The collections at the Gardens exist and are curated to advance our mission of inspiring meaningful connections among people, plants and nature. The collections are critically important across the horticulture, education, and plant conservation and research programs. Our living, herbarium, and library collections actively engage people with plants and the natural world and enable us to create positive impact on people and the planet.
Our living collections are at the heart of our gardens and support every aspect of our mission. The collections comprise more than 100,000 diverse and carefully curated, accessioned plant specimens growing throughout our varied garden spaces. The collection is curated by Katherine Brewer, Curator of Living Collections.
Our vibrant and diverse collections:
- Bring guests into contact with a diverse spectrum of plants, both familiar and unfamiliar
- Create a beautiful and inspiring landscape
- Serve as living educational tools
- Contribute to the conservation of rare species through ex situ conservation
- Facilitate research
Discover and engage with our living collections while visiting or remotely via our Garden Explorer Web Portal! Our collections contain 2,000 different kinds of plants (taxa)!
The Asclepias (milkweed) collection at the Gardens is focused on conserving the 10 species of milkweed native to Maine and it’s three ecoregions, and sharing with the public the wide diversity of milkweeds and their critical ecological importance.
Our Epimedium (bishop’s hat) collection introduces guests to a diverse group of unique and charismatic ornamental plants that are well-suited to home gardens in coastal Maine’s climate.
The Gardens herbarium was founded in 2014 to document and preserve the plant biodiversity of coastal Maine and its broader ecoregions. The collection is curated by Melissa Cullina, Director of Plant Science & Collections, assisted by Science and Collections Information Specialist Spencer O’Bryan and a very dedicated corps of volunteers. The herbarium, a collection of dried, pressed plant specimens, supports the research, education, and horticulture pillars of our mission. The herbarium serves as the repository for vouchers of our ongoing MidCoast Flora project, as well the living horticultural collections of Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.
The botanical and horticultural library at the Gardens is more than just a collection of books—it’s an ever-growing resource supporting our horticultural, educational, and scientific goals. The library contains books and publications about plants, gardening and professional best practices, and natural history, plus archives of Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens and volumes that support our organizational values. The library collection contains over 1,500 accessions and includes volumes for youth and adults.
Significant collections include the gifted collection of Dr. Carroll E. Wood, two limited-edition volumes of Plant of Flowers of Maine: Kate Furbish’s Watercolors, and the complete works of former Executive Directors William G. Cullina and Maureen Heffernan.
The Library strives to encourage interest and learning in the practice of horticulture, landscape design, botany, and natural history; provide diverse life-long educational opportunities through individual study, library-related programs, or exhibits and displays; and facilitate professional development or research by staff and collaborating students and scientists.
Did you know? Plants and Flowers of Maine: Kate Furbish’s Watercolors was a collaborative project of CMBG and Bowdoin College Library. CMBG supported the imaging of Kate Furbish’s botanical art and Director of Plant Science + Collections Melissa Cullina contributed the Introduction.