2013 Camden (Maine) House & Garden Tour Part 1

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.

Laite Beach, Camden, Maine Laite Beach, Camden Harbor, Maine

I spend time on an island near Portland each summer, and I have been admiring from afar the beautiful private gardens that seem to be everywhere along the Maine coast  This year I decided to venture to the mainland and go to a couple of the many garden tours listed in the July 2013 issue of Downeast Magazine. Earlier in the summer, I went to a tour in Brunswick, which you can read about here.  On July 18, a friend and I attended the 66th Annual Camden Garden Club House & Garden Tour in Camden, Maine. 


Camden HarborCamden Harbor (unfortunately there is invasive Japanese knotweed in the foreground).

Camden is a charming New England seacoast town in the midcoast region of Maine about two hours north of Portland.  Because we had never explored that area, we decided to go the day before the tour and do some sightseeing.  We walked around the downtown, which is lovely but quite crowded with tourists and traffic.  Thanks to our hosts at the Towne Motel, we spent the afternoon swimming at Laite Beach, a beautiful spot only blocks from downtown.  Luckily it doesn’t seem to have been discovered by the casual visitor, and the water was quite warm for Maine.  That night we had a fabulous dinner at Fresh, a restaurant on the harbor also recommended by our hosts.  Here are some more photos of the Camden area:


Camden Harbor, MaineCamden Harbor


Camden MaineA church in Camden, quintessential New England.


Towne Motel, Camden, MaineTowne Motel in Camden, nothing fancy but economically priced with very helpful owners and a delicious continental breakfast.


Rockport Harbor, MaineRockport Harbor is right next to Camden and several of the gardens on the tour were in this area.


Rockport Harbor, MaineRockport Harbor


Rockport Harbor, MaineRockport Harbor

We took the tour the next day, which was bright and sunny so not so great for taking photographs.  At first I was dismayed because there were only six gardens, but I forgot we were touring the inside of the houses too.  Having that added dimension was so much fun as you rarely get to see gardens from the inside looking out.  Also I am sure that unlike me many tour participants were more interested in the inside of the house than the outside.  The tour was very well planned with houses and gardens of all types.  It was also logistically flawless with a great map and descriptions, very helpful signage directing you to each garden, well thought out parking and even shuttles in hard to access gardens, and knowledgeable and friendly garden club members to answer questions.  


Camden Garden TourThe Anderson garden in Rockport has a beautiful and unusual sculptural awning.


Camden Garden TourLooking out from under the Anderson’s awning.

Tour participants could photograph the gardens but understandably no photos could be taken inside the houses.  That means that I can’t share with you the gorgeous interiors, which were the highlight of several of the properties.  I have also split this post into two parts because three of the gardens were nice enough to merit more than a few photos.  This post will cover four of the six gardens, and the remaining two will be in Part 2.


Camden Garden tourPleasant View Farm used to be an apple orchard, and the 1828 cape and barn housed migrant apple pickers.


Camden Garden tourOut back is an attractive gazebo.


Camden Garden tourThe back deck at Pleasant View Farm has a wonderful view of Vinalhaven and Hurricane Islands.


Camden Garden tourRight in downtown Camden is this alpine chalet designed for optimum energy conservation and minimal maintenance.  The inside was beautiful with a cathedral ceiling, spiral staircase, lots of wood, and interesting art.


Camden Garden tourIn keeping with the low maintenance and sustainability objectives, the lawn and driveway have been replaced with gravel.  Unfortunately, the sun was so strong that it washed out the photo, but the gravel was very attractive.  This is something I would like to do at my house.


Camden Garden tourA one-room writer’s hideway behind the house is surrounded by gardens.


DSCN2754A sculpture in the herb garden.


Einsel gardenThe Einsel garden in the Rockport countryside is surrounded by blueberry fields and woods.


Einsel property, Camden HillsThe view from the deck over the blueberry fields towards the Camden Hills and Penobscot Bay.


Einsel gardenExtensive perennial gardens fill the sunny area in back.


Einsel gardenThe most beautiful parts of the Einsel property are the shade gardens that surround two sides of the house (now why do I think that?).


Einsel gardenThe shade gardens are intensively planted.


