Archive for January, 2013

Canceled – Survival in the Darwinian Garden: Planting the Fittest with Karen Bussolini

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013
August 14, 2013
10:00 amto4:00 pm

Karen Bussolini

Unfortunately, we have had to cancel this program. Please check our calendar for additional upcoming programs.

Sooner or later most gardeners fall in love with a blue poppy that would rather be in the Himalayas or a hybrid tea rose that looks great at the nursery but develops every disease in the book when planted. Choosing plants that “want” to grow where we plant them makes for more pleasure and less work. This class from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. is an exploration of the many adaptations plants have developed to survive various challenges, out-compete other plants, conserve moisture, and avoid being eaten.

We will investigate garden plants that are habitat generalists, as well as those that are adapted to specific, often difficult conditions. We’ll consider a diverse range of gardeners’ strategies for encouraging native and non-native plants to survive beautifully in their gardens. The class will include inspiring slides and plenty of time for discussion and questions, as well as observations outside in the gardens. 

Karen Bussolini is a garden photographer and writer with six books and many magazine articles to her credit. She’s a well-traveled speaker and teacher who focuses increasingly on our relationship to the environment, a NOFA-accredited Organic Land Care Professional, and an eco-friendly garden coach.

Where:   Bosarge Family Education Center
Price:      $60 members, $80 nonmembers (pre-registration required)

Does CMBG Have That Plant?

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

If you are like me, you might be reading a magazine or watching television this winter when you see a new and interesting plant. Then, of course, you’ll wonder if Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is growing that plant.


An example page from a FloraFind entry

Well, did you know that you can search all of the plants in our collection from your laptop, tablet, or smartphone? You and everyone with access to the internet around the world can search all 82,000 plants in our collection through the FloraFind site. These 82,000 plants are spread over 3,400 accessions and 2,500 taxa. Our Plant Records Coordinator, Sharmon Provan, is constantly updating our records and mapping our plants to give you the most accurate access to the plants in our gardens. In 2012, we had more than 99,000 searches done on FloraFind from more than 68 countries! The easiest way to get to FloraFind is by clicking on the button in the lower right-hand side of our home page.

What FloraFind does is gives you access to our plant records database. Our plant records are stored in a database system developed especially for gardens called BG-Base. Sharmon enters every permanent plant that comes onto the CMBG site. We currently do not accession annuals because they are only on display temporarily, but this is something we can consider doing in the future as an interactive tour with an iPad or smartphone. Once Sharmon enters these plants into BG-Base, she makes labels for our staff to place with each plant. Each plant gets two labels: an accession label and a display label. The accession label is the little metal tag you see hanging from the plant. The display label is the green, plastic sign you see in front of each plant, showing you the name of the plant.

Sharmon mapping

Sharmon mapping with the Total Station - photo B. Freeman

The next step is for Sharmon to go out and physically map each plant. For this task, she uses a Nikon Total Station. The Total Station can pinpoint the location of each plant with an accuracy of within a few inches. Once she has the plants mapped with the Total Station, she transfers these points into BG-Map. This program is the mapping partner to BG-Base. BG-Map is what allows you to see where the plants are located in the gardens on the map.

The third and final component of this equation that enables you to see our plants from the comfort of your own home is FloraFind. This web portal gives you a peek into our plant records without having BG-Base or BG-Map. Of the gardens in the United States that currently utilize BG-Base and BG-Map, only three have the web portal to their accessions. Longwood Gardens has access through their Plant Explorer, Denver Botanic Gardens with their gardens Navigator, and of course, our FloraFind.

As you can tell from this brief description of the process, making our plants available to you online takes a lot of time, effort, and accuracy. Sharmon does a lot of the work with help from our staff, seasonal employees, and volunteers. If you are interested in helping us keep these records up to date as a volunteer, please let us know. We are always looking for folks to help with mapping and taking top-quality photographs of the plants so we can add them to FloraFind.

Most importantly, use Flora Find when you are looking for that special plant. Or take one of our predefined tours. And, of course, let us know what you think, as our plant record system is constantly being updated with more plants, pictures, and information as we continue to grow. – Rodney

Intro to the Native Flora of Maine with Melissa Cullina

Thursday, January 17th, 2013
August 19, 2014toAugust 21, 2014

Viburnum lantanoides (William Cullina photo)

Interested in gardening with Maine’s native plants? First, come and meet them in their wild habitats!  During this intensive three-day course with Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens’ staff botanist, Melissa Cullina, students will learn how to recognize 50 (or more!) frequent coastal Maine plant species.  Beginning with an introduction to basic plant identification skills, terminology, and botanical names, Melissa will then lead you through the Gardens grounds and on forays around the region.  Bring a bag lunch, water, and a hand lens if you have one; and be prepared to walk on trails.

