The walled Heritage Garden is a hidden gem in downtown Frederick. Upon entering through its historic iron gates, guests are greeted by a row of stately crape myrtles. The garden contains a variety of features and unique spaces perfect for recreation, educational programming, and events. Laminated garden guides are located throughout the garden.
- History – The Garden area has a long history
- Medicinal “Physic” Garden
- Story Time Garden & Loats Little Library Box
- Rose Pergola & Refreshment Shed
- Lawn & Perennial Beds
- Half-moon entertaining patio surrounded by boxwood
- Bay-Wise Certified by the Frederick County Master Gardeners
- Jacob Feaster Jr. Mill cornerstone dated October 19th, 1819
- Statuary – Nancy Coonsman Hahn
- Benches for relaxing and cafe tables for enjoying a meal
Medicinal “Physic” Garden
It was common for physicians to have at their disposal a “physic garden” with a variety of medicinal, herbal, edible and useful plants. Ours is representative of what Dr. Baltzell might have had to treat his patients’ various ailments during the mid-19th century. It was installed in 2020 and is located directly behind the old smoke house and kitchen area of the home.
Visitors will find a host of medicinal plants including mint, lemon balm, milkweed, chamomile, fennel, valerian, lavender, hyssop, mallow, witch hazel, coneflower, sage, and tansy. The garden, enclosed by a picket fence and graced with a meandering slate pathway, is a wonderful place to learn about medicinal plants and how they were traditionally used to treat and heal in the 19th century.
There are laminated educational guides located at the entrance to the medicinal garden.
Funding for this new space was received from the Mary Gregg Cornish Memorial Fund through the Community Foundation of Frederick County.
Heritage Garden History
- c. 1820-1854 – Dr. John Baltzell: Dr. Baltzell built the home (c. 1820-1824) for his wife Ruth and their growing family. He practiced medicine from the basement level office accessible via an old side entrance in Maxwell Alley. The lot extended further back and to the west with a large side yard. Records indicate that at least eight people were enslaved by Dr. Baltzell, one of whom was a woman named Hester Diggs. It was possible that Hester and her three enslaved children, John Thomas, Ann and Emma, would have tended his garden.
- 1854-1871 Col. Alexander Baird Hanson: Col. Hanson purchased the property from Dr. Baltzell’s estate in 1854, and owned it until 1871. He added the east annex to house his son in-law’s law practice, covering over the Maxwell Alley basement access.
- 1871-1879 John Loats: Mr. Loats resided here late in his life. He was a wealthy, childless widower who directed in his will that this house be incorporated as the Loats Female Orphan Asylum of Frederick City. The exterior of the long garden wall is stamped J. Loats 1877.
- 1882-1956 Loats Female Orphan Home: The name of the orphanage was changed in 1912. The garden area would have been used by over 150 girls for both work and play. Girls roller skated on the long pathway, played games, did chores, and relaxed in the expansive rear and side yard.
- 1959-present Historical Society of Frederick County: The large city lot was divided and the rear property was designed, planted and formally dedicated as the Heritage Garden by the Garden Club of Frederick in 1961. Since that time, the garden has been used for outdoor museum activities, education, programming, and numerous public and private events.