Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens
Topsham, ME - Events of sunday, August 25, 2013
One of the things we wanted to be sure to see in this area was the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. As our regular readers know, we love to visit botanical gardens, and the online reviews said this was a good one. It is located about 45 minutes from Topsham in Boothbay, ME. We headed there on Sunday morning.
The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens has only been open since 2007, but planning began all the way back in 1991 when a group of enthusiastic gardeners decided Maine needed a botanical garden. In 1996, the organization bought 136 acres of land along the Back River near Boothbay. An additional 120 acres of land was acquired through a gift from another organization.
After paying our admission fee of $12 each for seniors ($14 for younger adults), we headed out to the gardens. There is a central, landscaped garden area with a couple of miles of trails extending through woods and wetlands.
We started with the large lawn area right outside the visitor center where there was an interesting kinetic sculpture called "Wind Orchid" that looked like its branches were waving in the breeze. As the sculpture rotated, the way the arms were curved created an optical illusion that made it look like the arms were flexing.
Also along the lawn was a row of colorful Adirondack chairs.
As we worked our way around the flower beds surrounding the lawn, we were soon struck by the remarkable combinations of colors and textures.
In addition to many annuals, most of which bloom continuously for the entire growing season, they also used many long-blooming perennials like brown eyed Susans and echinacea. In addition to the more common purple and off-white echinacea (examples of which are shown at the very top of this post), they had plain red, fuzzy white and fuzzy red echinacea as shown in the photo below.
From the perennial garden just off the central lawn, we took the path that headed down through the Haney Hillside Garden. Even without the use of flowers, they again created an interesting tapestry of colors and textures using ferns, shrubs, trees and rocks.
The path then continued down the hill toward the river. There are numerous, interesting sculptures scattered throughout the gardens, and there are several of them along the wooded path to the river. One was a translucent glass globe called "Chiseled Orb" that seemed to glow as the sun hit it in the small clearing.
Along the river is a meditation garden with a basin that was carved from a solid rock. The outside of the rock was left natural, and the top edge was carved with shapes of waves. Parts of the waves were polished to a high gloss, which made them look like they were wet. The top edge created an interesting transition from the surface of the water to the natural stone on the outside.
Shoreland Trail continued along the river where there was a metal sculpture of a pine cone.
From Shoreland Path, we could catch glimpses of the water and of the opposite shore.
At the eastern end of Shoreland Path is the rhododendron garden. There were no rhododendrons blooming, but there was an attractive, man-made waterfall...
...and a sculpture of a giant dragonfly.
From the waterfall, we headed back up the hillside to the main garden area. On the eastern side of the central lawn is the Alfond Children's Garden, which opened in 2010. At the entrance were three large rocks carved to look like whales.
We continued on our way to the Lerner Garden of the Five Senses. This garden opened in 2009.
In the Garden of the Five Senses was a pool with a splashing fountain.
Also in the Lerner Garden of the Five Senses were several vertical walls of plants that illustrated more color and texture combinations. Some were foliage plants, and some were combinations of foliage and flowers.
It was getting late by the time we were finished at the garden, and we were getting hungry. Look for our next post to see what we did about it.