On a recent Sunday, I attended the 100th birthday celebration of a house on Elmwood Road in Roland Park. Although I’d been to the house before, I had not been there during the daytime since childhood.
My schoolmate, Margaret Gray Kincaid, grew up in this house that her parents sold in 1969. The couple, Alice and Christopher Gray, then moved to New Hampshire. After Dr. Gray’s death, Margaret’s mother bought a smaller house in Baltimore on Clover Hill Road in Tuscany-Canterbury.
For years, Alice Gray missed her Roland Park home, as did Margaret, who lived in Berkeley, California. When it came onto the market in 2001, Margaret’s mother bought it and returned to Elmwood Road.
Margaret returned in 2007 and did a massive restoration using historic tax credits. Then in 2010, after a trip to England and many gardens visits there, she came home, and with the help of a landscape architect friend, created charming gardens.
The land on Elmwood Road is hilly, so the gardens are terraced. Visible from the back living room window, an outdoor plant étagère filled with annuals in terra cotta pots has a decidedly European look.
Up the hill is an intimate garden room. A low drystone wall, azaleas, boxwoods and a peony hedge delineate the space.
At the center is a Triton fountain above a circular pond. Benches and a chair create focal points with an axis of brick stairs and paths.
It felt like discovering a secret garden when attending that birthday party. Below century old trees young gardens embrace a house lovingly preserved.