Archive for Cafe Miranda

Gardens in the Watershed Tour 2018 Part One

Posted in garden to visit, Garden Tour, Maine with tags , , , , , , , , on October 13, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 A typical house on the streets of downtown Rockland, Maine

Every year I attend a garden tour in Maine, and this year it was the Georges River Land Trust’s 27th annual “Gardens in the Watershed Tour“.  Each year the tour highlights gardens in a different area of the Georges River watershed, and this year it featured six gardens in Rockland, Owls Head, and South Thomaston.  The gardens were beautiful as was the scenery viewed while traveling between properties in this undeveloped area of Maine.  Five of the gardens are profiled here.  The final garden was so magical that it will get its own post.

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 cell 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.

 

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The first garden was relatively small, running along the side and filling the space behind a house in downtown Rockland, Maine.  It was lovingly cared for by the owner and perfectly showcased the beauty of perennial gardens in Maine:

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I loved these pale yellow, double daisies and lusted after the blue delphiniums that thrive in Maine but not in hot and humid Pennsylvania.

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the vegetable garden

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Next we visited a working farm, which produces most of the vegetables for Cafe Miranda, a popular restaurant in Rockland, profiled at the end of my last post.  To read that post, click here.  It consisted of 14,800 square feet of permanently established raised beds.  The beds are maintained organically, predominantly with hand tools.  All the vegetables are started from seed.  I have never seen such an orderly and well-thought-out vegetable garden:

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The third garden, located in Owl’s Head on the scenic shoreline of Penobscot Bay, had a Pennsylvania connection: it was owned by a former Executive Director of Bartram’s Garden in Philadelphia, profiled on my blog here.  It featured mostly native plants in pleasing combinations among boulders and swales:

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.‘Rozanne’ hardy geranium

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My favorite part was this lovely view of Ash Island in Penobscot Bay.

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The next garden was also on the shoreline in Owl’s Head, encompassing Dodge Point with an easterly view of Penobscot Bay and overlooking Owls Head Harbor to the west.  The property had a beautiful woodland filled with native plants as well as cultivated areas around the buildings and in pockets of soil among the ledges:

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The woodland was filled with this broad-leafed, native aster.

.A beach on the Penobscot Bay side of the point.  Morning fog was just clearing when we arrived.

.The view of Owls Head Harbor, home to over 60 working lobster boats and two active lobster pounds.

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It was great to see this native beach rose, probably Rosa carolina, rather than the ubiquitous and invasive, non-native rugosa roses.

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A flowering sedum echoes the color of the lichen-covered ledges.

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I saw this beautiful hosta there, but unfortunately the owner didn’t know the name.

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More plantings in front of the house among the ledges overlooking the bay.

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The final garden profiled here was a grand estate built on a thirty-acre former sheep farm on the shoreline in South Thomaston.  The perennial gardens behind the house were lush, but the harsh midday sun ruined my photos.  However, it was the ocean views and the house itself that drew the most attention:

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The grand driveway sweeps up a hill to the house in the distance.

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The view from the house across the lawn to Penobscot Bay.

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After viewing these lovely gardens and touring this untouched and beautiful area of Maine, it was back to the reality of tourism…..

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Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name, location, and phone number to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  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.

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.

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The Olson House in Cushing Maine

Posted in garden to visit, Maine with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2018 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 Andrew Wyeth’s iconic and enigmatic painting Christina’s World

Every year I attend a garden tour in Maine, and this year it was the Georges River Land Trust’s 27th annual “Gardens in the Watershed Tour“, featuring six gardens in Rockland, Owls Head, and South Thomaston.  Arriving in the area the day before the tour, I decided to visit the Olson House in Cushing, Maine, a National Historic Landmark and the house depicted in Andrew Wyeth’s Christina’s World above.  Although what follows does not profile a garden, I hope that you will enjoy seeing this amazing place.

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 cell 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.

 

The Olson house and barn look very much the same as they were depicted by Wyeth in 1948.

Although I had considered visiting this remote spot many times, I was inspired to finally make the trip after reading A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline (Harper Collins 2017).  Combining historical facts with fiction, Kline’s novel details the life of Anna Christina Olson, the woman in Wyeth’s mysterious painting.  I found the novel gripping and was amazed by the author’s ability to portray, from Christina’s point of view, her life of poverty, debilitating illness, and almost complete isolation .  For more information on A Piece of the World, read the 2017 New York Times book review by clicking here.

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The Olson House is in an area of Maine that is still quite remote and undeveloped.  The view from the house towards Maple Juice Cove probably looked much the same during Christina Olson’s lifetime.

Christiana Olson, who lived in the Olson House with her brother Alvaro until she died in 1968, was born there in 1893 and contracted a debilitating and undiagnosed illness early in her life that eventually left her unable to walk. Into this bleak existence, which is excruciatingly well-portrayed from Christina’s perspective in the book, came Andrew Wyeth in 1939.  He befriended Christina and her brother and created almost 300 paintings of the house, both inside and out, as well as its inhabitants over the course of Christina’s lifetime.  Wyeth said of the house:

I just couldn’t stay away from there. I did other pictures while I knew them but I’d always seem to gravitate back to the house. … It was Maine.

A New York Times travel piece, describing a visit to the Olson House, calls it Wyeth’s Giverny.  To read the article, “A Stroll Through Wyeth’s Giverny”, click here.

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The little garden in the middle right of the photo contains the only cultivated space on the property.

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Though the garden is small, it is certainly compelling when surrounded by the bleak presence of the house.

The Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, Maine, acquired the Olson House in 1991.  Sometime after the death of Alvaro and Christina Olson in 1967 and 1968, the house was cleared of almost all its contents, so the inside of the house is as desolate as the outside.  However, I highly recommend a guided tour as our wonderful guide brought the history of the house, as well as all its inhabitants since it was built in the late 1700s, alive for us.  After the tour we were free to wander the house where photos of many of Wyeth’s paintings are displayed in the rooms where they were painted.

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While we waited for the tour to begin, we walked down this path across the street from the house to the tiny graveyard where Christina Olson and Andrew Wyeth are buried.

.This stone marks the graves of both Christina and Alvaro Olson.

.This simple gravestone says Andrew Wyeth 1917 to 2009.

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The Olson house is open Wednesdays through Sundays noon to 5 pm from Memorial Day weekend through Columbus  Day.   Tours are on the hour with the last tour at 4 pm.  For more information, click here.

After your visit to remote Cushing, you can re-enter the bustle of the 21st century in the dynamic, art-filled town of Rockland and eat at two of my favorite restaurants, Primo and Cafe Miranda, pictured below from a 2015 visit.

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Cafe Miranda, 15 Oak Street, Rockland, Maine, 207-594-2034, reservations recommended, extensive menu, the coconut curry mussels are the best I have ever had, but everything is delicious!

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Primo, 2 Main Street, Rockland, Maine, 207-596-0770, make reservations months ahead (ask for Ed as your server), they grow most of their ingredients on site, a lifetime dining experience!

 

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name, location, and phone number to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  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.

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.

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