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Dig It! Garden Blog

Category: Gardens Aglow

Shhh! Plants are sleeping in these beds!

Friday, December 18th, 2015

When spring finally comes to the gardens, 35,000 tulips will pop through the soil of beds all over Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, giving us an incredible display of color as the world comes out of its winter sleep. But before we see our incredible rainbow of flowers, these plants need to have things just right…

SM Tulips near Event Lawn

The sun’s rays act as a messaging system for plants. All summer long, the sun’s light tells tiny structures inside of green plant cells to create sugars that the plant will use as food. Those sugars are stored in a root or bulb under the soil, where it can be used even when the plant is done making food just as animals fatten up before hibernation. As the days get shorter, the sun’s message to make food is cut off, and the plant begins to rest, pulling its food from roots beneath the soil.

During the fall, some plants are getting their buds ready to burst the next spring. Cells whose only job is to help the plant to grow line up at the tips of the branches and bulbs of plants like tulips and peonies, where they wait for springtime to pop into action. Without these cells, these plants’ growth may be stunted, making short, misshapen plants, or worse—no plants at all.

tulip bulbs DSC_2197

If the soil is stepped on or crushed too tight around the bulbs, they won’t be able to get the water they need to make new cells, or the space to grow new roots to hold them in place in spring rainstorms.

Dan planting tulips

These big patches of soil in the gardens aren’t places where we’ve forgotten to plant. They are the place where all the action is happening! The tiny buds of peonies and food-filled bulbs of tulips are working hard to get ready to put on their spring show.

Keep your eyes out for places where the soil is bare, and help these plants survive the winter by staying on pathways or grassy areas. We can’t wait to see you—and our 35000 tulips!—this spring!

– Jo Gammans, volunteer and guest services coordinator

Dancing with the Lights

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is reopening this November 21 for an event called Gardens Aglow. The gardens will be decorated with thousands of different colored lights, some of which even interact with music. These special lights are called Lumenplay lights and, once programmed with the play list, are stunning to watch dance to the music. These lights are featured in the Lerner Garden of the Five Senses to create a full sensory experience that you don’t want to miss!
Gardens Aglow Blog Pic
Lumenplay lights are connected with an app that lets you sync music to the lights. This app will process the song and program the lights to dance along. They create this illusion using RGB LED lights which can produce millions of different colors that twinkle and flash at a range of speeds. We will have almost 2000 of these lights, covering 6 different trees! These magnificent trees are known as the “Dancing Maples” and are a sight to see!

The Lumenplay lights will be accompanied with seasonal classics featuring artists such as George Winston. Thanks to our 100 watt Soundcast speaker, people will be able to enjoy this music from essentially every point of the Lerner Garden. This speaker is so powerful that it can produce about ten times the sound of an everyday, old fashioned boom box. The Lumenplay lights will just be the icing on the cake. The entire garden is going to be full of amazing displays during the event, and we hope to see you during Gardens Aglow.
– Lisa Pawlowski