Woods Grounds & Gardens



Genesis 1:11-12

11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. 12And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind and the tree yielding fruit whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.



Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church is the largest church in the Baltimore Presbytery with more than 2,000 members. It was founded by the Reverend Frank Churchill Woods in 1912 with 8 members meeting in the local elementary school. The congregation quickly outgrew the one-room school house and in 1913 the first sanctuary (now Founders Room) was dedicated and 'the little church on the hill' became a beacon to the community. In 1992 a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the current church structure and was completed in 1993. The Rev. Dr. Susan DeWyngaert accepted a call to serve as Senior Pastor as Head of Staff in 2011.


Ebenezer Stone

Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. he named it Ebenezer (which means the "stone of help"). for he said, "Up to this point the LORD has helped us!"

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a rock and a stone? If I see a rock in the woods or wherever, it's called a 'rock' but if I take it from its natural place and put it in my garden, it's called a 'stone.' The rock itself hasn't changed but what it is being used for has. That is why its name has changed. Many times in the Bible a stone or a pile of stones has been used as a reminder of how God has helped someone. An Ebenezer stone uses something physical to remind us of spiritual truth, especially God's faithfulness and goodness; it can be anything that reminds us of how God has helped us. Reflect on how God has helped you.


While it is not the first original bell, this bell was installed in the Woods bell tower circa 1950, and was struck by lightning in 1987. Both the tower and the bell were damaged. A new bell was then installed and the damaged bell was placed on the grounds as an exhibit. The current pergola was designed by Elder Dale Moeller and mounted in 2012, in honor of Woods Centennial.


Centennial Cross

The Children's Centennial Cross was decorated by the Sunday School children with ceramic tiles with Bible and Woods Church history themes in honor of the year-long Centennial Celebration that began in 2011. The names of the children who helped are on the sign in front of the cross. The cross was put up in 2012 in a special dedication ceremony.


Holy Grounds Amphitheater

This was constructed through the combined effort of five different Eagle Scouts and their families: Matthew Brenneman, Matthew Hasson, Michael Bacot, Eric Carassanesi, and Samuel Allen. They created it so that Woods Church, and specifically the children of Woods, would have a place outside to go for Sunday School or activities. They wanted them to be able to engaged with, and be surrounded by nature and God's creation. The amphitheater seats 100 people and can be used for boy scout meetings, sunrise services, Sunday school classes, or other multi-purpose group gatherings.





Bible Garden

Genesis 1:29-31 - "God said, "See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit, you shall have them for food."

ALOE  -  John  19:39  -  (burial of Jesus)  “Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds.”

ASCLEPIAS  -  Genesis 1:30  -  “…And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth,  everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.  And it was so.”    (if the Monarch caterpillar does not eat Asclepias,  it will be eaten by birds)

ANEMONE – Luke 12:27  KJV -  Although many flowers in the Holy Land were called lilies, the anemone is believed to be the one referred to by Jesus in the Gospels.

BALM – Ezekiel 27:17 -  Judah and the land of Israel traded with you;  they exchanged for your merchandise wheat from Minnith, millet, honey, oil, and balm.

BEAUTY BERRY  -  Psalm 27:4  -  “One thing I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after:  to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.”    (the triumphant song of confidence of David)

BOW -  Genesis  9:13  - “ I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and  the earth.”    (God speaks to Noah after the flood)   (pansies make a bow in the fall;  zinnias, marigolds, etc. in the late spring and summer)

BOX – Isaiah 41:19 – “I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together …”

BURNING BUSH – Exodus 3: 2-3  -  “There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of  a bush;  he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed.”    (The Euonymus americanus L. represents the burning bush in the garden)

CEDAR  OF  LEBANON – Psalms 29:5  - “The voice of the Lord breaketh the cedars:  yea, the Lord  breaketh the cedars of Lebanon.”    (The cedar of Lebanon growing in the island, south side,  is grown from a seed found in the Holy Land by a congregation member.

