I have visited many parts of our large country but until last week, I had only spent thirty-six hours in Maine. This past Monday and Tuesday, I joined a PPA (Perennial Plant Association) tour for forty-eight hours, passing through New Hampshire to visit a very special botanical garden and some outstanding perennial nurseries.
Planning for the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, located in Boothbay, began in 1991 but the doors did not open until 2007. I was immediately entranced by the vast sweeps of the plantings. Home gardeners often plant three or five of a kind but here, with vast spaces to fill, groupings of eleven to twenty-five are not uncommon.
The Lerner Garden of the Five Senses is a large space that includes a large pond as well as plants. One side of the pond is a water wall that probably entrances children although they also have a very well designed garden of their own. The water spills over the side and then into the drains below. Close to the visitor center, this garden is also accessible to the disabled. Many of the plantings, particularly those surrounding the visitor center, are blue and white, reflecting the closeness of the site to water.
Bring your hiking muscles if you want to see the Haney Hillside Garden. It is a zig-zag adventure with unique landings and stone benches on which you can rest on your way down to and back from the Vayo Meditation Garden and the bay. Most of these plantings are composed of natives and great care has been taken to provide drainage so that storms do not erode the hillside.
In the meditation garden, a carved stone basin and granite from throughout the state are featured.
Just above the meditation garden is a stone path of beautifully designed intertwining pieces that lead to a lovely bench.
I came away from this garden with ideas for new plant combinations and also with the names and pictures of some plants formerly unknown to me. If you go to Maine, make sure you squeeze in a visit here.