Camden (Maine) Garden Tour 2014: Part 2

Nursery News:  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  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.


Camden Garden tour Avena 7-17-2014 11-44-14 AMThe Avena Botanicals apothecary and shop

This post is the second in a series of posts on the Camden House and Garden Tour put on annually in July by the Camden Garden Club.  To read the first post, click here.  This year’s tour was the 67th annual event, quite an impressive history.  Next year is the 100th anniversary of the founding of the garden club.  To honor the occasion, the tour will feature “the most-loved homes and gardens from our annual tour dating all the way back to 1948….[including] grand summer ‘cottages’ and gardens, so iconic to the Maine coast.”   It will take place on July 16, 2015, and I hope to be there!


Camden Garden tour Avena 7-17-2014 11-28-53 AMThe Avena apothecary and barn

The second garden that we visited on the tour was also in Rockport in an area of fields and farms.  However, this property is a working farm used to produce the natural remedies and body-care products sold by Avena Botanicals Herbal Apothecary. Avena is a 32 acre certified biodynamic farm of which three acres are intensively planted with over 175 varieties of medicinal herbs.  It was begun in 1985 by herbalist and author Deb Soule and moved to its current picturesque site in 1995.  Over 100 hand-crafted products, sold there and by mail order, are produced on site almost exclusively from plants grown on the farm. 


Camden Garden tour Avena 7-17-2014 11-29-23 AM.

Although not a typical garden tour garden, Avena’s working farm is planted with design as well as practicality in mind.  It was a wonderful change to wander through the peaceful and relaxing areas surrounding the farmhouse and see all the well-labeled medicinal plants covered with butterflies, honeybees, and native insects.  The apothecary shop and gardens are open to the public weekdays from May through September, 12 to 5 pm.  If you are traveling in the Camden area, Avena is well worth a stop.


Camden Garden tour Avena 7-17-2014 11-37-49 AMAvena founder Deb Soule and her mother greet garden tour participants.


Verbascum olypicum, Greek mulleinThe flowers and seeds of Greek mullein are used medicinally, but it also makes quite a striking addition to the garden.


Camden Garden tour Avena 7-17-2014 11-59-14 AMMexican sunflower


Camden Garden tour Avena 7-17-2014 11-23-01 AMThis circular garden surrounded by a gravel path is filled with many kinds of thyme and lavender.


Camden Garden tour Avena 7-17-2014 11-22-49 AM.


Nursery Happenings: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is closed for the summer and will reopen in early September.  You can sign up to receive notification emails by sending your full name and phone number to

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 7a. 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 Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

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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.

8 Responses to “Camden (Maine) Garden Tour 2014: Part 2”

  1. Hello Carolyn,
    Thanks for this. You’re now the third of the half dozen or so blogs I follow that has run a little feature on medicinal plants in the last fortnight… a theme I’m really keen to explore, after a talk to our gardening club 2 months ago…Isn’t it strange how themes seem to recur, as though a prompt to explore a subject in more depth. I must check out their website,

  2. I was intrigued by the barn and house which I would love to see…I adored the purple trim and that thyme circle.

  3. I very much like their circle garden filled with herbs. I visited one recently that raised medicinal herbs too. Not only useful, but pretty as well.

  4. I love seeing familiar places on your blog. My Mom worked for a little while at Avena. Lovely pics.

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