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What’s in Bloom – June 20, 2018

Wednesday, June 20th, 2018

Entrance Walk:
Aesculus x carnea ‘Ft. McNair’ – red horse chestnut
Benthamidia japonica var. chinensis ‘Samzam’ – Japanese dogwood
Calycanthus ‘Aphrodite’ – sweetshrub
Calycanthus x raulstonii ‘Hartlage Wine’ – sweetshrub
Chionanthus virginicus – fringetree
Hydrangea anomala ssp. petiolaris – climbing hydrangea
Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diabolo’ – ninebark

Founders’ Grove:
Heuchera ‘Fandango’ – coralbells
Iris ‘Spartan’ – iris

Lerner garden of the Five Senses:
Achillea ‘Moonshine’ – yarrow
Allium ‘Globemaster’ – ornamental onion
Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’ – blue star
Calycanthus floridus ‘Michael Lindsey’ – sweetshrub
Clematis addisonii – Addison’s leather flower
Dianthus gratianopolitanus ‘Feuerhexe’ – cheddar pinks
Iris laevigata ‘Variegata’ – variegated iris
Nymphaea ‘Fire Crest’ – pink waterlily
Paeonia lactiflora ‘Do Tell’ – peony
Paeonia ‘Bartzella’ – Itoh peony
Paeonia ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ – Itoh peony
Paeonia ‘Sanoma Amethyst’ – peony
Primula japonica – primrose
Rosa ‘Nearly Wild’ – rose
Salvia argentea ‘Hobbit’s Foot’ – sage
Salvia nemerosa ‘Caradonna’ – meadow sage
Salvia x sylvestris ‘Mainacht’ – sage
Symphytum x uplandicum ‘Axminster Gold’ – comfrey
Syringa komarowii – lilac
Syringa pubescens ssp. patula ‘Miss Kim’ – lilac
Weigela ‘Alexandra’ – weigela
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What’s in Bloom – June 7, 2018

Thursday, June 7th, 2018

Entrance Walk:
Aesculus x carnea ‘Ft. McNair’ – red horse chestnut
Amsonia ciliata ‘Spring Sky’ – blue star
Calycanthus x raulstonii ‘Hartlage Wine’ – sweetshrub
Syringa x prestoniae ‘Donald Wyman’ – lilac
Viburnum plicatum forma tomentosum ‘Shasta’ – doublefile viburnum

Founders’ Grove:
Enkianthus campanulatus ‘Albiflorus’ – white redvein enkianthus
Iris ‘Spartan’ – iris


‘Fernwood’s Golden Slipper’ and ‘Cream da Mint’ lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis) outside of the Lerner Garden.

Lerner garden of the Five Senses:
Allium ‘Globemaster’ – ornamental onion
Calycanthus floridus ‘Michael Lindsey’ – sweetshrub
Clematis addisonii – Addison’s leather flower
Convallaria majalis ‘Fernwood’s Golden Slipper’ and ‘Cream da Mint’ – lily of the valley
Daphne x burkwoodii ‘Carol Mackie’ – daphne
Dianthus gratianopolitanus ‘Feuerhexe’ – cheddar pinks
Diphylleia cymosa – umbrella leaf
Dodocatheon clevelandii ssp. insulare – Padre’s shooting star
Epimedium ‘Amber Queen’, ‘Lemon Zest’, ‘Yokihi’ – barrenwort
Iris laevigata ‘Variegata’ – variegated iris
Lamprocapnos spectabile ‘Valentine’ – bleeding heart
Paeonia rockii – peony
Phlox stolonifera ‘Sherwood Purple’ – creeping phlox
Primula japonica – primrose
Salvia nemerosa ‘Caradonna’ – meadow sage
Salvia x sylvestris ‘Mainacht’ – sage
Thymus serpyllum ‘Pink Chuntz’ – thyme
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What’s in Bloom – August 24, 2017

Friday, August 25th, 2017


Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ is spectacular! These are at the Norweb Entrance Garden. – Sharmon, director of horticulture


Pennisteum ‘Fireworks’ certainly is putting on a show this time of year! This annual grass makes a great foliage contrast all season. Come see it at the entrance to the Arbor Garden. – Amy, writer/editor


I look forward to this gorgeous Rose of Sharon blooming every summer. Lavender, shades of blue, and dusky red make this an eye catching shrub that pollinators and humans alike simply cannot resist. Three cheers for the Hibiscus ‘Notwood Three.’ – Jen, horticulturist Read More

What’s in Bloom – August 14, 2017

Monday, August 14th, 2017


I love this ‘American Dawn’ Dahlia! Find it on the steps leading up to and scattered around the Cleaver Event Lawn. – Anna, horticulturist


Sagittarius latifolia (Common Arrowhead) is beautiful in the Slater Forest Pond. – Will, horticulturist


Rudbeckia fulgida, ‘Goldsturm’ Black-eyed Susan. This cheerful native perennial is actually an herb—Native Americans valued this plant for its variety of uses for centuries. Recent studies indicate it may even have a more stimulating effect on the immune system than Echinacea! Just don’t eat the seeds—they’re poisonous. – Amy, writer/editor Read More

