I feel like spring steals all the glory when it comes to flowers. Perhaps it is because we have all been cooped up and are just excited for warmth and to see new growth and living blooms come alive again. Or maybe they just have a better hype team. Perhaps it is because we are bracing for the cold come autumn. Whatever it is, autumn flowers are not given their due and in my opinion they should.
Autumn is where they truly shine, especially if you are lucky to live or are visiting New England. In fact some of my favorite hydrangea colors are the autumnal ones of deep purples and pinks that are so vibrant and beautiful. Combined that with the foliage, it creates a colorful lush background that even Monet would love to capture in paint and still not be able to do it justice. Thus when I made my way back up the Maine Coast for work, I decided to make a detour back to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, to check them out in the fall, and I am so happy I did!
Back to the Botanical Gardens
I was there in the spring and it was absolutely stunning, but as I mentioned there is something truly special about the gardens in the autumn. It was busier than it had been in the spring, but I went early enough and people were respectful and perhaps even friendlier, that it didn’t really bother me. COVID procedures had relaxed some what and you only had to wear masks inside or if there were huge clusters of people and you couldn’t social distance.
They were actually getting ready for their Christmas lights displays, called Christmas Aglow that they have been putting on for the last seven years. They decorate the gardens with colorful lights and you can walk through, though thanks to COVID they are for the second year in a row switching it to driving. It is from November 20 to January 1, and it is always so much fun. I was excited to get a sneak peak on my visit, and I can not wait to go back for the holidays! The lights actually didn’t detract from the blooms, and it was cool to see the behind the scenes of the set up. I was a good 45 minutes early for my reservation, but since it was still early enough in the morning, they let me in early, and I got to exploring.
The gardens were vibrant with color as I began my walk through. I am not a horticulturist, heck it was only a couple years ago I learned that there was such a thing as miniature roses..oops. I know my favorites; Hydrangeas, peonies and orchids, which also happens to be summer flowers (shocking) and I love receiving them. That said, I do appreciate flowers, and I love visiting and exploring gardens, especially when I travel. The Brooklyn Botanical Gardens were one of my favorite places to visit and just get lost, and the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens are quickly becoming another favorite. There were more reds and yellows in the gardens this time, then the lighter pinks of spring, and with the foliage it created a stunning landscape.
My first stop was to the Arborist Gardens, which just might be my favorite garden with the swinging benches and vines sweeping up gracefully around the wood. It is so incredibly peaceful and picturesque and where my last few visits, I have used as the back drop to shoot content. (Digressing, but I feel like this phrase has turned cring-y but at the same time that WAS what I was doing, okay back to topic.) I sat for a little while before setting off on the ultimate troll adventure!
Guardians of the Seeds
On my last visit, I didn’t get to see all the Trolls because I was on a time crunch, so after my mini shoot, I decided to go see them all and I did! If you are wondering what the trolls are I wrote about them here. They had said to give it two to three hours, but I did NOT need that much time. In fact they actually seem much farther away on the map then they are in person, and if I hadn’t had to loop back around because I totally bypassed Birk, (and he was pretty cool), and also I am stubborn and wanted to say I saw them all, (honesty is half the battle) it would have taken me an hour and fifteen instead of an hour and forty-five. And that was in heels and a dress, I might add. Oh well, it was an adventure.
The Trolls are located deep in the woods on the hillside encompassing the aptly named Haney Hillside Gardens. There are steep sections and it can get muddy especially along the water, but I was fine with what I was wearing, but I am use to wooded areas and hiking, so definitely dress according to your capabilities. I saw people wearing actual hiking boots, and using poles, but I saw others in Sperrys and flip-flops. They do have suggestions on what to wear and bring on their websites if you need a guide.
I had two favorite trolls, Lilja who sitting with her arms wide open like she was going to give me a great big hug, with this childlike but joyful expression on her face that was infectious, she was an instant mood lifter. And then Soren who was structurally so cool, but also incredibly playful. As I mentioned I almost missed Birk and had to double back which was kind of fitting as he looked like he was becoming one with the trees. Lastly there was Gro who I felt a kinship to as she was sitting in sukhasana which as I former yogi I felt. Roskova is the most visible Troll as she is at the very front of the gardens when you enter, so she can not be missed.
It was such a fun adventure. Afterwards I went to the Lerner Garden Of the Five Senses which was in full bloom. I then stopped at the market to grab some lunch before I continued my way up through Coastal Maine. I was so happy to be able to stop one last time before they closed October 17, but they will reopen May 1, and having hopefully survived the winter, trolls included! They are also open for Christmas Aglow which starts November 20.
Have you been to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens? What are your favorite Gardens you have been too? Have you seen the trolls? What is your favorite troll?