Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden: Part 2



A glimpse through the moon gate into the English-style borders at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden.

Last post I promised you a tour of the sunny part of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden in Seal Harbor on Mt. Desert Island, Maine, USA.  My husband and I spent four days this summer visiting Acadia National Park and public and private gardens on Mt. Desert Island. 

To see the beautiful photos in my Acadia post, Scenes from Mt. Desert Island and Acadia National Park, click here.  For photos of Asticou Azalea Garden and the Thuya Garden, both in Northeast Harbor, click here.  My last post toured the Chinese-inspired woodland of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden: click here to see the photos.

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.



The bottle gate in the previous post, which was Abby Aldrich Rockefeller’s  preferred entrance to the flower garden, is just visible in the back of this photo.  Visitors pass through it from the woodland side into an oval garden surrounding a reflecting pool with the enormous perennial beds spreading out to the north.

As mentioned previously, the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden is a private garden in Seal Harbor on Mt. Desert Island, Maine.  It is owned by David Rockefeller and was originally created between 1926 and 1930 by the well known garden designer Beatrix Farrand and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, David’s mother and the wife of John D. Rockefeller, Jr.   Reservations are required to visit, and tickets, which go on sale May 31, are very limited.

Our visit to the sunny flower borders is captured in the photos below, enjoy.



After wandering through the woods, the sunny gardens are a startling contrast.  Although massive, they are hidden from the shady side by walls and have the feel of a secret garden. 


eyrieAccording to landscape historian Patrick Chasse, the flower gardens were originally planned as cutting gardens for the Eyrie (photo above), the Rockefeller’s 100-room mansion, which was later torn down.   Plantings were calculated by the number of rooms, their colors, and the number of vases to be filled.  The whole area was flowers with minor access paths for servants.  



Looking north towards the moon gate.  The lawn was added in 1936 when the maintenance of the flowers-only garden became too much even for the Rockefellers. 



Map of the gardens from the brochure provided.  The lawn area is bordered by a rectangular gravel path.  Outside that path is a wide flower border split by a low rectangular granite wall and again enclosed on the outside by gravel paths, which front even wider borders extending out to the walls enclosing the whole garden.



View of the northern end of the gardens.  Even with the addition of the lawn, the remaining gardens are huge.  They are also gorgeous and impeccably maintained.



View of the southern end of the gardens.


You can see the low granite wall splitting the flower bed between the gravel paths.  It is covered with clematis and other blooming vines.

The very wide gardens on the east side in front of the pink Chinese wall.
Some annuals are used but the plants are mostly perennials.




img_1652We exited the garden into the serene Maine woods that envelope it, dazzled by the amazing flower borders we saw.




Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name and phone number to  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.  Please indicate if you will be shopping at the nursery or are mail order only.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

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.

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4 Responses to “Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden: Part 2”

  1. I have visited the Asticou Azalea Garden and the Thuya Garden on many occasions, but hadn’t known about this garden. Thanks for sharing your visit — definitely a place that I need to add to my must-see list.

  2. Peggy Parkinson Says:

    Ed and I go to Acadia every other year and absolutely love it. We have never heard of the gardens in Northeast Harbor or Seal Harbor. How did we miss this? Thank you so much for posting these pictures. These places are on the top of our list for next year’s adventure in Maine. I need to get into the habit of going to your website more often Carolyn!

    • Peggy, There are lots of posts on my blog about gardens in Maine. Just use the search bar on the right sidebar of the home page and put in Maine gardens. While you are there, maybe you should just subscribe to my blog by entering your email address in the subscription bar. Then the posts come automatically. Carolyn

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