Celebrating Fifty Years at Market

We are looking forward to Market Day at Cylburn this Friday, May 11 and Saturday, May 12. It is the 50th Anniversary of this beloved event at Cylburn, one that has always been thrown by the Friends of the Park and the Baltimore City Department of Recreation & Parks. The first Market Day was held on September 14, 1968. In honor of this occasion, historian Barbara Mallonee (CAA friend, volunteer and former Board Member) has been back through the archives to unearth a little history for us. Here are ten facts she found interesting about Market Day over the years.

1. Market Day was the inspiration of Mrs. T. Frederick Mulvenny (President of Cylburn Wildflower Preserve and Garden Center)…and every year a different woman was in charge (except for 1994 when Mr. Walter D. Finch presided).

2. For 35 years, women were the mainstay of Market Day—in floral dresses or smart suits and high-heels (even in the 60s) until the turn of the century when young and old wore slacks, shorts, jeans, sandals—and Cylburn tee-shirts! Today we have a mix of dedicated women AND men volunteering for the event and at Cylburn.

3. The name of the site for Market Day may have changed (Cylburn Park became Cylburn Wildflower Preserve and Garden Center in 1957, and then, in 1982, the Cylburn Arboretum), but the format has stayed the same—the gracious Tyson mansion has welcomed friends and neighbors to what looks like a family picnic with tents and tables laden with plants, handmade crafts and treats arrayed around the circle and on the two lawns adjacent to the house. Lemon sticks! Antiques! Coffeecakes! Rum Buns! This year a Maypole Dance, Crab Cakes and Lemonade.

4. Word of Mouth has always been the best advertisement for Market Day but over 50 years, the media has also found Market Day newsworthy — the Baltimore Sun, the News American, the Messenger, neighborhood newsletters, local radio stations and our friends on TV Hill. No matter the controversy and contention in the city, in our country, in the world, a picture of Cylburn in the spring on the front page brightens life in Baltimore. We welcomed WBAL this morning and WYPR has been our media partner this year.

5. Market Day feels like a picnic and a party…but, under the leadership of Dr. Elizabeth Clarke (of Recreation and Parks) and Gerard Moudry (Baltimore’s Chief Horticulturist 1959-1994), the real purpose of Market Day was to support education for both adults and children. (The second Market Day in 1969 enabled Cylburn to purchase “for the meeting rooms a public address system and one hundred chairs; for the trails two portable address systems and an audio visual aid and a typewriter for sign writing.”) Today the Cylburn Arboretum Association, honoring this ongoing legacy, is raising money through the event to support a number of initiatives at Cylburn including summer camp and educational programming, as well as care for the gardens, trees and trails. “If I want to learn about birds I come to Cylburn Park,” said Jason Godfrey, a student at public School 87 visiting at Cylburn in 1972. At Cylburn, there is so much to learn!

6. The grounds and gardens of Cylburn are historic, filled with trees and shrubs and plants that the Tysons planted. Other newer gardens have themes. Some gardens are dedicated in memory, others are demonstration. All inspire lessons in horticulture with many of the plants and trees identified for visitor information.

Crab apples

7. At Cylburn, trees are celebrated—but Market Day  is also a chance to learn about wildflowers and native plants. Volunteers have worked throughout the years, and still today, with nurseries in Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, New England, and the Carolinas to bring unusual and rare plants to feature and sell here. Native plants are also grown in the greenhouses and in members’ gardens.

DSCN06528. The 90s saw an increasing emphasis on studying habitat and ecology—plants draw bees and butterflies and birds and small creatures; plants help climate patterns and the planet. This year learn about modern gardening in talks given by experts at the mansion, and by visiting the JHU Center for a Livable Future’s Aquaponics Food Lab or the Master Gardener’s Demonstration garden located on the grounds.

9. Always something NEW—a “Tulip of the Year,” a Lollypop tree, roving clowns, fresh mushrooms, beginning chess lessons, the Peabody Ragtime Ensemble, a magician, the Cookie monster, artists sketching, body and face painting, bird banding. At the 50th Market Day, look for live raptors and seed bombs!

10. The Market Day Motto: Rise and shine! The opening hour has shifted earlier and earlier (sellers at Market Day note that by 9 a.m. favorite plants have already sold out!) Since the 1990s, there has been NO RAIN DATE. We prefer sunshine, but really rain is a good thing—and how better to reflect on rain gardens and storm water management and global climate change than by pulling a red wagon to the parking lot, watching your new plants soak up raindrops as they wait to be planted in the rich dark soil of your garden!

Market Day Native

Market Day LogoWe look forward to seeing you at Market Day this weekend! For more details about everything that’s happening this year, please visit the Preview Party or Market Day events on facebook or go to cylburn.org. Proceeds from Market Day benefit the Cylburn Arboretum Association. Purchases from the greenhouses benefit the Baltimore City Department of Recreation & Parks. We are especially grateful to our generous sponsors for supporting the Cylburn community. Lead sponsors CFG, DLA Piper and Transamerica, along with many others, are helping to make the CAA’s work possible. To see all of our sponsors, Market Day 2018 Sponsors.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s