I’ve been in Maine for the past several weeks enjoying the beautiful coastal habitats, looking for whales, and seeing some amazing birds.
One of my last days there was spent exploring the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden, where the azalea garden was in full bloom and the Pink Ladyslippers were putting on quite a show. And the woods were filled with the song of courting birds.
The Coastal Maine Botanical Garden is a 240 acre wooded site in Boothbay Maine, that also includes 3600 feet of tidal shore frontage. This Botanical Garden is a delightful mix of natural habitats including woodland and coastal rocky shores.
I’m not often a fan of Botanic Gardens because it often feels like a bunch of unrelated plant “specimens” gathered together, kind of like animals in a zoo. As a wildlife gardener, I look at the whole picture: How do plants form communities and ecosystems that support wildlife and create welcoming habitats?
I was impressed with this botanic garden, however. The native plants are not smothered by specimens from all over the world. The feeling here at the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden is very much that of a natural setting, with exotic plants tucked in among the native plant communities.
The children’s garden is one of the best I’ve ever seen. I’m a firm advocate for teaching children about nature and guiding them to become the next generation of scientists, botanists, biologists, and naturalists.
Allowing children to be exposed to nature will help to create the next stewards of our planet.
For me, the biggest draw of this botanic garden is that a priority has been placed on preserving the native plant community that makes this region special.
Strolling through the woodland brought great discoveries of native plant treasures, blooming in their natural habitat.
The survey of Pink Lady’s Slippers is amazing. Every plant is tagged each year and its progress is followed over time.
These stunning wildflowers are quite endangered, and to see so many of them thriving in this beautiful woodland “garden” is an amazing sight! They have become endangered due to habitat loss and destruction, as well as the fact that some unscrupulous people dig them up from the wild and sell them at nurseries. This is sad on two levels, first the plants are no longer in their natural habitat. Second these plants have some precise growing requirements, and most often do not survive in their new garden locations.
Next time you’re near Boothbay Harbor in Maine, make sure you schedule a visit to the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden. You will surely be delighted.
Where is YOUR favorite place to see wildflowers?