2013 Brunswick (Maine) Garden Tour

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and phone number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

DSCN2567One of the gardens on the tour surrounded this classic New England cape.

Earlier this month, I attended the 2013 Brunswick (Maine) Garden tour with fellow blogger Jean from Jean’s Garden.  We both spend parts of our summers in Maine, and this is the third summer that we have gotten together for a garden related event.  The tour benefited the Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program.  The MCHPP runs the Brunswick soup kitchen, food pantry, and food bank as well as providing services for homebound clients and offering a summer feeding program.  It benefits over 1,200 families in need in the Mid Coast Maine area.

.DSCN2572One of the gardens on the tour was the Tom Settlemire Community Garden, a large part of which provides vegetables for the MCHPP.

.DSCN2571The area that grows food for the MCHPP is called the “Common Good” bed and is very neat and organized.


The tour included nine gardens.  Although none of them were spectacular, they all had interesting elements and plants worth photographing.  It was one of the days when it was 90 degrees in Maine with very bright sunshine which is not great for photography (or for people to be outside for that matter), but we persevered.  It was fun spending the day with Jean and driving around beautiful Brunswick and its environs.  I graduated from Bowdoin College, which is located in Brunswick, so I was also reliving my youth.


DSCN2564The first two houses on the tour belong to Bowdoin College.  Behind one is this creative combination of traditional native plants like mayapples and jack-in-the-pulpits with hydrangeas and astilbes.


The highlight of the day for me was our afternoon visit to the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.  We went to see the current exhibit called Maurice Prendergast: By the Sea.  It features a truly spectacular assembly, filling three entire galleries, of the seaside paintings of American Post Impressionist painter Maurice Prendergast (1858 to 1924).  The works, many of which were painted in Maine, span Prendergast’s career and illustrate beautifully how he progressed and changed as a painter and what events and people influenced his style.  This excellent show will continue at the museum through October 13.


DSCN2562Hydrangeas grow so beautifully in Maine.

Here are some more images of the garden tour for you to enjoy:


DSCN2566Although white on white doesn’t always work, these hydrangeas look gorgeous in front of the home of the President of Bowdoin College.


Oenothera fruticosaThis home has a lovely shade garden fronted by sundrops or evening primroses.


Ruta graveolens on rightThe sunlight shining through the common rue on the right and the complimentary (but unknown to me) plant on the left was a beautiful effect.

Lysimachia ciliataFringed loosestrife, Lysimachia ciliata, is native to almost every state in the U.S. and much of Canada, but I have never seen it before.  A large stand of it is quite pretty.


DSCN2589This garden has beautiful views of Maquoit Bay over expansive perennial beds.



DSCN2592I can see myself sitting in this charming little playhouse retreat working on the gardening book I have always wanted to write.


The last garden on the tour called Sky Hy had amazing stonework all completed by the owner from rocks on the property.  It was built for entertaining and contained many different levels of seating areas, firepits, outdoor grills, a tiki bar, and other accoutrements of a fabulous party:

DSCN2605Seating area at Sky Hy.


DSCN2604Paths lead between all the levels and are enclosed by beautiful stone walls.


DSCN2594Stone floor of one of the party areas.


DSCN2599Firepit at Sky Hy



DSCN2593Exposed ledge with lovely complimentary plantings.

I hope you enjoyed the tour,



Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net. Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

Nursery Happenings: The nursery is closed and will reopen in the fall around September 15. Have a great summer.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

35 Responses to “2013 Brunswick (Maine) Garden Tour”

  1. Very nice… you appear to be having a great summer! L

  2. Beautiful garden! The stone really adds character. Such lovely borders.

  3. The homeowner took on some pretty complicated stone cutting and layout. It is difficult for professionals, so i can imagine the work the homeowner had to do. I like the small playhouse too. Very cute design.

    • Donna, The whole garden is on a steep slope and impossible to photograph in its entirety but the paths and stonework went on forever. The owner has been working on the site for eight years and hasn’t built his house yet but the terraces are lovely. Carolyn

  4. Starr Foster Says:

    Love those Maine gardens! I like the stonework ideas. the green and white photo was inspiring, very simple, clean and classic.

  5. Carolyn, I enjoyed revisiting these gardens through your photos. I haven’t even downloaded mine from my camera yet! It was great to get to spend the day with you — and next year I won’t be feeling like summer is almost over in July!
    Now that the week of hot weather is gone, I can’t quite remember what it felt like. Alas, going back to PA in August usually provides a reminder.

  6. Thank-you so much for that tour, I’m sure these cooler temperatures have reinvigorated the gardens and gardeners. Having visited Maine several times, I love to see the difference in perennials between Maine and Virginia. Main is a really lovely place!

  7. The unknown plant beside the Rue looks like Lady’s Bedstraw (Galium). Used to stuff mattresses in a bygone era, I like it as a cut flower.

  8. Carolyn the MCHPP sounds like a very good organisation and well worth supporting, the paintings of Maurice Prendergast I was surprised at as in my mind when I read your post I was thinking of beautiful Maine scenery, the painting are still very nice and interesting being full of people and how people enjoyed the coast in his time,

    the gardens are lovely, I too like the white hydrangeas in front of the white house, green and white always look fresh and clean I think, the stone work is amazing and quite beautiful, thanks for sharing, Frances

  9. Love the gardens and the flowers grow so strong and colourful. That playhouse won me over! The paths are also inviting!

  10. I did very much! I recognize one of the houses too!

  11. Wow, the use of stone in so many ways is sensational! I’m noticing stone hardscapes a lot lately–I think that’s my preferred medium. How nice that you were able to spend some time with Jean and visit your old college haunts. I love that cottage!

  12. This reminds me how stone is so much more plentiful in the Northeast than it is in the Midwest. That walled path and the big mass of sundrops are especially nice.

  13. I am really surprised to see what looks like Hydrangea macrophylla growing that far north, but am glad they can do it. I could not imagine a garden without them. BTW, I think I am going to steal that stone floor idea.

  14. What a wonderful day spent with friends…I told Jean once I retire I am coming to visit her in Maine…perhaps we will see each other there as well and you can both show me this lovely state…I have always wanted to spend some time in Maine.

  15. Thanks for taking time out to share you tour. Visiting gardens with like-minded friends is such a pleasure

  16. I’m a huge hydrangea fan, they look spectacular! Not sure I could cope with those temperatures though.

  17. Wonderful garden, beautiful photos, beautiful presentaion:) Greetings

  18. simply beautifully captured shots…lovely!

  19. Wow, your gardens are beautiful, great pictures. I browsed around your site and love all the pictures. Hostas, hydrangeas, ferns, etc….. My ostrich ferns have done well this year with all the rain we’ve had.

    thanks for sharing..


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