DSCN2726The back entrance to the shade gardens.


Einsel gardenGarden room overlooking the shady areas.


DSCN2737View from the garden room.


Photos of the remaining two gardens will be in the next post.  I highly recommend that anyone in the area attend next year’s Camden House and Garden Tour on July 17, 2014.  I intend to if I can.



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.

33 Responses to “2013 Camden (Maine) House & Garden Tour Part 1”

  1. It’s fun to see these Maine landscapes Carolyn. It’s a place I always wanted to visit. And yes, imagine you being drawn toward the Einsel shade gardens!

  2. karen cavallo Says:

    Thanks for these photos Carolyn. I enjoy visiting coastal Maine for its spectacular scenery as well and am often envious of their short but stunning garden season. It seems to me the plants thrive exceptionally well in this area. I have always wondered if its proximity to the ocean provides nutrients to the soil that benefit plants overall? It seems to be the case in many NJ coastal gardens as well. Any thoughts about this?

    • Karen, I agree with you the gardens in Maine are unusually beautiful. I hadn’t thought about the ocean though. When I lived in Maine I felt that though the season was short, there were so many less pests and diseases than in PA. The cold winters kill things off and the short summers don’t allow bad stuff to thrive. The ocean also contributes good air circulation and the soil is generally better in Maine because it is less disturbed. All round it is a more pristine environment. Carolyn

  3. Hi Carolyn, Love these photos. I haven’t been to Camden in 30 years but have fond memories. Cheryl

  4. Just beautiful! Love the shade garden! Thank you!

  5. Really nice tour Carolyn and it is so representative of what Maine has to offer the tourists and visitors. I just love that studio, but I bet you knew I would say that. I always wanted to build myself one if I get some property. It is perfect for writing, but would need light for painting. Fine for architectural drawings though. I also love the scenery in your images, but you knew I would say that too. It is a place rich in culture, architecture and ocean/ bayside living.

  6. I also think the Einsel shade garden is most beautiful! This is a beautiful part of the country. I love your shots of Camden Harbor.

  7. Hi Carolyn. Now you are in my neighborhood. I grew up in Warren just south of Camden and Rockport. If you are still in the area ask about the Childrens’ Chapel.

  8. That Towne Motel looks so quaint! The whole area seems picturesque–a great place for a summer vacation. It kind of reminds me of Door County, here in Wisconsin. A very casual, quaint, getaway destination.

    • Beth, The Towne Motel is an old time motel right on Route One within in easy walking distance of Camden. It is better to walk into the town because driving and parking is difficult with the masses of tourists. However, the outskirts and surrounding areas are very quiet and beautiful. Carolyn

  9. I visited Camden a couple of years ago in Oct. and loved it. Went up to Mt. Battie (sp?). You’re too young to know that the movie “Peyton Place” was filmed there and I fell in love with the scenery then years ago. Thanks for sharing these great photos.

  10. New England looks much prettier than Old England it the moment – it’s pouring down with rain during our holiday weekend.

  11. Maine is somewhere I would love to visit, and even more so after your garden tour! Thanks for sharing your impressions.

  12. I haven’t been in Maine since I was about 10 years old. I love these New England landscapes. Looks like a great trip.

  13. I still want to visit Maine as I have never been there…I love these gardens but my fav was that little Writer’s Studio.

  14. I love that writers hideaway.
    We call those awnings shade sails here.

  15. Ellen Blair Says:

    Hi there, This is AMAZING!! We miss you guys, and so happy you included us in this wonderful story!

    Love, Ellen and Lee

  16. Carolyn, I’m finally getting a chance to catch up on weeks of blog posts. When I lived in Lewiston in the ’80s, I was known for getting in the car and driving out to Camden at the drop of a hat. I had so many photos of Camden Harbor from the top of Mount Battie in every season (including winter), that I finally stopped taking my camera with me.
    The Anderson garden awning is a classic design from Moss Tents, which for many years had a factory in Camden. I camped and backpacked for about 20 years with a Moss Tent that I bought in Camden as a factory second. (It came with the same guarantee as a full-priced version and its problem was that *too much* waterproofing had been applied to the floor of the tent!)

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