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Kristin

Unique Plants for Maine Gardens: Agave and Dinosaur Food

Monday, August 4th, 2014

Greetings fellow plant enthusiasts, my name is Kristin Neill. For those of you that don’t remember me, I am originally from Greensboro, North Carolina. I’m a student at North Carolina State University studying Horticultural Science and Plant Biology. This is my second summer interning at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. I’m excited to have the chance to return to Maine and continue working and learning every day at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.

One of my favorite parts about working for the Gardens has to be planting. We are constantly changing designs and adding and moving plants within the individual gardens and it’s phenomenal to get to participate in these changes. We were very busy in June completing some of our biggest projects, including a new design in the Great Lawn bed and many annual plants. We have some very beautiful displays this year, including some very exceptional plants.

So let me tell you about some of my favorite unique plants this summer. I’ve had the opportunity to do many of the annual plantings in the front entrance walk, the Great Lawn, and the Children’s Garden. One of the more interesting plants in the garden, that is definitely not native to Maine, is the Agave. Agave was interesting to handle in its entirety. Sharp needle-like ends at the tips of each leaf make handling this gorgeous plant deadly, and make planting even harder. Agave is known as the “century plant”, meaning that it takes a long time for it to flower, then after flowering the plant will die. Up here in Maine, though, this plant will not make it through the winter and will never get the chance to flower. Although it was a challenge to handle and plant, I enjoy having this plant in the gardens as well as seeing guest reactions to it. It has been used in a distinctive design on the front entrance walk. Where else will you see Agave growing in Maine?

Agave

Now think back to the times of dinosaurs; imagine the massive looming creatures and the massive plants growing that had to sustain such creatures. One of our newest additions to the Rhododendron Garden is a plant reminiscent of such plants. Called Gunnera manicata, this giant-leaved perennial definitely resembles “dinosaur food”, which also happens to be one of its common names. Gunnera manicata is one of the largest herbaceous perennials on earth. The huge, toothed, palmately-lobed, and prominently-veined leaves on Gunnera can get as big as 6 to 8 feet across. This unique plant is also commonly called “giant rhubarb” because of its similarities to rhubarb, although botanically, it is not related.

Big Plant

So come visit this summer and check out these unusual plants along with many more unique ones here at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens!

-Kristin Neill
Bridge Summer Intern 2014, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens
Horticultural Science and Plant Biology Major, North Carolina State University

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.

What's in Bloom this Week

What’s in Bloom this Week

Monday, July 28th, 2014

Main Entrance:
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ standards
Tweedia
Lavendula ‘Phenomenal’
Begonia boliviensis ‘Santa Cruz Sunset’

Bibby & Harold Alfond Children’s Garden:
Geranium macrorrhizum ‘Variegatum’
Petrorhagia saxifraga
Ligularia japonica
Syringa ‘Penda’ – Bloomerang lilac
Cuphea micropetala (KOO-fee-ah my-kro-PET-ah-lah) – Candy Corn plant (shown above)

Rose & Perennial Garden:
Ipomea ‘Firecracker’
Hyssop ‘Black Adder’
Echinacea sp. – Coneflowers
Knipfophia ‘Lola’
Perovskia atriplicifolia

Lerner Garden and Great Lawn:
Ligularia
Hemerocallis – Daylilies
Lillium ‘Golden Stargazer’ and ‘Silk Road’
Platycodon – Balloon Flower
Helenium – Sneeze Weed
Echinaceas – Coneflowers
Melanthium – Bunch Flower
Phlox ‘Danielle’ – Garden Phlox

Haney Hillside:
Ceanothus americanus – New Jersey tea
Dicentra – Bleeding Heart

Cleaver Event Lawn:
Allium millennium
Phlox paniculata ‘David’
Phlox paniculata ‘Danielle’
Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’
Phytolacca americana ‘Silberstein’ – Pokeweed

Giles Rhododendron Garden:
Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’
Geranium ‘Gerwat’ – Rozanne cranesbill
Astilbe simplicifolia ‘Hennie Graafland’
Rhododendron ‘Hachmann’s Charmant’

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!

Polynation

Pollinators , a June LaCombe SCULPTURE Exhibit at the gardens

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Make sure you look for some or all of June LaCombe’s 2014 exhibit, “Pollinators”, when you visit Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens this summer in Boothbay, including Polynation by George Sherwood (image courtesy of June LaCombe). June brings together some of the finest artists and artwork in New England each year; her outdoor installations demonstrate how sculpture can animate the land and celebrate place. June has helped clients for 25 years to build their art collections as she oversees the selection, delivery, placement and installation of sculpture.

Come see the full “Pollinators” exhibit here in person until September 30th or view it on her website: June LaCombe SCULPTURE.

Down East magazineJune LaCombe is currently featured in a great article, “The Art of Nature” in the August issue of Down East magazine. Download Down East article (PDF)

moth1

A Wild, Woolly (Polyphemus) Visitor

Monday, July 21st, 2014

Is it a bird? Plane? Nope, it’s a Polyphemus Moth (Antheraea polyphemus)! 11 year-old Youth Education Steward and young naturalist Graham could not wait to share this beautiful moth that he found at his home, so he brought it in. He took it to our Resource Room in the Visitor’s Center where he identified the fuzzy, nocturnal pollinator using a field guide. He learned that what was once a Giant Silkworm had become a big, handsome moth. One that’s in the same family as the lovely, elusive Luna Moth. What’s cool about the Polyphemus? It has strikingly colorful wing patterns and multiple transparent eyespots. Thank you for sharing it with us, Graham!

What's in Bloom at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

What’s in Bloom this Week

Monday, July 21st, 2014

Entry Walk:
Lavendula ‘Phenomenal’ – Lavender
Cestrum ‘Orange Peel’
Begonia ‘Whopper Red Bronze Leaf’
Coleus ‘Wasabi’

Lerner Garden of the Five Senses:
Actaea racemosa – Black Snakeroot
Hemerocallis – Daylilies
Echinacea – all of them!
Monarda – Bee Balm

Great Lawn:
Echinacea – Purple Coneflower
Salvia confertiflora
Filipendula – Queen of the Prairie
Anigozanthos – Kangaroo Paw

Rose and Perennial Garden:
Clematis ‘Hagley Hybrid’
Clematis ‘Comtesse de Bouchaud’
Rosa ‘Prairie Joy’
Ligularia ‘Bottle Rocket’
Lavendula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’ – Lavender

Kitchen Garden:
Digitalis ferruginea – Foxglove
Echinacea ‘Milkshake’ Sweet – Coneflower
Hydrangea ‘Annabelle’
Helianthus ‘Earthwalker’ ‘Velvet Queen’ ‘Crimson Queen’ ‘Primrose Giant’ bold impressive – Sunflowers
Papaver somniferum – Bread Seed Poppy
Thymus citriodorus – Lemon Thyme
Calendula cultivars – Marigold
Dill

Bibby and Harold Alfond Children’s Garden:
The Daisies are incredible!
Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’
Lonicera sp. – Honeysuckle
Echinacea cultivars – Coneflower
Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’
Asclepias sp. – Milkweed

Cleaver Event Lawn:
Stachys ‘Helen von Stein’
Coreopsis ‘Red Satin’
Echinacea ‘Passion Flute’ – Coneflower
Asclepias incarnata ‘Ice Ballet’ – Milkweed

Bosarge Family Education Center:
Hypericum ‘Blue Velvet’ – Kalm’s St. Johnswort
Diervilla
Cotinus obovatus – American smoke tree
Gillenia stipulata – American Ipecac
Asclepias incarnata – Milkweed

Shown above: Echinacea purpurea ‘Green Jewel’

Main Entry - Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens Visitor Center

Arrival is New at the Gardens

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

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.

Entry Garden - Winter 2013As 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

Kieve Summer Camp for Boys helps CMBG

Thank You, Kieve Summer Camp for Boys

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

A big THANK YOU to 16 campers and 3 counselors from Kieve Summer Camp for Boys in Nobleboro, Maine who came to Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens today in spite of damp weather to give their time weeding! They spent two hours weeding around the Bosarge Family Education Center. What a huge help to our Horticulture crew.