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Category: News

The Fundamentals of Horticultural Therapy

Monday, August 26th, 2019

Irene Barber, registered Horticultural Therapist (HTR) and coordinator of the Horticultural Therapy Program here at CMBG, knows a thing or two about the intimate relationship between people and plants—sun to soil, seed to root to plant to harvest, harvest to human, human to human. It’s that connection that drew her to the practice of horticultural therapy (HT), defined by Barber as, “the transformation that happens when we work with the earth, how being around plants can improve well-being, and how plant-based exercises can enhance, stimulate, rehabilitate, support, and overcome people’s emotional, cognitive, physical and/or social challenges.”

It’s thanks to this thriving program that the Horticultural Therapy Institute (HTI), through which Irene received her certificate, has chosen to present their four-day course, the Fundamentals of Horticultural Therapy, at CMBG this year. As the first of a series four satellite courses, this class will introduce students to the profession and practice of HT, a treatment modality applicable to everything from community and children’s gardens to healthcare and human services. 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

Signs of the Seasons – Citizen-Science in Action

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is once again teaming up with the University of Maine’s Cooperative Extension and Sea Grant to participate in Signs of the Seasons, a citizen-science program that engages volunteers in observing plant and animal phenology (the study of seasonal cycles and the timing of life events, such as when birds make their nests in the spring, when berries ripen in the summer, when leaves change color in the autumn, etc.). All kinds of creatures (humans included) depend on the predictability of these seasonal cycles.

But as we’re all aware, seasonal cycles seem to be shifting. That’s where we come in—using our backyards as laboratories, participants in the Signs of the Seasons program, by becoming trained to observe and record plants and animals living in our own communities, help scientists document the local effects of global climate change. Through their observations, volunteers create a detailed record of the region’s seasonal turns, a record that’s then made available to collaborating scientists.

As you probably know, farmers, gardeners, fishermen and naturalists have long recorded seasonal observations in their notebooks, logs and ledgers. When combined, those historical records plus modern observations tell scientists that shifts in long-term phenology trends closely match records of the earth’s warming temperature. Read More

The Great Pumpkin Hunt!

Join in! The Great Pumpkin Hunt on October 25th

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

The Great Pumpkin Hunt!
Saturday, October 25, 2014
Rain date: Sunday, October 26
1:00 – 3:30 p.m.
FREE and open to the public

1:00 p.m. The Hunt and Activities begin
2:00 p.m. Pumpkin Pie Contest judging
3:00 p.m. Pumpkin Carving Contest judging

Enjoy a fun-filled fall afternoon at the Gardens during this free family event filled with games, contests, activities and prizes! Enter the pumpkin carving contest or submit your pie into the best pumpkin pie contest.

Kids can hunt for the “Golden Pumpkins” – the lucky finders win gift certificates to purchase their family’s Thanksgiving meal! Each child will find and choose a free pumpkin to enjoy for Halloween. This is a garden-themed re-imagining of the Frozen Turkey Hunt of former years.

Donations to the Boothbay Region Food Pantry at the door will be gratefully accepted.

Monarchs at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

Caterpillars, Chrysalises & Butterflies: Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is a Certified Monarch Waystation

Monday, September 15th, 2014

Q&A with Horticulture staff member, Sharmon Provan, Plant Records Coordinator & Plant Propagator and Monarch Waystation project manager at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.

 
Q. Why and How did Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens (CMBG) become a Monarch Waystation?
A. Finding no Monarch butterflies at CMBG last year, after many years of great numbers of them, we wanted to aid in supporting and increasing the Monarch migration which has been greatly affected by deforestation and loss of habitats for Monarchs (and other wildlife) for development in Mexico and the U.S. According to Monarch Watch over 6,000 acres a day of land is developed per day in the U.S. alone. Also, the use of non-selective systemic herbicides, such as glyphosate, which is heavily used in farming, and even heavy roadside mowing, are wiping our native milkweed plants, the Monarch’s main food and nectar source. In celebration of our 2014 theme, “Pollinators!”, becoming a Monarch Waystation was one more way we could ‘educate-by-doing’, or lead by example, to make everyone aware of the importance of pollinators in our ecosystems and how easy it is to get involved. We contacted www.monarchwatch.org and followed their basic directions to get certified.
 
