In case you have not yet visited the gardens here at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens this year, you will immediately notice a new series of plantings from the parking lot to the Visitor Center. Over the winter, we drew up plans for a new arrival garden that would provide for more flower color and a better view of the visitor center. The entrance walk had matured to the point where many of the plants were now being shaded out by now mature trees and shrubs.
As soon as the ground thawed this spring, we began moving trees and removing overgrown plantings. We left a core backbone of spring flowering shrubs such as the witchhazels that we love in March and April. By removing some of the overgrown shrubs, we were able to uncover the beautiful, curving stone wall that had been installed when the gardens were first built.
Before you cross the walk to the arrival path, we planted a row of hydrangea standards which should be flowering in a few weeks. This initial burst of flower color will be a signal that you are on the right path. After you cross the walk, you are immediately greeted by the bright red stems of ‘Bright Lights’ swiss chard and the red flowers of Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears.’ As you ascend the pathway, we have added perennial and annual color all along the way, with the color palette tending towards bright and happy colors. The design intent was put a smile on your face as you walk toward the visitor center and set up the summer displays.
The showstoppers thus far have been the begonias. We planted Begonia boliviensis ‘Santa Cruz Sunset’ and Begonia ‘Whopper Red Bronze Leaf.’ The bright orange and red of these flowers have most of our guests stopping and taking note of the beautiful plants. By the end of this summer, all of the annuals should fill in the arrival beds and make for a colorful and impactful display.
Another detail to note is that our facilities crew pulled the Kennebunk green color from inside of the visitor center and added it as an accent color to the entry columns. Our marketing team also added 5 colorful banners to signal your arrival to CMBG and our year of the Pollinator. We hope you enjoy these improvements as we continue to make Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens a great place for you to visit.
– Rodney Eason
Director of Horticulture and Plant Curator