Maine’s Gardens

Folks in Maine like their gardens.  The blooming season may be short, but it is alive with color and texture that enhance the state’s natural beauty.

It is unusual to pass a home, no matter how modest, that doesn’t have a neatly manicured yard and some blooming things.

In addition to individual gardens, there are several public spaces that are delightful.  A popular one is the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay.  All the planted material there is what does well in Maine so it’s a great resource.

Botanical GardensThe gardens have something for all ages, and I have to admit that I have a hard time getting past the children’s area.

It is filled with energy provided by vibrant colors and activities that keep kids entertained for hours.

Botanical GardensWhen children need a break, there are quiet spaces filled with games and books.

For overwhelming beauty, there is no place like the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden in Seal Harbor .

It is full of vibrant color, and the buzzing of bees fills the air.

There are  calm areas perfect for quiet reflection.

Rockefeller GardenThis is a private garden open one Thursday each month from July through early September.  Reservations are required and should be made early as the garden is a coveted destination.

In nearby Northeast Harbor is Asticou Garden, one of the jewels of Mount Desert Island.  Its quietness invigorates the soul.

Most of its blooms are gone by early July, but that doesn’t keep the garden from being a delightful place for a relaxed stroll.

I have been to each of these three gardens a number of times, and each visit is as special as the first.  Should you come to Maine, be sure they are on your list of places to see.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Gardens Galore

Home and Garden Thursday

Learning As I Go

I’m crazy for beautiful gardens, but I’ve never been much of a gardener.  Now there is no choice as every area of our yard has growing things that require attention, and that has meant a pretty sharp learning curve for me.

Gardening is a bit of a challenge as much of the growing area is on a rocky cliff which makes footing in some areas rather treacherous.  

Much of the area facing Rockport Harbor is in shade, and I have learned the hard way that not all plants do well without lots of sunshine.  Hostas are one of the exceptions, and right now they are coming into their own. The oodles of varieties make them a most interesting garden addition when it comes to color and texture.

Day lilies are doing their thing, and I do love their vibrancy, 

Peonies have been deadheaded though there is one lone bloom that refuses to give up, perhaps because it doesn’t want to leave its insect dweller homeless.

I don’t know where they came from, but this year dainty forget-me-nots have shown up in every garden area.  Earlier in the summer I was pulling them up, but the task was never ending and I decided to leave them as ground cover.  Their little blue blooms are sweet, but I’m still not sure how I feel about their presence.  Any ideas for getting rid of them?

Climbing hydrangeas bloom through the summer and need little attention other than an occasional trim.  It’s best for the hubby not to be the one who takes on that task as he gets carried away and they get scalped!

Lacecap hydrangeas line a garden path.  They are trouble free which is a good thing.  The down side is they don’t last as long as some of the other varieties which is sad because they may be my favorites.

A favorite part of the yard is what the kids call beautiful land.  Among the rocks, ladies’ slipper, mosses, ornamental thyme and other ground covers flourish.  Best of all, this area requires little maintenance other than some weeding.

Wherever I look there is something of beauty whether it’s lining a pathway

or adding its own unique touch in another garden area.  

Even the unruly, unkept areas that belong only to nature make their individual statements.  One thing’s for sure, I won’t be scaling the rocks to try to get any of it under control.  That’s a lesson learned early on!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Gardens Galore

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Garden Bounty

While I may not be very experienced  when it comes to laying out a garden and choosing complementary plants, the garden does provide bountiful beauty from spring until fall.

Gardening is a learning process filled with errors and rewards.

The reward comes when the garden blooms making it possible to cut a few stems varied in color and texture.

flowers/rhdodendronThe rhododendrons are all but gone,

peony but coming in right behind them are peonies changing daily from tight little buds

peonyto partially open teasers

peonyto full blown beauties.

They don’t last long, especially if it rains, so I cut them and fill the house where they can be enjoyed.

Their differing colors and textures make each bloom a special gift.  Salvia, which tries to take over my little garden, provides wonderful contrast, and the alium which is past its prime adds an interesting texture.

So grows my garden.  It may not be perfect, but the same is not true for the beauties that grow there. 

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Gardens Galore

 

Trials and Miscues

I’ve never been much of a gardener choosing to make a yard as low maintenance as possible.  In Maine, however, it’s impossible not to get a little excited about gardening as flowers are, in the words of one daughter, so brave and outspoken.

