“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.” ~ Henri Matisse
Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens
Living in New York I always loved going to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. It was literally one of my favorite thing to do when I lived there and when friends visited they knew to expect a trip there, especially if they had never been. When I travel, I always look to see if a place has gardens of some kind, whether it be a horticulture museum or gardens at a historical house. Flowers are some of the most joyful and colorful aspects of nature. Unfortunately the closest gardens are about two and a half hours away so when I was given the chance to go visit them, you can bet I said yes!
Located in Boothbay, Maine, the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens are a must if you are in the area. It is about an hour from Portland and two hours from Boston and filled with 300 acres of gardens, woodland, green spaces, and a trail along the water. It is also home to countless exhibits and focuses its energies on conservation, as well as education. There are over a dozen gardens and each one has a theme to explore, as well as exhibits to experience. I was in for a treat because when I went, they had just opened up their Guardians of the Seeds exhibit and I was excited to see it!
What To Know When Going
I went in May when COVID procedures were still heavily in place. While masks were required at the time, they were lenient about taking them off, especially if we were vaccinated, because it was outside and not a lot of people were there so we were able to socially distance. I think that policy has now been expanded on to no masks if you are vaccinated, but as always I would double (and triple if you are me) check their website. They had timed entry tickets, which they are still doing and I actually really like. I got there on the earlier side of my reservation, but they let me in because again it wasn’t that busy, but that might have changed.
The staff was insanely nice and helpful when I got there, as well as through out the gardens. If you had any question they were always quick to help. The facilities also were immaculately clean and so pristine. The grounds are vast and at times uneven so I do recommend bringing comfortable foot wear. Of course I did not follow that advice. But hey had to do it for the blog! Because it is so big and there are so may different gardens to explore, you could easily spend the whole day here if not two. Unfortunately due to my schedule I couldn’t explore all of the gardens, though I did end up walking five miles in the few hours I was there, and yes all in flip-flops!
As I mentioned there are over a dozen gardens, many of them paying homage to the New England landscape, with woodsy areas, and different types of trees and shrubs as well as the flowers. Since it was May in New England and we are always late to the party by at least a month with our blooming season compared to New York, DC, and even Boston, I was surprised by how much WAS in bloom, including getting to see some of the blossoms on the trees that I have missed the last two years.
By far the Arbor Garden was my favorite. It reminded me of the Shakespeare Garden in New York. It was like a hidden oasis and I could have stayed there for hours. Flowers and vines worked their way up the trellises and underneath were swinging wooden benches which I loved. It was also where I decided to have a photo shoot. I couldn’t help myself! It was so picturesque and my favorite part of the gardens.
They had green spaces you could hang out on, or sit in an Adirondack chair if you so wished, before getting to the more swampy and woodsy areas. I made my way through part of the hill side terraces, but it got late so I had to head back. For the amount of people that were there, walking through those gardens, or more aptly woods, felt so serene and like I was the only one there.
As I made my back, I walked over the bridge which led to a fountain surrounded by flowers and there I met a friend who was quite chill at hanging in the puddles. I am not normally a fan of snakes, but this one was okay.
The Guardian of the Seeds
One of the highlights, was the Guardian of the Seeds exhibit that had just opened. An ode to sustainability, conservation, connection to the earth and even some mysticism, these trolls were created by Danish artist Thomas Dambo out of recycled wood. Each Troll has a name, a story, and represents part of the tree they come from. Five trolls in total, they are hidden through out the gardens to hunt as you journey through them. The exhibit at the Maine Coastal Botanical Gardens isn’t the only one he has, and you can find these stunning wooden creations throughout the world.
The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens do an incredible job of taking you on a journey, as well as feeling like you have been transported to all different kinds of landscapes and habitats. One moment you can be surrounded by vibrant flowers and bright green grass, and the next you are surrounded by woodsy areas and plants. It isn’t JUST a garden, but a lush reminder to not just appreciate but to take care and protect our environment.
Have you been to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens? Have you seen any of these trolls?