, and could not be conﬁrmed when restoration was underway in the 1980s.
This section, near the iron-gate entrance, features boxwood and a stone angel looking down from its pedestal. In recent years, drought and snowstorms killed or severely damaged several of the boxwood. The garden club, together with Master Gardeners re-designed the area and added shade-tolerant heritage and native shrubs and perennials. A memorial red-bud tree (Cercis canadensis) was planted here to honor the historic preservation and horticultural eﬀorts of past club president Bette Chambers.
This section was the ﬁrst to be cleared and head stones coupled with a foot stone were uncovered. Foot stones typically have carved initials to match the headstone. A granite border surrounds the plot and was originally surrounded by iron posts. A large triple-shaped stone marks the graves of all six of the Gaw’s children who died within a decade of each other between1846 and 1857. Many children are buried here and their gravesites are adorned with a Maryland state flag.
John White's is the oldest grave in the cem- etery, born about 1780 and died in August 1828. Mr. White is the father of William Whipps’ ﬁrst wife Sarah Earlougher White. William Whipps is the founder of this cemetery.
This colorful spring garden was created in 2010. All iris bulbs were donated by Master Gardeners. A variety of bearded irises surround the children’s graves.
Plants were donated by Tom Gardener and they were planted opposite the Children’s Iris Garden in the corner garden. This section honors a friend named Nancy.
As restoration of Whipps’ Cemetery progressed, a line of broken and damaged gravestones were discovered nearby and relocated to the cemetery. Included were stones of William and his son, Samuel Whipps. Samuel (1813-1909) was father of 26 children, married twice. He was a charter member of Independent Order of Odd Fellows Lodge, a blacksmith, farmer, and son of the cemetery’s founder. William's gravestone was the first to be mended.
In 2009 Whipps was awarded a Howard County Watershed Enhancement Grant to enhance the cemetery’s riparian border, improve its eco-friendly environment and educate residents on gardening practices that improve water quality. A 17-ft by 65-ft riparian buﬀer on the south slope lies about 75 feet from the stream, which ﬂows to the Patapsco River, was created and planted. Mostly native trees and shrubs comprise the buﬀer, which help prevent water run-oﬀ.
Fran Reardon with assistance from Rosemary Noble started with 12 rose plants and added six more. This is one of the few sunny spaces in the cemetery, and a small stream ﬂows through the area. A dry creek bed was added to accommodate water run-oﬀ in 2007. This garden was updated in 2013 by Master Gardener Paul Kozjar with disease-resistant, reblooming and fragrant roses. With the installation of a drip watering system, the roses are continuing to thrive.
This parterre garden was created to honor Barbara Sieg’s vision to restore Whipps Garden Cemetery. A parterre is a formal garden design with planting beds typically edged in stone, hedges, and paths arranged in a symmetrical pattern. French parterres originated in 15th-century such as the Chateau of Versailles. Flowering herbs surround a statue of St. Francis of Assisi and include catmint, chives, oregano, wooly thyme, lemon balm, and creeping rosemary.
The oldest white oak in the U.S. stood for more than 450 years in Wye Mills, near Easton, MD. It was 31 ft. in circumference, 96 feet tall, and had a 119 ft. crown spread. The Wye Oak was toppled during a thunderstorm in 2002. It was cloned by a horticulturist at the University of Maryland by grafting buds from the tree onto seedlings from its acorns. The white oak is our state tree and supports over 500 species of butterflies and moths.
Sybil McKennon created this garden in 2008. You’ll notice many colorful ﬂowers that attract butterﬂies. An iron fence was added, and later updated by Randolph Peters. It is maintained by Master Gardeners.
This area is maintained by a local garden club and includes one of the many benches where visitors may rest and enjoy the ﬂowers. This garden is a favorite spot for photographers.
This theater was built in 2007 as an Eagle Scout Project by Eric Suydam and Boy Scout Troop 1997. Master Gardener Tom Gardner assisted. It was patterned after a theater at Monti- cello, and serves as a space for horticultural presentations with seating for up to 30. A new table was built in 2011 by Roy Heath. In 2014, the benches were updated by Paul Kojzar and Paul DiCrispino. A new sign was donated by Dan Whipps Photography.
A white picket fence surrounds the tombstone of Annie Vernay, a young child who lived from June 1861 to Sept 1862. As a child, local Howard County poet, Dysart McMullen (1882-1973), walked through the site with his nursemaid and later recalled a “child’s grave surrounded by a picket fence less than a foot high which is still remembered by one of the children who strolled among the tombstones.”