University of Maryland Extension

The Freedom Garden

Following the 9/11 tragedies, a small group of University of Maryland Extension-St. Mary’s Master Gardeners, Horticulture students of the Dr. James A. Forrest Career and Technology Center and volunteers of various St. Mary’s County agencies planned, purchased and installed a memorial garden.  For ten years the UME-St. Mary’s Master Gardeners and a successive series of horticulture students have collaborated on the maintenance of these garden beds.

This garden is called the Freedom Garden and was established in memory of the victims of the 9-11 attacks.  The Freedom Garden is within our county governmental center and located near a St. Mary’s Transit System bus stop. This area sees daily foot and car traffic from county residents conducting business within the governmental complex.

Freedom Garden BEFORE Install
Freedom Garden AFTER Install

 The garden space comprises a total bed area of 2500 square feet with accompanying sidewalks and flag station.   Over the last ten years, heavy use and site conditions have contributed to the decline of this garden.  Some of the original plantings have died out leaving planting gaps. Other plant materials were damaged by storms and had to be removed. The  Freedom Garden Renovation Project initiated by the UME- St. Mary’s MG program began the process of investigating possible fund sources in 2012.  In December of 2012, the MG program received a $500 donation from the St. Mary’s Garden Club to go towards the purchase of new plant materials for the Freedom Garden! With this show of support the MG’s continued their plans of  re-design and plant selection. The updated plan included some native plant materials such as Inkberry and Black-eyed Susans as well as other drought resistant and colorful plant materials. (See graphed plan and plant list).

 In March of 2013, the MG program applied for and received a beautification grant from the Community Foundation of Southern Maryland and Chaney Enterprises!  This award helped the UME-SM Master Gardeners to move quickly and purchase the plant materials and supplies for the 2013 growing season.  On the first weekend of May, the majority of plants were installed, drip irrigation laid and mulch spread.

 With wonderful support from our community the St. Mary’s Master Gardeners have been able to restore a  vibrant and living memorial to the victims of 9-11. This renewed garden will  serve as an aesthetically pleasing environment for one of the busiest areas in the county as well as an outdoor classroom for horticulture students from our local ‘Tech’ Center.



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