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Category: News

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.

butterfly6

 

butterfly5

 

butterfly1

 

butterfly4

 

butterfly3

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

 

up-close

 

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

NESBA

FROM THE MOUNTAINS TO THE SEA: AN EXHIBIT OF NATIVE NEW ENGLAND PLANT PORTRAITS by NESBA

Monday, August 4th, 2014

We are very fortunate to have the New England Society of Botanical Artists (NESBA) “From the Mountains to the Sea” exhibit open here this week at its 6th and final venue, the Bosarge Family Education Center at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay ME. Everyone is invited to the reception Saturday August 9, 5-7 pm. There will be a live botanical artist demonstration by NESBA and Maine artist Kate MacGillivary at 2 p.m. The exhibit will be on view from August 1 through September 30.

NESBA works to promote public appreciation of the art and science of botanical art and illustration in New England. The Society educates individuals and organizations about botanical art and illustration through exhibits, lectures, workshops, and outreach programs.

Through its art, NESBA emphasizes New England plant diversity and its preservation, provides a community for artists and illustrators engaged in this challenging discipline, designs forums for meetings and discussions, as well as for camaraderie among other botanical artists, illustrators, scientists and historians.

NESBA - Bosarge Family Education Center
 

Images courtesy: NESBA, New England Society of Botanical Artists
Top image: Asclepius syriaca, Milkweed, Susan Pettee, Massachusetts

View From the Mountains to the Sea NESBA catalog (PDF)
For more information about the art and artists, click here

Meghan

First Impressions of a Horticulture Summer Intern

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

As a new horticultural summer intern at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens (CMBG) and having never been in the state of Maine before I was unsure what to expect when I first arrived at the Gardens. Of course I had seen pictures of various places within the garden and have been amazed by them, but none of these photos could compare to actual beauty of CMBG. My first day of work I found myself in complete awe of this spectacular place, even the parking lot that I found myself lost in was amazing. The colors of the flowers are so vibrant and the smells intoxicating. The small details of each individual flower of the blooming plants make Coastal Maine so magical. My first week of work was definitely filled with work to be done from removing tulip bulbs to mulching in the rain. I woke up sore but so excited to head back to work in the wonderland that is CMBG. Even today I find myself walking around in a fantasy trying to absorb everything that CMBG has to offer. The flowers are in a constant rotation of blooming times. The first week I arrived the Cercis canadensis (eastern redbud) was flowering and now Delphinium elatum is in full bloom and roses are filling the air with their invigorating fragrance. Everything changes here, but my amazement of this place remains the same. I am just about half way through my summer internship at CMBG and I can’t imagine leaving this remarkable place. When I head back to the University of Delaware this fall to complete my senior year I’m not sure I will be able to find the same tranquility that I have discovered here in Maine. Not only is the environment of CMBG a great place to work, but also the other horticulturalists are so knowledgeable and fun to work with. I have definitely learned a lot about horticulture thus far and I look forward to what else CMBG has to offer as I finish up my last month and a half in this utopia that is Maine.

– Meghan Sobbott
Walbridge-Bacon Summer Intern 2014, CMBG
University of Delaware 2015
BS Agriculture and Natural Resources
BS Plant Science
Environmental Soil Science Minor

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens - Interns

2014 Summer Interns, field trip

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

Last week the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens summer interns went on a day trip to Bar Harbor with Rodney Eason, Director of Horticulture. First stop they went to Lunaform to see how their enormous concrete vases and pieces are made. Then they traveled the Rockefeller Estate on Mt. Desert Island and toured the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden and several other gardens as well. It was wonderful experience for our interns!

Our summer interns are involved with and contributors to many different areas of the Gardens each summer, including admissions, education, gift shop, horticulture, marketing and membership. From left to right: Emma – Mount Holyoke College ‘14, Christabel – Emerson College ’15, Kristin – North Carolina State University ’16, Fei – Bates College ’14, Meghan – University of Delaware ’15, Lauren – University of Michigan ’15, Caitlin – Rochester Institute of Technology ’15, Mary – Bates College ’16.

The Codfather

Come see the Codfather

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

We’re delighted to welcome back Maine Artist Steve Lindsay to Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens with his spectacular bronze sculpture, The “Codfather”. The sculpture is a generous gift to the Gardens from Tish and Seabury Stoneburner, which was originally installed here in 2006 as part of a June LaCombe sculpture exhibit. The “Codfather” is now permanently installed on our Shoreland Trail for everyone to enjoy for many years to come. Interesting fact: at six feet long, the “Codfather” is a life-size bronze replica of a world record 211-pound Atlantic cod caught off the coast of New England in 1895. Original fabrication and bronze casting images may be viewed on the artist’s website: www.stevelindsay.net. Come see the Codfather!