CINNAMON  - Exodus 30:23 – Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh, five hundred    shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels…”  _  (cinnamon  basil substitutes when available)

CORIANDER – Exodus 16:31 -  “The house of Israel called it manna;  it was like coriander seed,  white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.”    (bread from heaven)

CROCUS -  Isaiah 35:1-2 – “ The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and  blossom;  like the crocus – it shall blossom abundantly.”    (the return of the redeemed to Zion)

 CROWN OF THORNS – Euphorbia  milii  Desmoul -  John 19:2 – And the soldiers platted a crown of  thorns, and put it on his head …”   (this plant, an indoor houseplant or a summer annual in this area represents    Zizyphus spina –christi)

CUCUMBER,   MELON -  Numbers 11:5 – “We remember the fish we used to eat in Egypt for nothing, the cucumbers, the melons …)

DILL – Matthew 23:23  -  “Woe to you, scribes, and Pharisees, hypocrites!  For you tithe mint, dill, and cumin,  and have neglected the weightier matters of the law:  justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others.”   (Jesus denounces scribes and Pharisees)

FENNEL – GALBANUM - Exodus 30:34 -  “And The Lord said to Moses, “take sweet spices, stacte, and  onycha, and galbanum, sweet spices with pure frankincense (of each shall there be an equal part) …”      (directions for making incense given to Moses)

FLAG  (yellow)  -  Iris pseudacorus -  Hosea 14:5 – “I will be as the dew unto Israel:  he shall grow as the  lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. “

FLAX- Joshua 2:6- “But she had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with stalks of flax… .”      

COTTON – Esther l:5-6   RSV  – “And when these days were completed the king gave for all the people  present in Susa the capital, both great and small a banquet lasting for seven days, in  the court of the garden of the king’s palace.  There were white cotton curtains and blue hangings caught up with cords of fine linen and purple to silver rings and marble pillars …” 

FLOWERS -  Isaiah 40:8 – “The flower fades, but the word of God endures forever.”

FLOWERS of the field -  James 1:10 -    “…and the rich in being brought low, because the rich will disappear  like a flower in the field.”

FORESTS  -  WILDERNESS  -  see Flag: Hosea 14:5  and Box: Isaiah 41:19

GARLIC  -  LEEKS  -  ONIONS  Numbers 11:5  -  “We remember the fish we used to eat in Egypt for nothing, the cucumbers,  the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic …”   (the followers of Moses complain in the desert)

GRASS – GRASSES - JOB 38:27 -  “… to satisfy the waste and desolate land, and to make the ground  put forth grass?”

HYSSOP – I Kings 4:33  -  “He would speak of trees, from the cedar that is in the Lebanon to the hyssop that grows in the wall:  he would speak of animals and birds, and reptiles, and fish.”   (fame of  Solomon’s wisdom)

IRIS – Hosea 14:5 -  “I will be like the dew to Israel;  he shall blossom like the lily,  he shall strike root like the forests of Lebanon.”    (an assurance of forgiveness)  (Biblical horticulturalists feel that the lilies referred to in most passages are forms of iris – about 50 kinds found in the Holy Lands)

KITCHEN GARDEN – Proverbs 30:8  -  “Remove far from me falsehood and lying;  give me neither  poverty nor riches;  feed me with the food that I need.”      (NRSV)   “Give me neither poverty nor riches;  feed me with food convenient for me.”   KJV,  Solomon, Proverbs 30:8

LAMB’S EARS - Revelation 21:23 -  “And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it,  for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb.”

LAVENDER -  Song of Solomon 4:10 – “How sweet is your love, my sister, my bride!  How much better   is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your oils than any spice!”       _John 13:12 - _” After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table …”   _ (from the Latin, lavare  -  to wash)

MADONNA LILY – Song of Solomon 6:2  -  “My beloved has gone down to his garden, to the beds of  spices, to pasture his flock in the gardens, and to gather lilies.”  (it is believed that only a cultivated lily  of outstanding beauty would be in Solomon’s garden)

MINT  -  Luke 11:42  -   “But woe to you Pharisees!  For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and   neglect justice and the love of God:  these you ought to have done, with neglecting the others.”

