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John Cook Memorial Rose Garden & Sundial

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3100 Swann Drive in Druid Hill Park (Street View)

GPS: 39° 19′ 5.40″ N 76° 38′ 43.80″ W


The Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens of Baltimore was established in 1888 on the grounds of Druid Hill Park. Today the greenhouse network continues to thrive with plants from all over the world growing inside the contained environment. In 2004, a $4.8-million renovation took place that linked the main building, or Palm House, with some of the newer structures located behind it.

Directly to the right of the Conservatory is the John Cook memorial garden and sundial. Cook was a German-born immigrant that arrived in America in 1853. He came from a long line of florists and continued the family tradition in Baltimore, first tending garden for J. Howard McHenry, the grandson of James McHenry, then opening his own store in 1870.

As his career progressed, Cook began performing experiments with his roses, searching for new varieties. His hybrid tea, Radiance, became one of the most popular flowers of the early twentieth century. This garden was dedicated in John Cook’s honor.


Within the boundaries of the garden rests a strange sundial. From a distance it looks like a piece of modern art, but when you get closer you see the multiple time-telling gnomons jutting out from the structure. The timepiece was created in 1890 by a local stonemason named Peter Hamilton under the direction of the Johns Hopkins mathematics department. It tells the time for numerous places on earth from Cape Cod to Tokyo, but was designed before daylight savings time, and is mostly inaccurate now.



Written by monumentcity

May 9th, 2009 at 1:55 pm