Archive for Plainview Farm

Friends, Food, Flowers, and Fun

Posted in garden to visit with tags , , , , on December 28, 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.

‘Heavenly Blue’ morning glory (in the garden at Pineland Farms), a plant Jean has often featured on her blog.

In considering several subjects for a holiday week post, I decided that there couldn’t be anything more appropriate than describing a summer day spent with a new friend visiting gardens, eating, and shopping for plants—sounds like heaven, doesn’t it?  You may recall that in April, Jean Potuchek from the blog Jean’s Garden (and Jan from Thanks for Today) visited my nursery and gardens and toured Chanticleer with me.  When I was in Maine in early July, Jean invited me to visit her, and this post describes our day.


Jean standing in the future site of her Serenity Garden, often discussed on her blog and now a reality.

Before I get to photos of our day, I want to recount a little side story that illustrates how our minds can go down weird paths (at least mine can).  In a total role reversal, my children always give me  a concerned look when I refer to any garden blogger as a friend, saying: “You can’t be friends with someone you haven’t met in person.”  And I ask you, what would you say to your driving age daughter if she said to you: “Mom, I’ve met this really nice person on the internet,  and she has invited me to visit her at her home in remote rural Maine.” 

As I was driving to Jean’s house, I thought of this as the road twisted and turned deeper and deeper into the countryside, went from asphalt to gravel to dirt, and finally ended in about the most remote dead end I could think of with no neighbors in sight.  No one knew I had gone there, and no one would know whether I returned home because all my family had left Maine for Pennsylvania that week.

Jean in her beautiful and remote garden in East Poland, Maine.

Of course, I had met Jean before, but that was in a public place, and she could have been softening me up, right?  My worst fears were confirmed when, shortly after I arrived, she offered me poisoned strawberries from her lawn (well, they could have been) and invited me inside her home.  You will be relieved to know that all my fears proved groundless.  The garden blogging world is such a unique community, and I consider many garden bloggers friends, I just don’t say it aloud in front of my children.

The Pineland Farms business campus, which includes the market and cafe, is well designed and maintained.  I wish I had been able to get better photos, but the day was very bright and sunny.

The only good shot I got of Jean’s lovely garden appears above, but it was so fun to see all the plants I had been reading about on her blog.  After the tour, we drove to Pineland Farms in New Gloucester, Maine.  The 5,000 acre Pineland Farms property encompasses a working farm, artisan dairy, hydroponic greenhouses, business campus, equestrian facility, farm market, cafe, recreational facilities, including hiking, biking, and skiing, and even guest houses.  For more on Pineland Farms, read Jean’s post.  After eating a delicious lunch made from the farm’s own products at the cafe and purchasing vegetables and farm made cheese at the market, we headed to the ornamental garden for a look around.

Views of the exterior enclosure of the Garden at Pineland Farms.  It feels like you are walking into a secret garden.

I was very charmed by what we found.  The garden encompasses one acre with 1/4 mile of paved paths.  It is mostly filled with perennials interspersed with trees and shrubs, but there is also an extensive vegetable garden.  Although the layout is formal and the maintenance is meticulous, it has a very accessible feel—like anything you saw there could be attempted successfully at home.  And I saw many plant combinations and design ideas there that I would love to try in my own gardens.

The formal brick paths, which are very easy to navigate, wind themselves around the exterior of the garden (top two photos) and across the center (bottom photo).  Although the site is flat, the curved paths and carefully places trees and shrubs create garden rooms and a sense of discovery.

The side paths are gravel and include some shade gardens.

A key element that holds this garden together is the repetition of large groupings of a limited palette of perennials appropriate to the season.  In early July, it was meadowsweet, Japanese iris, astilbe, and daylilies, among others.  These groupings unite all the small gardens and the large selection of perennials displayed.  If you scroll back through the photos above, I hope you can see what I mean.  Here are photos of some of these key plants:

Double meadowsweet, Filipendula ulmaria ‘Flore Pleno’

Japanese iris, Iris ensata ‘Shakkyo’

Japanese iris and ferns

The large plantings of dwarf Chinese astilbe, Astilbe chinensis ‘Pumila’, looked gorgeous with the brick paths.

Daylilies, I think Hemerocallis ‘Stella de Oro’.

In addition to the ornamental gardens, there is a very pretty herb garden and an extensive vegetable garden:

Various lavenders in the herb garden.

Produce from the vegetable garden is sold in the market.

As we left the formal garden, we had a panoramic view of the Pineland Farms dairy operation.  The bucolic beauty is typical of this part of rural Maine.

Plainview Farm plant nursery in North Yarmouth, Maine

After looking at all those gorgeous plants, it was time to buy some.  Jean took me to one of her favorite nurseries, Plainview Farm in North Yarmouth, Maine.  Not only do they have a great selection of enticing perennials, but they also have extensive display gardens.  Well worth the visit if you are in the area.  I’ll end the post with photos of two plants that intrigued me:

Yes, I am a sucker for Japanese iris: Iris ensata ‘Temple Bells’

I have never seen a sea holly this blue: Eryngium ‘Big Blue’.


If you would like to look at my photos all year round, please consider buying my 2012 calendar, available worldwide.  For details, click here.  It is 25% off through January 6, 2012, with the code ONEMORETHING at checkout.

Happy New Year to my nursery customers, my blog readers,  Jean, and garden bloggers everywhere,  Carolyn


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.


Nursery Happenings: To view the 2012 Snowdrop Catalogue, click here. I am currently accepting orders—snowdrops are available mail order. 

Look for an exciting new hellebore offering in February 2012.  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.

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