The class, which meets in the Bosarge Family Education Center,  is on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, August 19-21, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. While it is one of the core classes for the Certificate Program in Native Plants and Ecological Horticulture, it is open to everyone.

Melissa Cullina is Director of Education & Staff Botanist for Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.  Formerly Botanist with the Massachusetts Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program, Cullina specializes in aquatic and coastal botany, field identification, and rare species conservation.

Where:    Bosarge Family Education Center
Price:      $180 members, $220 nonmembers (preregistration required)

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Opening reception for “Living Wood” Sculpture Show

Thursday, January 17th, 2013
June 27, 2013
5:00 pmto7:00 pm
Carved Green Man by Benjamin Thompson
Alewives by John Bowdren
“Not One, Not Two” by Herb Ferris

Please join us on Thursday evening, June 27, for a reception celebrating the opening of Living Wood, an exhibit that will be on view at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens through September 22. The show, curated by June LaCombe, features sculpture and benches created in wood by many of Maine’s finest artists and artisans.

Admission to the reception is free, and refreshments will be available. All sales of artwork benefit Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.

Updates to the Lerner Garden of the Five Senses for 2013

Friday, January 11th, 2013

This week, I asked Will Bridges, our horticulturalist for the Lerner Garden of the Five Senses to give you an update on all of the changes and upgrades he has for the garden in 2013. Our team walked through the garden back in the fall and gave Will an unabridged laundry list of recommendations. He has been working since the snow fell to edit this list and source these plants. From here, I am going to hand it over to Will and let him tell you about his changes in his own words. – Rodney

sensory garden

Lerner Garden of the Five Senses during Summer

I am using several new annuals for 2013. Lobularia ‘Blushing Princess’ will be inter-planted with Heliotrope ‘Marine’ around the entrance arch. Salvia “Black and Blue’ is going in front of the birches on the west side of the garden. We’re adding Amaranthus tricolor to a couple of locations near the front of the garden for some colorful height in the plantings. Our coleus bed was well received last year, so this year we’re trying some different varieties: Keystone Kopper, Marooned, and Neptune’s Net. Across from the Sound Stone, a planting of Zinnia ‘Starlight Rose’ mixed with Cuphea ‘Flamenco Samba’ should be flashy. Ornamental millet ‘Red Baron’, at five feet tall, will stand out in the fern bed along the lower pond.

I am also adding some new perennials to replace some that didn’t perform as well as expected. Platycodon ‘Sentimental Blue’ and Eryngium ‘Blue Hobbit’ will go in on either side of the weir for the upper pond. A new Coreopsis, ‘Mercury Rising’, will go behind the sound stone. This is a bright red tickseed that has been trialed for three years in Zone 5 so it ought to be a solid performer. Dwarf goatsbeard, Aruncus aethusifolius, will go around the deck on the lower pond. This has really nice fine-cut foliage that will work well with the other plants in that location.

I am in the process of tracking down a really nice small tree. Carpinus japonicum, Japanese hornbeam, which has hops-like fruit, glossy green foliage and a soft yellow fall color. This will go near the first deck at the back of the garden. In the same area, Cornus alba ‘Ivory Halo’ will replace the Sambucus that just did not pass muster. Another addition will be Parthenosisus cuspidata ‘Fenway’, a chartreuse Boston ivy that will climb a couple of the spruce trees along the north side of the garden. – Will Bridges

Maine Days – Free Admission for Maine Residents

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013
May 24, 2014
9:00 amto5:00 pm
May 25, 2014
9:00 amto5:00 pm
May 26, 2014
9:00 amto5:00 pm

Cypripedium acaule by William Cullina

If you’re a Maine resident, stop by anytime during Memorial Day Weekend – Saturday, Sunday, or Monday, May 24-26 – to enjoy all that Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens has to offer, and you can see and do it all with no admission fee. Just show a driver’s license or Maine state ID to receive your complimentary entry. No reservations are necessary.

Gardens hours are 9-5 every day. The Kitchen Garden Cafe and Gardens Gift Shop will be open. Tulips will still be in bloom; hundreds of pink lady’s slippers will be starting their show; and the Giles Rhododendron Garden will be resplendent with colorful blossoms and greenery. 

We’re able to present Maine Days for a second time, thanks to the continued generous sponsorship of the Acorn Foundation.  This program is one way Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is underlining its commitment to strong relationships within our local and state-wide community. Maine Days is the perfect spring antidote after a long winter.

For more information, call 207-633-4333, ext. 101.

Happy New Year from CMBG

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

Winter bear

As the chill of winter and the blanket of snow have ascended upon the Gardens, the horticulture staff continue to plug away on tasks to ready the gardens for your return in 2013. From plant selection and seed propagation to pruning and equipment maintenance, there is no hibernation at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.

Here’s to a fantastic 2013. – Rodney