Many of our guests arriving at the Gardens this fall have commented how surprised they are to see just how much there is in the Gardens this late in the season. We have had a wonderful summer, which has segued into a crisp fall. The pleasant and warm summer temperatures have allowed the permanent plantings to grow and thrive without the undue stress of heat or drought. Most of our perennials are selected to thrive here along the Maine coast and that they do with fervor.
Many perennials are starting to show signs of dormancy or going to seed, but we have avoided an early frost here in Boothbay, which would push most plants into a winter slumber. Along with the pleasant fall, we have continued to provide a moderate amount of drip irrigation. This slight amount of moisture allows the plants to continue to uptake the nutrients from the soil and avoid falling into dormancy. The above is a general explanation of why the perennials still look good, so let me explain why most of the annual plantings are still look pretty good as well.
Many of our newer annuals were ones used in the conservatories when I worked at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania as cool season annuals or permanent plantings. These plants were trialed to survive and still look good at temperatures around 40 degrees Fahrenheit, which was the lowest temperature any of the major conservatories would dip to in the winter time. Here at CMBG we have had a few nights in the low 40’s, but the exotic kangaroo paws, hibiscus, begonias, cuphea, and ornamental rice still look great.
As the saying goes, a good thing cannot last forever and in this case, the closer we get to freezing temperatures, the more apt the gardens will be to fall into their winter slumber. Come on out and visit the gardens again! There are plenty of beautiful plants to see and enjoy along with over 1,300 gorgeous pumpkins.
– Rodney Eason
Director of Horticulture