MYRTLE – Isaiah 41:19 -  “I will put in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive; …)

POMEGRANATE  -  I Samuel  14:2  -  “And Saul tarried in the uttermost part of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree which is in Migron … “    (this tree is found in the back left hand corner of the  surprise garden)

ROSE – Song of Solomon 2:1  -  “I am a rose of  Sharon, a lily of the valleys.”

RUE  -  Luke 11:42 – see mint

SAGE,  SALVIA  -  Exodus 37:17-18 – “He also made the lampstand of pure gold.  The base and the shaft of the lampstand were made of hammered work;  its cups, its capitals, and its flowers were of one piece with it.  And there were six branches going out of its sides, three branches of the lampstand out of one side of it and three branches of the lampstand out of the other side of it: …”    (the menorah   shape is taken from the sage or salvia plant)

SOIL – GROUND  -  EARTH -  LAND - Joel 1:10 – The fields are devastated, the ground mourns;  for the grain is  destroyed, the wine dries up, the oil fails.”  Leviticus 25:23 – “The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine; with me you are but   aliens and tenants.”         (God speaks to Moses) Genesis 1:1  -  “God created the heavens and the earth …” 

SOLOMON’S SEAL –Although not found in the Bible, it is thought that the six-petaled flowers–six points to each blossom, are like the six points of the Star of David,  which in early days was  known as Solomon’s seal.  Others think that the plant was used to seal up wounds and broken bones, and was called Sigillum Salomonis.           

STYRAX,  STORAX  -  STACTE  - Exodus 30:34 – And the Lord said to Moses, “Take sweet spices  stacte, and onycha, and galbanum …);    also,  Ecclesliasticus  24:15    

SYCAMORE  -  Luke 19:4 – About Zacchaeus,   “So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way.”

TULIP –  Isaiah 35:1  -  “The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and Blossom.”   (Biblical experts feel these blossoms would be bulbs, such as the  “rose” of   Ecclesiasticus )

WORMWOOD–ARTEMISIA–Lamentations–“He has filled me with bitterness, he has glutted me with wormwood ”

YUCCA  -  ADAM’S NEEDLE  -  Genesis 3:7 – “The eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they  were naked;  and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.”   (stripped   ‘strings’ of yucca leaves can be used to sew or stitch two items together)


Rain Garden

Created for the Watershed Steward Program, the rain garden diverts runoff by steering the water into the garden where it is then recharged back into the aquifer. Previously the runoff dumped into the storm drains and sewers. Now, instead, the rain garden allows the water to be naturally filtered and purified as it makes its way through the garden and ground so that the quality of the water in the Chesapeake Bay is improved, thereby improving the quality of the water we use everyday. The rain garden was spearheaded by Dale Moeller and Peter Cooper who participated in the Watershed Stewards Academy and received a grant to create the garden. It is one way Woods can help to be a good steward of the earth and be environmentally conscious and responsible.


Meditation Garden

Custodian Walter Ford put an ad in the Woods Church newsletter asking for someone to please come help clean up the church grounds and make it a beautiful place to be and to find refuge. This call for help and beautification began a journey where many involved in the life of the church began to capture the beauty of God's creation through gardening around the church property. Specifically, the area of the meditation garden began with Jane Iglehart and Lee Kaus circa 1998. Their desire was to give people a place to connect with God's creation and to have a place to be still; to dwell in God's presence and meditate.

Environmental Stewardship


Have you noticed our gardens at Woods? Lots of new plants are blooming, and birds and butterflies are everywhere. Woods Church is an Earth Care Congregation in the PCUSA and a River-Wise Congregation in the Anne Arundel County Watershed Stewards program, so we are working hard to be responsible stewards of the gardens, lawns and woodlands that make up our property. We are trying to reduce our storm water runoff wherever possible and support our native bird and pollinator populations using native trees, shrubs and plants.  We no longer use herbicides or pesticides on our gardens and lawn areas, we do not fertilize the grass in the spring, and we are planting native plants in our gardens and grounds wherever possible to absorb storm water and provide food and habitat for our native birds, insects and pollinators.  We are thankful for the native oak trees, red and silver maples, sweet gum, dogwoods, American holly and Eastern redbud trees that exist on our property.  

