Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Montana Williams, and I am the Pearson Horticulture Intern here at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. I recently received my bachelor’s degree in horticulture from Colorado State University in beautiful Fort Collins, Col., where I interned with several local public gardens. Hoping to expand my experience working with public gardens and desiring a new adventure, I packed up my things and moved more than 2,000 miles from my hometown, which is also in Fort Collins. Fortunately, the paralyzing fear of moving away from my extraordinary life in Colorado was calmed by the picturesque landscape of Boothbay and its incredible summer climate.
During my orientation at the gardens I was blown away by its extensive collection of plants and themed displays, but above all I was love-struck by the endless variety of Rhododendron on the property. For those unfamiliar with the genus, Rhododendron is a genus characterized by shrubs and small trees that may be evergreen or deciduous. They prefer well-drained slightly acidic soil in a cool location with adequate water, but most importantly they are loved for their gorgeous flowers and dense rounded growth habit.
This week, the other interns and I were assigned ten conifers to learn by the end of the week in order to familiarize ourselves with some exceptional species found in the Bibby and Harold Alfond Children’s Garden. The list included one of my favorite species of trees, Pinus strobus or Eastern white pine, a conifer native to Maine and a tree you almost never see in Colorado. This tree has unusually soft needles and is an excellent choice for connecting people with the “touch” aspect of the garden and creating an interactive and memorable experience.