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Dig It! Garden Blog

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

Choosing the Right Plant for the Right Place

Friday, February 22nd, 2019

As a horticulturist at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, one of my most favorite “duties” is designing new annual plantings and tweaking existing combinations every year. The daughter of two very artistic parents, I grew up making art and creating, and went on to be a fine arts major in college. When it came time to graduate, my work in horticulture – both as a summer job in Maine and a work-study position in college – had taught me the pure joy of using plants as a living art medium. The artistic nature of the work was one of the major factors that compelled me to move into horticulture as a career.

At the Gardens, one of the more frequent remarks I hear from guests is how much they love the different combinations of plants used throughout our property. While each horticulturist has their own, unique way of designing, I hope to share a little insight into my process of choosing those plants and perhaps help to inspire you in your own gardens along the way! Read More

The Promise of Spring

Monday, February 11th, 2019

As I walked into the office this morning and looked at our desks, I had to smile. Peeking out from the heaping piles of Carharts, gloves, and scarves were bright glossy images of impossibly perfect flowers gracing the covers of innumerable catalogs. Ah the promise of spring, just as surely as snowdrops poking through the late winter snow. Read More

Fairy Houses Aglow

Thursday, December 13th, 2018

As you may or may not know, building fairy houses is a Maine tradition. We here at the Gardens celebrate those whimsical roots both in our Fairy Village and with the creative fairy houses built by staff every year for Gardens Aglow.
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Making the Switch to LED Lights

Tuesday, December 11th, 2018

At Gardens Aglow, we use LED lights in our designs be-decking our gardens and encourage others to use them, too. Not only do they last longer, they’re more reliable, more robust, far brighter, and far more energy efficient than their traditional counterparts. But with the upfront cost so much higher than the old incandescents, are they worth the investment? Read More

Outdoor Lighting Tips

Friday, November 9th, 2018

Since getting outdoor lights evenly spaced—with all bulbs facing (more or less) in the same direction—during a Maine autumn is challenging to say the least, we thought we’d share some of our key designer, Anna Leavitt’s favorite tips. Read More

Color Palettes & Combinations

Wednesday, November 7th, 2018

Since it sets the tone for the overall feel of your design, your color palette may be the most important decision you make when you begin your holiday lighting adventures. Color combinations involving red, white, and green typically feel more classic, while unexpected colors like teal or pink feel more whimsical. When selecting your color scheme, think about the scope of your area and try for cohesion, rather than an overwhelming display of color.

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Crafting with Greenery

Friday, October 26th, 2018

Winter décor and evergreens seem to go hand in hand. Ever thought to wonder why? Besides the fact that evergreens are often the only sign of life in an otherwise cold, dormant world, they have long been a symbol of life and health. Filling our homes with fragrant pine boughs follows in the footsteps of ancient cultures—all over the world for thousands of years, green plants have been used in solstice celebrations.

Traditionally, the oil and resin of fir trees have been used for their antiseptic properties, and bringing boughs into the home can help freshen and disinfect the air, protecting against respiratory illness—an added bonus in the months when we find ourselves gathered in warm, close spaces. Winding evergreens into circlets or wreaths not only brings this breath of fresh air inside where it will be most appreciated, but the shape represents the circle of life—a potent symbol at the solstice celebrating the returning of the light. Read More

Squirrels and Lights

Thursday, October 18th, 2018

Squirrels are no strangers to us here at the Gardens. At any given moment, you can hear them chattering from the nearby woods or dashing across your path. We couldn’t give you an exact count, but our horticulturists estimate their numbers to be in the billions.
Okay. That might be an exaggeration.

Of course, few predators coupled with plenty of water, trees, acorns, and in the spring, tulip bulbs make CMBG the perfect place for squirrels to take up residence.

So why, with all this natural abundance, do they feel the need to feast on the lights we’ve so painstakingly hung for Gardens Aglow? Read More

What’s in Bloom – September 13, 2018

Thursday, September 13th, 2018

Hibiscus are amazing and putting on quite a show! Lovers of black-eyed-Susan will not be disappointed this week. And be sure to check out the incredible blue flowers on the various types of gentains. And the very unusual flowers of Tricyrtis or toad lilies are sure to impress. Ornamental grasses are looking good and the asters are starting to open. Read More