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Category: Horticulture

What’s in Bloom – May 28, 2019

Wednesday, May 29th, 2019

It’s amazing how a couple of 70 degree sunny days will result in gardens full of flowers. There are still some tulips in bloom. Epimediums, favorites for the woodland garden, are showing off their dainty blooms. And things are starting to pick up in the Giles Rhododendron and Perennial Garden. Both small and large leaved rhododendrons are either in bloom or will be shortly.

Entrance Walk:
Amsonia ciliata ‘Spring Sky’ – blue star
Chaenomeles speciosa ‘Cameo’ – flowering quince
Fothergilla major and ‘Mt. Airy’ – fothergilla
Narcissus ‘Sunny Girlfriend’ – daffodil
Polygonatum odoratum ‘Variegatum’ – variegated solomon’s seal
Rhododendron ‘Scintillation’ – rhododendron
Saruma henryi – upright wild ginger
Tiarella cordifolia var. cordifolia – foamflower
Tulipa ‘Beyond Baroque’ – tulip
Viburnum carlesii – Korean spice viburnum Read More

Tulip Maine-ia

Wednesday, May 29th, 2019

It’s been a long time coming, but despite a long, cool, and damp spring, tulip season has officially arrived at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. While the gray skies might make for vibrant tulip photo opportunities, unfortunately this weather also means conditions are perfect for uninvited fungal issues, leading to spotting and lesions on flowers and foliage alike. Long, rainy days notwithstanding, our tulips have persevered and their joyful, colorful blooms abound throughout the Gardens.

Last fall we planted over 40,000 tulip bulbs consisting of 73 cultivars and species, resulting in a kaleidoscope of colors and forms. Each of the different classes of tulips is represented, from simple Darwin hybrids to more elaborate parrot flowers. I am often asked what my favorite tulips are, and I’m pretty sure my answer changes each time. While every cultivar will be considered beautiful to someone, I have found a few that stand out above the others, at least until I take another stroll through the Gardens. Read More

What’s in Bloom – May 14, 2019

Tuesday, May 14th, 2019

A note from Andy Brand, curator of living collections: Tulips are starting to open and should be looking good if we get some warm weather this week. Narcissus (daffodils) are adding their bright, colorful blooms throughout the Gardens. Hellebores are still putting on a show. Additional bulbs such as Hyacinthus, Muscari, and Chionodoxa are also painting the ground with shades of pink, blue, yellow, and white. Be sure to check out the soft yellow flowers of Corylopsis glabrescens ‘Longwood Chimes’ in the Alfond Children’s Garden; they smell really yummy! And many small leaved rhododendrons are in bloom in the Giles Rhododendron and Perennial Garden.

Entrance Walk:
Epimedium x rubrum – barrenwort
Hyacinthus orientalis ‘Gypsy Queen’ – hyacinth
Narcissus ‘Sunny Girlfriend’ – daffodil
Saruma henryi – upright wild ginger

Lerner Garden of the Five Senses:
Caltha palustris – marsh marigold
Chionodoxa luciliae – glory-of-the-snow
Dicentra cucullaria (pink form) – dutchman’s breeches
Epimedium grandiflorum var. higoense ‘Bandit’ – barrenwort
Glaucidium palmatum – Japanese wood poppy
Helleborus multifidus ssp. hercegovinus – hellebore
Jeffersonia dubia – twin-leaf
Mertensia virginica – Virginia bluebells
Narcissus ‘Double Smiles’ – daffodil
Pieris floribunda – mountain fetterbush
Pulmonaria ‘Raspberry Splash’ – lungwort Read More

What’s in Bloom – May 6, 2019

Tuesday, May 7th, 2019

Hellebores look amazing! Narcissus or daffodils are adding their bright, colorful blooms throughout the Gardens. Additional bulbs such as Hyacinthus, Muscari, and Chionodoxa are also painting the ground with shades of pink, blue, yellow, and white as we all eagerly await the tulip bonanza. And the early blooming magnolias are peaking!

