Archive for Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

Natural Rock Garden Seating

Posted in garden to visit, How to, landscape design with tags , , on August 9, 2012 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

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.

20120805-144035.jpgNatural rock seating in the Rose and Perennial Garden at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.

As I mentioned in my previous post on hydrangeas, I visited the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens (CMBG) in July with Donna from Garden Walk Garden Talk. This wasn’t my first visit, and if you want to read my original post click here. This visit was more focused because I came with a mission. I am designing an island in a public road and was looking for ideas for natural rock seating.

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CMBG Lerner Garden of the Five Senses

If you are looking for ways to incorporate boulders and rocks into your garden, there is no better place to get design ideas than CMBG. The whole garden is full of gorgeous stones, most of them from Maine quarries and some found on the site. Finding stones on site is easy when you are on the Maine coast—the ground has more rocks than soil. But to create such unusual and well integrated garden seating takes talent. I want to share my photographs with you in case you are looking to create natural seating in your own garden.

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Seating in both public and private gardens should be sited in a way that directs visitors to an important view or encourages them to enjoy a new perspective while they sit. When choosing rock, I am partial to rounded boulders, fully integrated into the landscape to the point where you almost can’t see them. However, this approach would not be appropriate in a public botanical garden where you want tired visitors to be able to easily locate a resting spot. The following photos were all taken at the CMBG and show a variety of ways to use rock as garden seating:

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20120808-150327.jpgThis simple bench provides an overlook of the Slater Forest Pond, which was full of frogs and dragonflies.

20120808-150522.jpgThis is a full couch and chairs positioned along the beautiful Shoreland Trail.

All the seating shown above is quite beautiful and appropriate to the site, but I wanted to save some of my favorite designs for last:

20120808-150914.jpgThis single boulder is so well integrated into its site both by the other rocks and the sedum growing around it.

20120808-151144.jpgAgain a boulder that looks like the designers built the other hardscape around it in the Lerner Garden of the Five Senses.

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20120808-151700.jpgWhat a wonderful place to sit and enjoy the water view along the Shoreland Trail.

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20120808-152328.jpgThe rocks look like they could have just fallen into place to create this obviously comfortable “couch” in the Giles Rhododendron Garden.

20120808-152633.jpgA natural chaise lounge near the Cleaver Event Lawn and Garden.

I came away from my visit to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens with some great ideas for my road design project and with renewed respect for this wonderful Maine garden treasure.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: The nursery is closed until the fall. Thanks for a great spring season!

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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.

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

Posted in garden to visit with tags on February 18, 2011 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

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.

Visitor Center, photo Barbara Freeman, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

As the grays and browns of late winter replace the snow, it is uplifting to look back on the amazing botanical garden I visited in September.  I was in Maine for my birthday and, if that wasn’t present enough, my husband and son took me garden visiting to Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay, Maine, US.  Even though I come from the mid-Atlantic, home to many of the best public gardens in the US, and have visited gardens all over the world, I was wowed by this new but impeccably executed garden by the sea.

Children’s Garden, photo William Cullina, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens opened officially in June of 2007 after 16 years of meticulous planning by an incredibly dedicated group of Maine residents and the talented experts they hired.  After searching since 1991, this intrepid group purchased 128 acres of pristine land with 3800 feet of tidal shore frontage in 1996, using their own homes as collateral.  An additional gift in 2005 brought the total to 248 acres and almost a mile of shoreline, saving it all from development.

Planting began in 2001 and the impressive Maine cottage style visitor center (photo at top) opened in 2007.  This summer saw the opening of the magical children’s garden (photo above) themed to highlight children’s literature with a Maine connection.

Kitchen Garden, photo Barbara Freeman, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

Walking around the designed portions of the gardens was such a pleasure because both the overall design of each area and also the attention to individual details is exceptional.  The light and airy cafe opens onto an elegant kitchen garden (photo above) planted with herbs, vegetables, edible flowers, berries, and an orchard of hardy heirloom apple and pear trees.  Creative and beautiful stonework graces every area of the 15 acres of ornamental gardens (see photos below).

Rose and Perennial Garden, photo William Cullina, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

Each area of the landscape from the cottage style rose garden (photo above) to the more naturalistic rhododendron garden (photo below) was a treat for the eyes.  And each individual plant within these gardens was impeccably grown (collage below).

Obviously I focused on shade plants!

If that description isn’t effusive enough, what I treasured the most was my walk along the miles of trails showcasing the untouched waterfront and woodlands that are quintessentially Maine.  The views of the tidal inlet are spectacular (photo of cove below).  The pristine woodlands are something rarely found in the rest of the continental US (photo of trail below).

Huckleberry Cove, photo William Cullina, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

Huckleberry Cove Trail, photo William Cullina, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

It is hard to imagine if you haven’t seen it, but every inch of the trails, woodlands, and especially the rocks is covered with moss (photo below).  As you look closer, you realize that every rock holds a garden of its own more beautiful than any human, no matter how talented, could create (see collage below).  I would visit Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens just to see the magnificence of nature untouched.

What Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens has accomplished in the short period of time it has been in existence is nothing short of remarkable.  A beautifully designed and executed ornamental garden set like a jewel in a spectacular natural setting: it doesn’t get much better than that.

Carolyn


Notes: If you want to know more about Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens and see more beautiful photos, click here.  I have also added Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens to my sidebar under Places to Visit so you will always be able to find it.   International visitors to the US should consider adding the State of Maine to your itinerary—one of the most beautiful places on earth.

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.), just click here.

Nursery Happenings: I am currently accepting orders for snowdrops, including  mail orders.  For the catalogue and order information, click here.  I am taking reservations for my Hellebore Seminars for the Totally Obsessed.  For the brochure and registration information, click here.  I have four spaces left for Charles Cresson’s Snowdrops and Other Winter Interest Plants Seminar.  For the brochure and registration information, click here.

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