Q. What did you have to do for CMBG to become certified Monarch Waystation?
A. First, we had to commit to providing enough of the right types of plants, especially Milkweeds, to support a population of Monarch caterpillars. We are a colossal size garden and have committed over 5,000 square feet and most of our upper main campus to this project. Plant density is important, so we have made sure we have at least 2-10 plants from the Monarch Watch list per square yard. We’ve learned more is always better! We supplemented our existing nectar and other food source plants by bringing in many new types of plants, including annuals, perennials, and shrubs. We started so many extra milkweed plants in our greenhouse this spring that we could barely walk through the aisles!
 
Monarch Watch has a comprehensive list of plant species that are nectar sources for monarchs. It does not take much for a home gardener to be involved – one square yard is enough to get started. Monarch Watch also provides milkweed plants for those who do not have another source, but most nurseries and garden centers are starting to carry the plants, if they did not before, due to the increased interest. Submit an online application with Monarch Watch – it’s easy!
 
Q. What is the expected (hoped for) outcome of the Monarch Waystation project?
A. Hopefully, we have succeeded in providing a habitat for the migrating Monarch butterflies. We did see a number of tagged Monarchs around the gardens, so they came in from somewhere else. We also raised Monarchs here this summer, and the butterflies that we released, and the numerous additional butterflies, caterpillars and chrysalises we are finding in our gardens this summer give us hope we have made a difference in the protection and support of the Monarch species.
 
Q. What are your observations based on summer 2014. Successes and surprises?
A. We have learned a lot about the process of raising Monarchs, and realized just how many eggs they lay, and just how much they actually eat!
 
Q. What are the ‘next steps’ in being a Monarch Waystation
A. We have committed to being a Monarch Waystation, so we have committed to providing the food source for the Monarch butterflies indefinitely. I would like us to start the tagging process next year so progress can be tracked as the butterflies migrate. Maybe we will get proof that our own butterflies made it to their winter destination.
 

Drawing Butterflies and Moths with Katie Lee

Learning to Render Butterflies and Moths with Katie Lee

Monday, September 1st, 2014

Renowned botanical and wildlife artist Katie Lee spent a week here in August at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens teaching participants how to study and render butterflies and moths with pencil, ink and watercolors. Lee teaches in New York City at NYBG and worldwide and has illustrated award-winning children’s books.

Here are a few images of the class’ intricate, beautiful work from the week. Give us a call in Education if you’d be interested in taking a class like this with Lee in the future, (207) 633-4333.

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Daily Garden Activities for Children

A Garden for Children

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

There it is, as you approach the Bibby and Harold Alfond Children’s Garden at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. A chalkboard easel beckons from the entrance with its list of handwritten daily events, ones that take place each summer day in and among lush plantings, winding stone paths, a frog and fish-filled pond, neat vegetable garden rows, and the watery hiss of somnolent-looking whales. Children and their grown-ups pour in and out of this garden every and all day, tearing through the pathways, smiles wide, touching and clambering over stones and a small wooden bridge, taking inventory of the new or familiar, twirling zestfully in this spirited place at their scale. The energy of discovery and delight is palpable; it’s around each corner and curve and just out of sight. Parents stroll and rest and smile with gratitude that this garden is built with their children and grandchildren (and them) in mind. It’s inventive, thought-filled, natural and brimming with fun. The never-go-hungry pair of chickens know this is the place to be!

Make your own Botanical Art

Make your own Botanical Art

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Botanical artists carefully observe the plants they illustrate. As part of our current exhibit by the New England Society of Botanical Artists (NESBA) we have this interactive exhibit activity by The Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich, Vermont located in the Bosarge Family Education Center.

Look closely at a leaf as you make your own drawing – and you can try this at home with a light box, tracing paper and a pencil. A loupe or magnifying glass is very helpful to find the more intricate details of a leaf or flower.

Draw a Leaf

 

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MilkweedAsclepias sp. Milkweed, watercolor, by Ruth Ann Wetherby Frattasio of NESBA, on display in the Bosarge Family Education Center until September 30, 2014.

Pollinators in the Gardens

Pollinators in the Gardens: CMBG Photo Club exhibit 2014

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

The spectacular display of the flowers at the Gardens is really all for the pollinators (in the biological sense!). Revel in the intricate relationship between flower and pollinator in this engaging presentation by Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens Photo Club members. This photography exhibit “Pollinators in the Gardens” is on display in the Resource Room of the Visitor Center until September 30, 2014. Here are some images of this lively exhibit.

Pollinators in the Gardens: Photo Club