Friday, January 29th, 2010...12:00 am

Coastal Maine Botanical Garden

This past summer TheGardenLady went to Maine with her family. The first night we stayed in a lovely Bed and Breakfast called Snow Squall Inn that my son found serendipitously on line. The owner Paul Harris is not only a professional chef, but he loves to garden. He was originally from England where, I think, gardening is in the genetic makeup of the people. We arrived later than expected, but Mr. Harris came out to greet and welcome us. Upon learning that I was interested in Gardens, he told me about a new botanical garden in the area that he said shouldn’t be missed. How right he was.

The Coastal Maine Botanical Garden opened in 2007 on 128 acres of pristine land with 3,600 feet of tidal shore frontage in Boothbay. They were then gifted more land adjacent to the original 128 acres so that ” Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is now comprised of 248 acres, which makes it the largest botanical garden in New England. The property boasts nearly a mile of tidal salt water frontage. It is also one of a very few waterfront botanical gardens in the United States. ”

Since the Coastal Botanical Garden is so newly opened, they are creating more interesting features. In June 2009, just shortly before I visited, they “opened the Lerner Garden of the Five Senses. This exquisite garden of about an acre adjacent to the Visitor Center allows visitors to get in touch with their five major senses. It also includes many features that make its delights accessible to the disabled.”

This is one really great Botanical Garden that has something for everyone, starting with a neat gift shop and restaurant with dining tables outdoors as well as indoors. The gardens and water features are lovely with the added bonus of seeing resident frogs.

Interspersed in the gardens are sculptures-sculpture by Wendy Klemperer has been held over until Spring of 2010. Yet for those who just want a good hike, this Botanical Garden is filled with miles of trails. I was told when I visited that the second parcel of land, when opened, would remain in its pristine condition with nothing but trails.

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is fast becoming “one of Maine’s top attractions and one of the most distinguished botanical destinations in the country. It has exquisite gardens, dramatic and compelling natural landscape, a stunning Visitor Center, and waterfront to make it uniquely wonderful. “The Gardens present limitless potential to inspire learning about the site’s natural history, habitats, botany, horticulture and ecological connections. ” This is a great treat for those lucky enough to be in the area or to visit. They say they are open every day of the year but Thanksgiving and Christmas.

For those who are interested in raising plants for winter interest, you can see the red and yellow twig dogwoods at this time of year as well as other plants with visual winter interest. The Coastal Maine Botanical Garden website has a list of all the plants for each month of the year. See here.  

The Lerner Garden is really a special garden of interest for all ages where one can learn so much and take back ideas and plant names to your garden to try. It was here that I first saw Lanai Peach Verbena Vervain that I decided I had to plant in my garden.

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