Native Son: The Maine Thang

I was fortunate enough to visit southern Maine a few weeks back and thought you might like a little taste of the 991 photos I took there. (So many photos; so little time to share.) And while no one mentions winter, the state slogan of “How Life Should Be” really nails the excessively pleasant summer season in The Pine Tree State. Luxuriant gardens seem to be everywhere in the tiny towns that dot the coastline…they remind me of sisters; all favoring each other, yet each with its own unique personality.

Above: Sumptuous gardens greet you at Stonewall Kitchen in York, a haven for chic cooking accoutrements.
Below: Scenes like this are common during a leisurely stroll around the town of Ogunquit.

I spent four hours perusing the 323-acre Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay. Kind of a funny visit, as I was completely lost the whole time. I never saw the much-publicized giant troll exhibit, but blundered my way around through an endless sea of floral delights, textural contrasts, and brilliant stonework. I giggled to myself often, thinking of how this excessively-planted tableau might well drive a Type A person completely nuts (“The plants are all touching each other!”), but it’s right up my allee. I love the fullness of an autumn garden, fat with exurberant summer growth and laden with fruits…kinda reminds me of a bear just before hibernation. Hey…I resemble that remark!

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Above: A floral filled lobster trap is mesmerizing; Korean Dogwood loaded with raspberry-red fruit.
Below: Dahlias always dazzle—that’s just what they do! Jam-packed flower beds—just like I like ‘em!

Lush plantings and swaths of color escaped my words to describe them until my wife made the off-hand comment, “This whole place reminds me of a Monet painting.” I doubt there’s a better compliment to be had.

Above: Whimsy is alive and kicking at Coastal Maine BG, from adorable kitty fences to woven willow tunnels.
Below: Amazing stonework is simply everywhere, using different hues of granite from around the state.

My condition of being constantly lost was remedied by constantly discovering new treasures. This is the ultimate goal of every great garden…to swallow you up and make you forget about the world outside. When asked to name a similar garden, I found I couldn’t. I have seen grander and larger gardens, and, of course, visited smaller and more humble gardens, but I don’t think of any garden that resembles Coastal Maine BG. It is truly a unique space, and that is perhaps what I liked most about it.

Above: This monstrous chunk of granite has been gracefully sculpted into a smooth pool, anchoring the peaceful meditation garden. Skillfully crafted walks and landings are a hallmark of this splendid garden.
Below: Billowing blossoms bring in bunches of butterflies, such as this migrating Monarch.

Above: Life in coastal Maine revolves around the ocean, of course. High and low tides differ by about nine feet every 24 hours.
Below: These photos were taken about ten hours and twenty feet apart. Seeing the newly-risen full moon light up the night sky was equally as wonderful as watching the sun bring in a new day.

Southern Maine in early Autumn certainly does not disappoint. Crisp mornings, cool ocean breezes, and beautiful scenery set the stage for, well…life as it should be.


“Come celebrate with us! The Longview Arboretum is celebrating our second birthday on November 13; 11am to 5pm. Admission is FREE! Bring the whole family to enjoy art, music, and lots of food!

We’ll have artists around the arboretum plein air painting…come and see!
We’ll have the magnificent Covenant Olatunde playing his awesome guitars!
We’ll have three—count ’em–three food trucks dishin’ out the good stuff!
We’ll have fun activities for the kids!

Come and see what you’ve been missing!

Posted by Steven Chamblee
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