Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens
As the grays and browns of late winter replace the snow, it is uplifting to look back on the amazing botanical garden I visited in September. I was in Maine for my birthday and, if that wasn’t present enough, my husband and son took me garden visiting to Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay, Maine, US. Even though I come from the mid-Atlantic, home to many of the best public gardens in the US, and have visited gardens all over the world, I was wowed by this new but impeccably executed garden by the sea.
Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens opened officially in June of 2007 after 16 years of meticulous planning by an incredibly dedicated group of Maine residents and the talented experts they hired. After searching since 1991, this intrepid group purchased 128 acres of pristine land with 3800 feet of tidal shore frontage in 1996, using their own homes as collateral. An additional gift in 2005 brought the total to 248 acres and almost a mile of shoreline, saving it all from development.
Planting began in 2001 and the impressive Maine cottage style visitor center (photo at top) opened in 2007. This summer saw the opening of the magical children’s garden (photo above) themed to highlight children’s literature with a Maine connection.
Walking around the designed portions of the gardens was such a pleasure because both the overall design of each area and also the attention to individual details is exceptional. The light and airy cafe opens onto an elegant kitchen garden (photo above) planted with herbs, vegetables, edible flowers, berries, and an orchard of hardy heirloom apple and pear trees. Creative and beautiful stonework graces every area of the 15 acres of ornamental gardens (see photos below).
Each area of the landscape from the cottage style rose garden (photo above) to the more naturalistic rhododendron garden (photo below) was a treat for the eyes. And each individual plant within these gardens was impeccably grown (collage below).
If that description isn’t effusive enough, what I treasured the most was my walk along the miles of trails showcasing the untouched waterfront and woodlands that are quintessentially Maine. The views of the tidal inlet are spectacular (photo of cove below). The pristine woodlands are something rarely found in the rest of the continental US (photo of trail below).
It is hard to imagine if you haven’t seen it, but every inch of the trails, woodlands, and especially the rocks is covered with moss (photo below). As you look closer, you realize that every rock holds a garden of its own more beautiful than any human, no matter how talented, could create (see collage below). I would visit Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens just to see the magnificence of nature untouched.
What Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens has accomplished in the short period of time it has been in existence is nothing short of remarkable. A beautifully designed and executed ornamental garden set like a jewel in a spectacular natural setting: it doesn’t get much better than that.
Notes: If you want to know more about Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens and see more beautiful photos, click here. I have also added Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens to my sidebar under Places to Visit so you will always be able to find it. International visitors to the US should consider adding the State of Maine to your itinerary—one of the most beautiful places on earth.
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Nursery Happenings: I am currently accepting orders for snowdrops, including mail orders. For the catalogue and order information, click here. I am taking reservations for my Hellebore Seminars for the Totally Obsessed. For the brochure and registration information, click here. I have four spaces left for Charles Cresson’s Snowdrops and Other Winter Interest Plants Seminar. For the brochure and registration information, click here.