Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Garden Visit: Maine Coastal Botanical Gardens

Way back in September, my mom, younger sister and I went to Maine. It was a belated retirement/birthday gift for my mom. We saw and did some amazing things: We ate fresh lobster at Thurston’s Lobster Pound (the best thing I think I have ever eaten – sorry, Mr. Lobster), saw lots of lighthouses, visited the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Community (the last living Shaker community), witnessed the beauty that is Acadia National Park, visited with relatives we had never met before on lovely Deer Isle, drank at some wineries and brewpubs, explored the Farnsworth Museum, did a tour of the Olsen House (where Andrew Wyeth painted some amazing works of art, including the famous “Christina’s World”), and more. One of the highlights for me was the immense and gorgeous Maine Coastal Botanical Gardens. I took almost 200 photos there. It was hard to whittle it down for this blog post.

Here is a map to give a sense of the layout of the gardens. It is so large that there are shuttles that can take you to the main areas of the garden if needed. We didn’t see the ENTIRE property, however, we did manage to see most.

The main area you see when you first leave the Visitor Center and enter the garden is the Great Lawn and Ledge Garden. The grounds were covered in an early morning mist when we first arrived, however, the sun came out and burned the fog away.

The pond is the main focus of the Garden of the Five Senses.

This labyrinth is in the Garden of the Five Senses. The idea is to take off your shoes and walk on the path through the stone labyrinth.

These living walls were really cool. They are outside the Pavilion and I think they are considered part of the Garden of the Five Senses.

I believe this was the Slater Forest Pond.

This Benthamidia Japonica “Square Dance” Dogwood is in the Cleaver Event Lawn and Garden. I love how the leaves are edged in pink and it has these colorful, martian-like pods. At least I assume those are some sort of pods, or maybe it’s a fruit.

To the right of the Great Lawn and Ledge Garden is the Burpee Kitchen Garden. They had lots of pumpkins decorating the entrance and white pumpkins in the fountain in the distance.

Look at the two large pots with the plants with the big leaves in the right of this picture. Close-ups are below it.

I found myself fascinated by this scary-looking plant they had in the big pots. Look at those spikes! Outrageous!

Check out the weird flower. It’s called Solanum Quitoense (Naranjilla).

Originally I thought it might be Cucumis Dipsaceus Wooly Bear (Hedgehog Gourd), based on the sign below, but when I googled it the images that came up didn’t look right. It’s another really cool looking plant, though. I didn’t see it in the pot or else I would’ve taken a picture of it.

The Spouting Whales are rocks that mist water from “spouts” in the center of each rock.

Just before you enter the children’s garden is the Maze Lawn.

I love children’s gardens. They are usually incredibly creative and make me wish I was a kid again. The Bibby and Harold Alfond Children’s Garden is a really neat section of the garden. This marks the entrance to the greenhouse and Mr. McGregor’s Garden (from the Peter Rabbit stories).

I love the over-sized sculptures that make you feel like you are Peter Rabbit’s size.

This is a cute area with a real chicken coup and a clothes line. There was a little girl who was playing at hanging up the wash earlier.

This is a cute little house with a table inside where kids could play. They call it the Coloring Cottage because they have supplies for coloring in there. Check out the green roof.

Another structure with a green roof, plus a windmill. They have Jack’s Beanstalk growing up the windmill.

They had lots of fall scarecrows around that I think kids had helped to make. Check out the adorable kitty fence in the foreground.

There is a structure that makes you feel what it would be like to live in a bird’s nest. These carved goldfinches were near it.

Near the children’s garden is this area that reminded me a bit of a Japanese garden.

There was a colorful boat-load of pumpkins to help celebrate the fall season.

Along an edge of the pond was a small bog garden. I couldn’t resist taking a shot of the carnivorous pitcher plant, even though I have one of my own at home.

This is part of the Haney Hillside Garden. That’s Amsonia Hubrichtii Blue Star Amsonia in the foreground. I love the two-toned color and the wispyness of it.

This is Moss Landing.

These are steps in the Vayo Meditation Garden.

Obviously I was attempting an artistic shot here with the trees reflected in the water basin in the meditation garden. It certainly was a meditative area.

I love Japanese lanterns like this. I really want to find a spot for something like it in my garden.

The last part of the garden that we visited was the Fairy House Village. There are some stone creations in the trees, along with fairy houses that people have built using materials they found there in the forest. It has a magical feel to it. You really feel like there could be fairies amongst the trees.

Here is one of the fairy houses that someone built.

It was fun walking through this area looking for the little houses. Here is one that someone put together inside a hole in one of the stone structures.

So those were the highlights of the Maine Coastal Botanical Gardens. Pretty gosh-darn impressive!!!! The closest garden I can think of to this would be the Oregon Garden in Silverton, OR. That was along the same par in size and quality. If you missed it, you can check out my post on that from 2011.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like a great garden! Thanks for mentioning us, and we hope you'll come back and see what is new in our Garden since 2011.