Entrance Walk:
Cornus mas – cornelian cherry
Epimedium x rubrum – barrenwort
Hyacinthus orientalis ‘Gypsy Queen’ – hyacinth

Founders’ Grove:
Muscari latifolium – two-toned grape hyacinth

Lerner Garden of the Five Senses:
Caltha palustris – marsh marigold
Chionodoxa luciliae – glory-of-the-snow
Cornus mas ‘Golden Glory’ – cornelian cherry
Dicentra cucullaria – dutchman’s breeches
Eranthis hymenalis – winter aconite
Hamamelis vernalis ‘Amethyst’ – vernal witch hazel Read More

Creating Bird-Friendly Habitats

Thursday, April 25th, 2019

Creating a bird-friendly backyard habitat can be as low-maintenance as installing nesting boxes, bird feeders and a simple birdbath, or as involved as an entire backyard overhaul, complete with reducing the area of lawn, installing native plants and removing invasive plants from your property.

One of the more quickly rewarding options—for you and for the birds—is to plant a bird-friendly garden. First, though, it’s important (but fun!) to learn different birds’ preferences so you can figure out which plants you’d like to grow. Obviously, different plants provide for birds differently, depending on whether they’re grown for their seeds, fruit, nuts, nectar or as a hosting station for hungry insects (i.e. bird food). Read More

What’s in Bloom – April 23, 2019

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019

Early spring bulbs are showing nice color and hellebores are beginning to put on a show. Be sure to look for the bright yellow flowers of the cornelian cherry and the tiny, unusual flowers of Dirca palustris or leatherwood. This will also be the week to see the beautiful white flowers of the woodland native, Sanguinaria canadensis or bloodroot.

Entrance Walk:
Cornus mas – cornelian cherry
Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Pallida’ – witch hazel

Founder’s Grove:
Iris ‘Katharine Hodgkin’ – reticulated iris
Hamamelis vernalis – vernal witch hazel


Iris ‘Katharine Hodgkin’

Lerner garden of the Five Senses:
Cornus mas ‘Golden Glory’ – cornelian cherry
Eranthis hymenalis – winter aconite
Hamamelis vernalis and H. v. ‘Amethyst’ – vernal witch hazel
Read More

Beautiful and Resilient Native Plants

Thursday, April 11th, 2019

In preparation for designing our parking lot gardens, CMBG horticulturist and landscape designer Jen Dunlap researched forest restoration and studied the process of naturalizing areas. She researched the species growing in Maine’s native forests, then branched out to add diversity to her design plans. The common denominator in all of her research was native plants.

As natural spaces dwindle, native insects, birds, amphibians and mammals lose their habitats. Here at the Gardens, we’re committed to using native plants in our landscaping in order to conserve biodiversity, contribute to a living landscape and to create pollination and migration corridors for animals and insects. Native species, already adapted to our particular growing conditions, work immediately toward restoring habitats for all creatures, regardless of where they fall on the food chain. Read More

Choosing the Right Plant for the Right Place

Friday, February 22nd, 2019

As a horticulturist at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, one of my most favorite “duties” is designing new annual plantings and tweaking existing combinations every year. The daughter of two very artistic parents, I grew up making art and creating, and went on to be a fine arts major in college. When it came time to graduate, my work in horticulture – both as a summer job in Maine and a work-study position in college – had taught me the pure joy of using plants as a living art medium. The artistic nature of the work was one of the major factors that compelled me to move into horticulture as a career.

At the Gardens, one of the more frequent remarks I hear from guests is how much they love the different combinations of plants used throughout our property. While each horticulturist has their own, unique way of designing, I hope to share a little insight into my process of choosing those plants and perhaps help to inspire you in your own gardens along the way! Read More

The Promise of Spring

Monday, February 11th, 2019

As I walked into the office this morning and looked at our desks, I had to smile. Peeking out from the heaping piles of Carharts, gloves, and scarves were bright glossy images of impossibly perfect flowers gracing the covers of innumerable catalogs. Ah the promise of spring, just as surely as snowdrops poking through the late winter snow. Read More

What’s in Bloom – September 13, 2018

Thursday, September 13th, 2018

Hibiscus are amazing and putting on quite a show! Lovers of black-eyed-Susan will not be disappointed this week. And be sure to check out the incredible blue flowers on the various types of gentains. And the very unusual flowers of Tricyrtis or toad lilies are sure to impress. Ornamental grasses are looking good and the asters are starting to open. Read More