All you have to do to see that is visit a nursery

where the selection of growing things edible and decorative is overwhelming.

My attempts at gardening so far are mostly trials and even more miscues.  What I am striving for is a cutting garden  with blooms lasting through the summer and into the fall.  While that is possible, there’s lots to learn about what works.  Take delphiniums which are beautiful to look at, but they get so top heavy they topple over, especially after a rainfall.

And, that flower around them, which I think is a type of geranium, is the right height, but rather than stand up it spreads all over the place destroying other plants with their weight.

So what have I learned about gardening? A successful garden has a blend of annuals and perennials.  That means investing in new plants every year, but to get the right combination of color and texture, it’s worth it.  Thanks to a series of trials and miscues I realize that defining scale and developing a cohesive color scheme is a must to avoid chaos.

Flowers and herbsPerhaps the most important lesson is that successful gardening can be done in pots! It is ever so much easier to combine interesting plant materials in pots than to try to balance them in a garden.

 As I continue to learn to create the bigger picture, I’ll not abandon my successes!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Gardens Galore

First Glimpses

As soon as we’ve pulled into the driveway, I’m out of the car to get a first glimpse of what is new in the yard.  

This time of year is still springlike in Maine, so first blooms are just visible.

Rarely are any of my tulips still in bloom, but thanks to a late spring arrival, they are still showing off.

The climbing hydrangea appears to be ready for a banner season

 and rhododendrons are just beginning to bloom.  A day or two of sunshine and they will be a mass of color.

peony budPeonies are still just tight little buds, but it won’t be long until they are in full bloom.  That i can never get enough of!

I can never remember the name of this bold beauty that stands tall and lifts its head to the sky.  When they are done, I dry a few to use in fall bouquets.

The discovery that always brings a smile is this one that stays hidden

jack in the pulpit 2keeping the jack in the pulpit that lives inside a secret.

At the same time I see beauty and the promise of what is to come, I notice all the work that needs to be done in the yard.  That’s always the case, but there is plenty of time to get it done.

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Garden Beauty

sep-cruise_080908_1497Folks in Maine like their gardens, and from early summer through mid fall the landscape is dotted with color that my daughter describes as brave and outspoken.  Sometime during this period I enjoy going to Northeast Harbor to visit Asticou Azalea Garden.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s a treat to begin the adventure with lunch at the historic Asticou Hotel.

img_7377No lunch there would be complete without a popover, a trademark here and at the Jordan Pond restaurant in nearby Acadia National Park.

img_7360Lunch over, it’s a few steps to the garden which is as peaceful as the sign suggests it should be.

img_7359This time of year there are no azalea or rhododendron blooms. Rather there are layers of calming green textures and the beginning of fall color.

img_7364Listening in the quiet, I could hear the soft trickle of water passing beneath the lily pads, a few of which still wore their flower.

img_7361This day there was a light blanket of fog which created an air of mystery and contributed to the garden’s tranquility.  On a sun filled day, there is an entirely different energy here.

img_7369Other than a half dozen people the only visitor was a bee sipping nectar from one of the few remaining flowers.

img_7373Moving through this beautiful garden was like a walking meditation and for a few moments it was possible to just be.  That’s a special gift.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Wow Us Wednesday

From Bud to Beauty

peonypeony: a type of plant with large pink, red or white flowers named after Paeon, a student of Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine and healing

peonyCan you imagine this beauty being used to relieve headaches and help with asthma as it was in ancient times?

peonyFrom the time a peony is a tight little bud

peonyattracting ants with the nectar that forms on the flowers 

peonyuntil it drops its petals in a snowy mound, it is a thing of beauty.

peonyWho can bear to leave them outside to be weighted by rain and buffeted by wind

peonywhen inside, blossoms, alone or clustered, can brighten a room

peonyor add color and texture uniquely their own.

No wonder peonies are a favorite for so many people, and I am no exception.  Having them in my own back yard, at least in Maine, is a special treat and I savor each blossom from bud to finish during its short blooming period.  Not only do I relish a peony’s incredible beauty, I’ve even learned to pronounce  pe-e-ny rather than pe-o-ny as my great grandmother used to say!

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The Scoop