2013 Camden (Maine) House & Garden Tour Part 3

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.

Rockport HarborThe last garden on the Camden Garden tour has sweeping views of Rockport Harbor.

Before I get to the post, I want to let the customers of Carolyn’s Shade Gardens know that we will be reopening for the fall in mid-September.  As usual there is a packed schedule including low maintenance gardening seminars, a double hellebore offer, and an opportunity to buy shrubs and vines.  The first open house sale is scheduled for Septmebr 28, and cyclamen breeder John Lonsdale will be making a guest appearance with his gorgeous, fall-blooming hardy cyclamen.  You will start getting emails shortly with all the details.


Rockport HarborAnother view of Rockport Harbor from the Holmes garden.

This is the last installment of the posts on the gardens featured on the 66th Annual Camden House and Garden Tour, which I attended in July.  For photos of the Camden and Rockport, Maine, area and profiles of the first four gardens on the tour, read part 1 by clicking here.  Part 2, which you can find here, features the fifth garden, a classic Maine cape with a gorgeous perennial garden.  This post will focus on the Holmes house and garden, a palatial estate covering five acres overlooking Rockport Harbor.


DSCN2670The entrance to the Holmes garden is quite lovely with this handsome, stone-pillared gate opening onto a handmade bridge bordered by woods.


DSCN2671As we crossed the bridge, we came upon this dwelling, which we thought was the featured house, but it turned out to be the caretaker’s cottage.  I want that job!

The Holmes property is located at the end of Sea Street, a road bordering scenic Rockport Harbor  The house is newly built to resemble 20th century shingle-style Maine “cottages” (read grand estates).  It has magnificent views of the harbor from every vantage point as well as extensive gardens and very impressive stone work.  The inside of the house was gorgeous too but could not be photographed.  Although I prefer a much simpler lifestyle, this house and garden were fun to tour and a great source of ideas.  Enjoy the photos:


DSCN2677the Holmes cottage


DSCN2674Looking out from the house, across the perennial gardens and lawn, through the encircling edge of woodland to the harbor.


DSCN2679Between the house and the ocean are massive shrub and perennial gardens .


DSCN2683A lot of the plants were shade plants at their peak.  I wish I could have gotten more photos, but it was noon on a bright and sunny day, great for viewing but not so hot for photography.


DSCN2706Looking down from the porch that extends the length of the house to an elegant circular garden in the center of the lawn area with the harbor as backdrop.


DSCN2703Up on the porch looking out.


Particularly notable in the design of the house and gardens was all the beautiful stonework in the extensive walls, stairs, and patios.  Stone was used especially well in the pool area and the pond and stream that surround it.


DSCN2714Stone stairs leading to an elegant pergola over the full shade garden on the front of the house.



DSCN2686Stairs on the side of the house along the stream on the way to the pool.


DSCN2687The pool area: a naturally planted stream runs under and on both sides of the wide stone bridge in the middle of the photo.


DSCN2689Looking down the stream with the harbor in the background.


DSCN2688The boulder stream pours over several small waterfalls as it heads down the hill and under the stone slab to the pond.


DSCN2691The waterlily pond lined with boulders.


DSCN2696Looking back at the house from the harbor’s edge.


DSCN2692A path leads through the woods at the edge of the harbor to a stone couch with a view over the water to the open ocean.  I could have stayed there all day.

Click here, Camden House and Garden Tour , for information about next year’s tour on July 17, 2014.



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: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens will reopen shortly with a packed schedule including low maintenance seminars, an open house on September 28, a double hellebore offer, and a chance to order shrubs and vines.  Customers on my email list will get an email shortly.

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 Camden (Maine) House & Garden Tour Part 3”

  1. Such a lovely house and garden!

  2. Beautiful!! 🙂

  3. With views like those, you hardly need a garden. I liked the way some of the views were glimpse s through trees, framing a view is so important rather than just leaving it completely open. It makes you look and appreciate it more.

  4. This has been an interesting series of posts. I like the circular garden and that stone seating looking over the water.

  5. Love the garden for the views of the harbor alone, Carolyn. That circular garden is stunning. P. x

  6. The Holmes “cottage” is on a par with some of the Newport “cottages”! What eye candy! Thanks so much for the great photos!

  7. Very beautiful property and grounds. I would have loved to see it, inside and out. I agree with you, i too prefer a more simple lifestyle. That house looks like it holds a lot of stately parties!

  8. Bonnie Devine Says:

    All we need is millions and millions of dollars and we could have this too! Quite beautiful, but not at all personal, I don’t think. I’d much rather visit all of our quirky little gardens which are designed and grown with love (and a bit of obsessive/compulsive behavior!)

  9. Hello Carolyn,
    What a fabulous series of photos – amazing house, location and garden. And that stone couch is glorious. Best wishes for your new season,

  10. Wow Carolyn what a grand place…I love porches overlooking the water…well my hopes to visit your nursery this fall have been dashed. As I figured work will interfere. I have to travel to our state capital for a week of training in late September, and another project in October. At least we know when all the training is that is required this year. So looking forward to May.

  11. Lovely place, Carolyn. That “couch” almost looks soft and cushy! I think I would have taken a dip in that pool!

  12. WOW!!! would love to experience

  13. The house reminds me of Dallas or Dynasty that I used to watch as a kid. I can’t remember what their gardens were like though.

  14. It’s beautiful…as are your photos. I do prefer to just enjoy the ‘natural’ Maine landscape when in Maine — be it the lakes or the coast. But I guess if I had the kind of $$ I’d be tempted to adorn my ‘cottage’ (more like mansion!) with gorgeous gardens, streams, pools, etc. To me, the view of the bay tops everything else, though:)

  15. I agree, I would not mind living in the caretaker’s cottage! The main house is beautiful, and the garden and water views are breathtaking. I love all the stone work. I can imagine what a grand lifestyle the family that originally owned this place must have had.

  16. Hi Carolyn
    We are moving to a village named Holmes Chapel, its not exactly as picturesque as these images you show us but its pretty cool in an old mannie sort of way. Love Rockport Harbor.

  17. I don’t know why more pools aren’t designed to look like part of the greater landscape.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: