Ecology in Progress at the Gardens

Biodiversity, Gardening, Sustainability

“Leave the Leaves” and “Water-Wise Gardening”— perhaps you’ve heard these sayings, or they may be new concepts for you. While these adages are lighthearted and fun, we take our ecological horticulture practices very seriously at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.

Sometimes, this looks like leaving garden spaces completely untouched and naturalized. Other practices include cutting back the hollow and pithy stems of native perennials such as Joe-Pye weed, bee balm, sedum, and milkweeds to 18–24 inches to help stem-nesting insects like bees, wasps, and other predator species. We promote building healthy soils using natural mulch materials like leaves, needles, and other garden debris. The balance of maintaining beautiful gardens that also support a robust ecosystem is a critical step in conserving and protecting natural areas. On your next visit, look out for the “Ecology in Progress” signs; while designated areas may not appear the way you traditionally expect a botanical garden should look, they demonstrate what it means to prioritize ecological practices in horticulture.