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Dig It! Garden Blog

Category: Horticulture

What’s in Bloom – August 12, 2019

Wednesday, August 14th, 2019

Coneflowers and August go hand in hand. The Echinacea and Rudbeckia are amazing this week. Be sure to look for the stunning scarlet Lobelia cardinalis or cardinal flower. Hummingbirds love them. Lilium selections look and smell amazing! The bottlebrush buckeye, a butterfly magnet, is in full flower. Hydrangea paniculata or peegee (panicle) hydrangea are in full bloom, showcasing huge white inflorescences.

Entrance Walk:
Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’ – giant hyssop
Aesculus parviflora – bottlebrush buckeye
Asclepias incarnata ‘Ice Ballet’ – swamp milkweed
Calycanthus ‘Aphrodite’ – sweetshrub
Calycanthus x raulstonii ‘Hartlage Wine’ – sweetshrub
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ – panicle hydrangea
Ligularia japonica – Japanese ligularia

Founders’ Grove and Café:
Hosta ‘Allan P. McConnel’ – hosta
Hydrangea arborescens ‘A. G. Anabelle’ – smooth hydrangea
Ligularia japonica – Japanese ligularia Read More

What’s in Bloom – July 29, 2019

Monday, July 29th, 2019

Echinacea are looking great! Be sure to search out the Monarda or beebalm and watch for hummingbirds at the brightly colored flowers. The bottlebrush buckeye, a butterfly magnet, is beginning to bloom. Phlox are starting to put on quite a show too. Hydrangea paniculata or peegee (panicle) hydrangea are amazing and full of pollinators, as are the steely-blue flowers of the Eryngium or sea holly.

Entrance Walk:
Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’ – giant hyssop
Aesculus parviflora – bottlebrush buckeye
Calycanthus ‘Aphrodite’ – sweetshrub
Calycanthus x raulstonii ‘Hartlage Wine’ – sweetshrub
Daphne x transatlantica ‘BLAFRA’ – eternal fragrance daphne
Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Pee Wee’ – oakleaf hydrangea
Ligularia japonica – Japanese ligularia
Stachys officinalis ‘Hummelo’ – betony Read More

Sustainable, Regenerative and Perennial Agriculture

Thursday, July 18th, 2019

Every gardener is familiar with the day-in, day-out battle against weeds, the annual dance of prepping the soil, sowing seeds, and/or planting starts. It’s a lot of work—worthwhile, satisfying work—but what if we could make the shift from annuals to perennial crops that don’t need to be reseeded or replanted year after year? Imagine the time and resources that would save, from the annual prepping and plowing to the down-to-the-soil garden clean-up. Certainly, we’re already familiar with some perennial crops—fruit trees, grapes, asparagus, rhubarb, and olives, just to name a few. Read More

What’s in Bloom – July 18, 2019

Thursday, July 18th, 2019

Summer has arrived! Lots of sun means lots of flowers. Astilbes look fantastic this week! Roses are winding down but still some color and fragrance. Be sure to search out the Iris ensata or Japanese iris, and Eryngium or sea holly. The daylilies are kicking in to bloom and the Echinacea are beginning to show off their colorful blooms.
Highlights from specific gardens:

Entrance Walk:
Allium caeruleum – blue onion
Astilbe chinensis ‘Visions in Red’ – astilbe
Astilbe simplicifolia ‘Pink Lightning’ – astilbe
Calycanthus ‘Aphrodite’ – sweetshrub
Calycanthus x raulstonii ‘Hartlage Wine’ – sweetshrub
Daphne x transatlantica ‘BLAFRA’ – eternal fragrance daphne
Stachys officinalis ‘Hummelo’ – betony Read More

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