Woods gardeners have masterfully incorporated native plants to preserve the balance and beauty of our local natural ecosystem.  We planted black eyed Susan’s, and cone flowers for seed eating birds.  We planted cardinal flowers, butterfly weed, joe pye weed, white turtlehead and milkweed for butterflies and hummingbirds – the list provided by the US Fish and Wildlife Service of native flowers and shrubs for the Chesapeake Bay watershed is extensive. We planted native shrubs such as American beautyberry, lowbush blueberry and viburnum for their berries that nourish birds, and silky dogwood, sweet spire, smooth winterberry and spicebush for their high wildlife value. These native plants are so essential in supporting our birds and pollinators in ways that plants alien to our ecosystem do not.

We give tours to show people the many native flowers, shrubs, and trees, and we have marked the plant species with ID tags around the property to help people identify the plants. At Woods we know that keeping natives in the landscape is vital to keeping the species we love strong and thriving; it is vital to being good stewards of our local wildlife and waterways.

Come enjoy the beauty of our campus anytime, request a tour, or join our gardeners– we love company and no experience is necessary. Email for more information.

Woods CCC

The grounds of the Woods Counseling & Care Center



A labyrinth (pronounced lab-uh-rinth) is a circular pathway, used to walk for reflection, meditation, contemplation and prayer.  Labyrinths were created for personal, psychological and spiritual transformation.  They have been used for thousands of years for contemplation and prayer.  The Labyrinth at Woods is a modern adaptation of the medieval labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral in France.  The sacred geometry features a circular design with a trinity of sevens.  Seven courses of pavers surround the perimeter, seven circuits within wind back and forth, leading to seven petals with crosses at the center.  It is 45 feet in diameter and the paths are 30 inches wide, making it wheelchair accessible.

There is no right or wrong way to walk the labyrinth.  When entering, one moves from human distractions to reclaiming a sense of clarity, enlightenment and peace.  It is a time to quiet the mind, listen to your heart and connect to God. Walkers often stop for calming moments at the center before using the same path to exit. 

Labyrinths are used by people of all ages – individually, and for church retreats, youth and school groups, pre-marital and marital enrichment and much more.

The effects of walking a labyrinth are profound.  The act of walking the labyrinth enhances the right-brain activity of using creativity, imagery and intuition.  A journal, The Healing Labyrinth Path, reports that labyrinth walking helps balance the hemispheres of the brain, using our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual resources.  Health benefits of labyrinth walking include decreasing stress and promoting relaxation which can have substantial effects on mental and cardiac health.  Labyrinths can be used for healing in grief and promoting focus for people with ADHD (attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder).  These benefits have led numerous hospitals and colleges across the country to include a labyrinth on their campuses.

The Labyrinth and the adjoining Children’s Garden are open to all and serve as a place of healing for the community. Wheelchair accessible and available to the public at all times. Pamphlets with more information about the Labyrinth, and how to walk it, are available at Woods Church and at the Labyrinth.

For small group walks please call 443-261-3289 or email


Rock Garden

A rock garden full of painted rocks for you; for your journey, joy, inspiration, fun, and encouragement. Keep one, leave one, share one with others.




Children's Garden (Ellie's Moonflower Garden)

This garden was created for and donated to the Severna Park Community by Matt & Ashleigh Wyble in memory of their daughter Ellie. It is a space for children and parents to enjoy the outdoors and reflect in a place of beauty. In the center of the garden is a bed of moonflowers - a favorite of Ellie's great grandmother and namesake, Elizabeth Wyble. The surrounding beds contain perrennials, flowering trees and shrubs to provide a space for healing, hope and growth. It is open to the public at all time to enjoy, relax, play music on the lilypad cymbals, explore among the flowers, or read on the garden benches.