The Story of the Walnut Hill Garden

AC and Penney HubbardIn 1969, A.C. and Penney Hubbard had no inkling that the garden they would create at their home north of Baltimore would become recognized as one of the finest in Maryland.

They also had no idea that they would come to work with Kurt Bluemel, whose prominence grew during their decades together until he became the internationally renowned “king of grasses.” His genius behind the transformation of their garden turned it into a world-class Eden. Listed in the Smithsonian Archives of American Gardens, the Hubbard garden has been featured in national and regional magazines and as a destination for prestigious national and regional garden tours.

The acclaim and stature of the garden, however, is not what matters most to Penney, a retired public school teacher, private school admissions director, and community volunteer, or to A.C., a retired investment management executive. What matters most is that the garden has been at the center of family life, with A.C. and Penney doing all of the early planting and design themselves and 46 years later, continuing to work in the garden and add plants to their collections.

The Hubbard garden contains a fine and vast horticultural variety that is artistic and cohesive throughout the year. These two acres, restructured to create multiple terraces and filled with sculpture, are themselves living sculpture. The garden has figured in all seasons of the Hubbards’ lives. From the garden of young parents with three small children, to a recreational space for family activities, to an idyllic setting for a wedding, to a poolside gathering spot for grandchildren, the garden is a prominent figure in family life.

As Bluemel, responsible for most of the garden’s final design, said: “The Hubbards have lived in their garden. … This is a gardener’s garden, a garden for all seasons.”

All three Hubbard children, with spouses and three children each, now spend time in their own nearby gardens. All make a priority of spending time with their own family outdoors. Seeds are sown early. Well-tended, and blessed by good fortune, they germinate, grow, and flourish.

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    The Book On Walnut Hill The Evolution of a Garden