What’s in Bloom – July 31, 2017

Monday, July 31st, 2017


A reliable perennial I would recommend to any gardener with sun and space is Thalictrum rochebruneanum, also called Meadow Rue. This statuesque plant gets to be over 7 feet tall and it topped with a plethora of purple flowers that the bees love! It is a bit of a self-seeder, but so worth it for its beauty! These plants can be found in the Great Lawn North Bed (across from the Burpee Kitchen Garden) and the Cleaver Event Lawn. – Syretha, horticulturist

Rosa ‘Yellow Submarine’ looking great in the Lerner Garden this week. – Will, horticulturist


Thought of as a weed in some parts of the world and food in others, these two varieties of Amaranthus caudatus (‘Coral Fountain’ and ‘Green Tails’) near the Cleaver Event Lawn are already over 4 feet high! The word Amaranth comes from the Greek ‘amaranton,’ or “unwilting,” because the flowers last so long and were a symbol of immortality. – Anna, horticulturist Read More

What’s in Bloom – July 21, 2017

Friday, July 21st, 2017


Origanum ‘Kent Beauty’ ornamental oregano…the sweetly nodding pink bracts look great in the container leading up the steps to the Cleaver Event Lawn. – Anna, Horticulturist


Shout Out! To this perfect perennial! Crocosmia ‘George Davidson’ named after the late British scientist and professor who thankfully bred this stunning Montebretia. It pairs beautifully with blue fescue and magenta Nemesia at the entrance of the Bibby and Harold Alfond Children’s Garden. – Jen, Horticulturist


A crowd favorite, Allium sphaerocephalon, or Drumstick Allium, is blooming in the Arbor Garden! Here it’s been wonderfully paired with Eryngium planum ‘Blue Glitter.’ An extra plus is honey bees love it as well! – Syretha, Horticulturist Read More

Saving the Swarm

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

The Gardens has a lot of volunteers, and an important group among them are our volunteer pollinators. Honey bees are a key pollinator that we depend on. We maintain a small apiary – a fancy name for the location where beehives are kept – of about 400,000 honey bees by our horticultural building, and it is maintained by Master Beekeeper (and Gardens CFO) Erin MacGregor Forbes.


Recently, Erin received an alert from the Maine State Beekeepers Association (MSBA) about a swarm of honey bees that had been reported by an alarmed East Boothbay resident. The swarm had landed on a tree in her front yard, and she used the form on the MSBA website to alert the nearest team member to come remove it. (You can report your own swarm here. Please note that they only remove honey bee swarms – they do not handle wasps, hornets, bumble bees or other stinging insects. If possible, try to ID the insects before reporting.)

“Swarming,” as Erin says, “is the colony level reproductive behavior of honey bees. The colony intentionally raises more individual bees than the current space can accommodate, and also raises a new queen.” Just before the new queen hatches, she makes a specific sound to let the old queen know it is time to depart. The old queen and a portion of the adult bee population in the hive – typically 20-30% of the total colony – fly out of the colony together and form a swarm cluster somewhere usually not too far from the old hive.


This swarm cluster, while sometimes loud and a little intimidating, is busy and distracted looking for a new cavity to inhabit and create a new hive in. They send out scouts to find locations, while the rest remain with the queen.

Erin, prepared with an empty hive ready to go, facilitated the relocation of this particular swarm into an ideal and safe new nest. She was even able to locate the queen in the swarm, and place her directly in the hive to help ensure the swarm moves in. “As far as these bees are concerned,” she said, “finding this hive directly below them is a miracle.”

After giving the scouts some time to return and locate the colony’s new home, Erin then came back to collect the hive and add them to our team of volunteer pollinators here at the Gardens. They make hive #9 in our apiary – to the far left in the image below. This year we anticipate harvesting several hundred pounds of honey flavored by the floral diversity that is unique to the Gardens. This honey will be shared with volunteers and members.

If you want to learn more about our bees, check out our upcoming ‘Secret Lives of Beekeepers’ class this fall on October 18 – more details to come soon!

What’s in Bloom – July 7, 2017

Friday, July 7th, 2017

Staff Picks


These lovely water lilies (Nymphea hardy water lily) in the children’s garden remind me of being young and catching frogs in the pond. – Tina, IT Coordinator


Now that we’re open until 6pm it’s fun to see how the vibrant colors look against the early evening sky. The deep purple of this larkspur (Delphinium ‘Pagan Purples’) in the Lerner Garden of the Five Senses is so dramatic! – Kris, Director of Marketing Read More

What’s in Bloom – June 23, 2017

Friday, June 23rd, 2017

Staff Picks


This week, be sure to make your way up under the Rose Arbor in the Arbor Garden. There you’ll find Clematis ‘Multi Blue’ blooming it’s little head off! The color is simply out of this world! – Syretha, horticulturist


Phyteuma scheuzeri, the horned rampion. You just have to see this awesome little perennial in the Children’s Garden. – Jen D., horticulturist


This lovely lilac is blooming in the front of the Lerner Garden. Syringa komarowii hails from southwest China, and is very rare in this area. The seed for this plant was collected by Dan Hinckly on one of his plant expeditions several years ago. – Will, horticulturist Read More

Use for Ajuga reptans

Tuesday, June 20th, 2017

If you’ve been dropping by our blog regularly, you’ll know that Syretha, one of our horticulturists, recently posted about her fondness for Ajuga varieties (currently in bloom here at the Gardens), and I have to second that fondness.

Though I have to say, as an herbalist, I’m definitely biased; any plant regularly dismissed as an invader or a common weed, well, I’m bound and determined to discover a use for, herbal or otherwise. Read More