Spring Forward – a Horticulturist’s Metamorphosis


Greetings all! As we spring forward into this season of new beginnings, change is certainly afoot at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. The snow cannot melt fast enough as we all, here at CMBG, patiently await the first signs of plant life to emerge from the thawing tundra below. Anticipation over the forthcoming bulb display is thick and we remember well those grueling planting days of fall with our calloused hands and sore knees. We planted more than 23,000 bulbs last fall, and this spring looks to provide another jaw-dropping color extravaganza.

Jen Dunlap post 3-11-14 (2)

I saw the gardens and their bulb display with fresh eyes on Mother’s Day last year with my mother. This being my first experience at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, it left a lasting impression on my soul. A spark ignited within. As I mentally prepared for my move from Portland, Oregon, back to my homeland of Brunswick, Maine, I remember asking my mother to register the faces of the employees we encountered during our visit. If they looked happy, then that would be a true sign that this would be a great place to work. And indeed, we saw many inspired smiles that day. So, here I am today, the newest member of the Horticulture Department with a grin so wide you can see it on the Maine Tourism Guide Map, along with directions to our breathtaking garden.

Gardening in the Pacific Northwest proved to be an amazing, character-building experience. A temperate climate and growing season that is nearly year-round lent to a lushness of life that I have experienced in no other place I have lived. While gardening in Maine poses its own unique set of challenges, there are none that can take away from the joy of witnessing the fruits of your labors in the form of a bounty of flowers (or fruit, for that matter). And with the pollinator theme for 2014 fresh in my mind, I contemplate my own metamorphosis over the last few months. Try laying out a garden bed design when there is still a foot and a half of snow on the ground! We certainly have many exciting plans on the table for 2014 and the show must go on. Mother Nature willing, we just might see some signs of life springing forth soon! So please stay tuned and we too hope to see your smiling faces!

Jennifer Dunlap, Horticulturist (March 10, 2014)