HoCo Floral & Foliage

A Guide to Howard County, MD  Blooming for Photography Sessions.

(and surrounding areas)


Over the years of being a photographer, I’ve had clients want certain aspects as part of their sessions, and they’ll ask “When does {insert flowers} typically bloom?” or “I’d love to have fall colors in our photos, when does that usually start?” As a small business owner, and someone who strives to always improve my services for my clients, when I get asked a question multiple times, it’s time to implement something in my business to make it better!

I decided to sit down and create a generalized Floral and Foliage Calendar for the local Howard County area. The key word is GENERALIZED, because as much as I’d love to 100% KNOW when EXACTLY flowers will bloom or leaves will start to change color, that all depends on good ‘ole Mother Nature. What does this mean? That means that if you take a look at the Calendar I created above, you’ll notice that there are no dates. So for instance, Cherry Blossoms in Howard County might only be in bloom for a week or so, but I left some buffer time on either end, and listed them as being in bloom somewhere around the middle of the month.


Ok, so now that we’ve got that part covered, let’s move on to the details! Woot!


– Daffodils and Forsythias.

These flowers are early bloomers in Spring. Though tiny Crocus flowers are the indicators that Spring is on the way, Daffodils and Forsythias bloom when the weather is FINALLY starting to warm up. They typically bloom mid-late March.



 – Cherry Blossoms and Orchard.

While the Cherry Blossoms I use for sessions are local and in Howard County with multiple locations to choose from, I have to admit, there aren’t many Orchards in this area, but thankfully, I have the privilege of using a private property Orchard that’s located in Westminster. There is a fee of $100 for using this location, but trust me, the images are worth it and BREATH TAKING! Both of the flowers generally bloom around the same time, which is around the mid-April. Cherry Blossoms seem to have a smidgen of a longer in-bloom time, while Orchard blooms must be jumped on FAST, as they only last a week.



 – Tulips and Azaleas.

These two generally are in bloom relatively around the same time. The location for Tulips (with small areas of Azaleas) I use in Baltimore brings in large crowds of spectators and other photographers alike. Because of this, I ONLY do sessions here on Weekends, EARLY MORNING, like, within the hour RIGHT AFTER sunrise. I prefer to work in locations that aren’t too overrun by people, mostly because that way we don’t have to work around others, wait in line for a specific spot, and I find that when clients have more privacy, the session experience is more relaxed and enjoyable. I once wrapped up a session at this location at 8am, and there were no less then 10 photographers setting up for mini sessions, with multiple others taking a leisurely stroll through this park. And rightfully so, this area during it’s Tulip blooms are stunning! But fair warning! If having these gorgeous Tulips blooms included in your session is important, let’s make it happen! Just be aware about the time limitations. That being said, I have a complete separate area just for Azaleas, located in Montgomery County, that offers many different colored blooms and a little more privacy for sessions. Both Tulips and Azaleas tend to bloom late April-early May.



 – Ferns.

I must admit, ferns are my favorite outdoor session foliage. Green is my favorite color, and as a very outdoorsy person, who goes on lots of hikes, ferns have always been a main foliage everywhere I’ve traveled, from Maryland, to Alaska, all the way to Ireland. Sessions hosted in ferns is like being hugged by nature. Ferns are also long-lasting, sticking around locally from mid-May allllllll the way through mid-September. They are one of the first foliage to show up in Spring, and the last to go when it starts getting colder in Fall. You really can’t lose choosing ferns for a session.


 – Sunflowers.

Oh, Sunflowers! Such a beautiful and happy sight that represents Summer so well! These blooms bring so much joy and smiles to those who want their sessions in them. Imagine looking out over a field of yellow and just seeing an endless amount of amazing flowers; and you nestled in them! Sunflowers are so loved, I’ve actually had a few of my clients with them tattooed on their bodies. How cool! Although the fields themselves only last about a week in bloom, I’ve listed them on the calendar above stretching from mid-July to early September because there are many field owners who plant the seeds at different times. Some of these fields charge a fee to use their area for photography sessions, but the fields I love the most (located in Montgomery County) boasts one of the first fields to bloom in the area, around mid-July, and is FREE! Bonus points because it’s also somewhat isolated and provides lots of space for privacy. If you’ve never been to a Sunflower fields, its awe-inspiring, but be aware, bees and bugs are also lovers of these flowers, so be sure to pack some bug spray!



 – Fall Foliage. 

Everyone’s absolute favorite time for sessions: FALL! And Fall in HoCo can be quite beautiful! With several locations to choose from, capturing your photographs immersed in all the changing colors is truly a special experience. Most peoples favorite time to capture this moment is October, and even though the leaves don’t truly show their full depth of color change until towards the end of the month, worry not! I have been known to expedite that along with a little help from Photoshop. Shhhh, don’t tell anyone. That’s why I’ve included the entire month in the calendar above. The foliage truly starts to change somewhere mid-October and hangs on until early (first week)-November.


 – Christmas Tree.

Truth time! It’s difficult to find a local Christmas Tree Farm that allows photographers to utilize their property for sessions these days. It’s controversial, but because of too many people who have been downright disrespectful to their property, many owners don’t allow it anymore. From stories I’ve heard, I don’t blame them. If you’re lucky enough to find one, they likely charge a fee. I do know of one Christmas Tree Farm owner who is a kind spirit, and allows me to occasionally use their property for these types of sessions. The biggest condition is that it must be done BEFORE Thanksgiving, as that day is the start to their busy season for their own business to run. That being said, I can’t rule out perhaps hosting Christmas Limited Mini Sessions in the future, where I’ll provide the trees on my own property with my own set ups. I’ve listed these sessions on the calendar from early to mid/late-November, mostly because this is the turn around time I can guarantee you’ll get your Digital Images back in time for Christmas and Holiday cards. I can still host Holiday sessions after this timeline, but I can’t guarantee you’ll get them back in time before the Holidays. If this doesn’t bother you, or you don’t mind family and friends receiving their cards after the Holidays and/or prefer Happy New Year cards instead, this works perfectly.



To wrap up!


Whew! That was a lot to cover, right? This article only applies to floral and foliage sessions, so if that’s not what you’re looking for, I’m always ready for other types. Again, these “dates” are generalized, but if you envision your photographic experience with me taking place with any of these floral or foliage, book early! And for blooms, be slightly flexible! I’ve listed these specifically because they’re so popular, so please don’t wait! Book as early as you can and let’s plan for it!

I’ve actually put a lot of time into creating this blog and all it’s info, so if you have the heart and have found this helpful in any way, please share! And I look forward to seeing you for your next session!

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Here are some sources I use for reference when planning for some seasons:

DC Cherry Blossom Watch

Maryland Fall Foliage Tracker



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