On June 4, 2022, a garden originally planted in the 1840s will open at the Patapsco Female Institute, a school for young women that operated from 1837 to 1891 on a hilltop above Ellicott City, Maryland. Almira Hart Lincoln Phelps, the headmistress in the 1840s and 1850s, felt the study of science enriched the minds of young women and taught botany, geology, chemistry, and physics to female students from the area.
Susan Thornton Hobby’s recent Washington Post article describes the garden and the careful research by the Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks staff to learn more about it. Department researcher Riley Goodman found in the Virginia Museum of History & Culture the journal of one of Phelps’s students, Mary Jerdone Coleman, which contains over 90 labeled, dried specimens. A dozen of the species will be planted in the garden this spring.