Maine Roots

A blog about all things Maine


Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

What could be more appropriate for springtime than an adventure to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens?  (although, you might want to wait until the snow has melted).  Located in scenic Boothbay, Maine, these gardens reflect the natural landscapes and plants of coastal Maine and demonstrate the rugged, and sometimes wild, beauty of the state.


The basin in the Vayo Meditation Garden

I visited the Botanical Gardens for the first time a couple of years ago with my mom, my sister, and my (now) husband, and I was charmed and intrigued by the extensive gardens, diverse plant life, the emphasis on education, and the opportunity for exploration.  The Botanical Gardens include their Central Gardens (which are ADA accessible, along with the Visitor Center), the Bibby & Harold Alfond Children’s Garden, a number of other gardens, and a wide variety of hiking and walking trails.

I enjoy gardening, and although I’m not (yet) as skilled or as knowledgeable as my mother, what I liked the most about the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens was the variety of plant types, the interest they provided, and the emphasis on those plants that are either native to Maine or grow well there.  Some of my first memories exploring, and truly understanding, the beauty of the Maine wilderness (or, perhaps more accurately, countryside) come from my mother’s work with the Gorham Land Trust – and in particular, protecting the Rhododendron in southern Maine.  Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens features the Giles Rhododendron Garden, and although we were, unfortunately, too early to see these lovely, woody plants in bloom, this perhaps made the greatest impression on me because of its significance for my mom.

The Botanical Gardens also offers their Kitchen Garden Cafe for light fare, a  lovely Rose & Perennial Garden, and, at the time we were there, an entire display on how to plant and grow a wall of plants.  Nick downloaded an audio tour via an app that the Botanical Garden offers, and so we were guided  through the majority of our tour.  We explored quite a bit – going all the way to the waterfall overlook, visiting the Fairy Houses, and touring the Children’s Garden – which delighted us as much as it would a child.

View of the Rose & Perennial Garden

View of the Rose & Perennial Garden

I hope you are able to go and expore this garden that shares the best of coastal, southern Maine.

A view of coastal Maine from a wildlife trail

A view of coastal Maine from a wildlife trail



A little ‘Spring’ in your step

It may not feel much like spring in Maine right now – despite Wednesday, March 20th, being the first official day of spring – after all, the state just received another 10-18 inches of snow, depending on your location, and there’s a potential for more in a storm system next week.  But, spring is here, and with it comes a blog post on spring activities in Maine.

Given the recent snowfall, spring skiing should be at the top of the priority list.  As temperatures start to rise, but the snow in the mountains remains, there are rarely better skiing days.  After bundling up for the slopes all winter, there’s nothing more enjoyable than feeling the sun on your face, wearing a fleece, and whipping down the mountain.  For great spring skiing, check out Sugarloaf USA, Saddleback, Sunday River, and more.

One of my favorite things about Maine is that there are four true seasons – you get a real spring, short summer, real fall, and a long winter – and these transitions bring special activities year round. As spring progresses, activities like hiking, gardening, and attending spring and early summer festivals get you outside and enjoying the warm weather.  Stay tuned for a post this week on the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay, Maine.  Hiking, biking, and experiencing the great outdoors doesn’t get much better than in Acadia National Park.  Their extensive carriage trails provide manageable options for children and inexperienced cyclists as well as more challenging terrain for those looking for adventure.


The end of spring, in June, brings a number of festivals that I want to mention briefly.  In June-July, you can celebrate Maine’s maritime tradition with at the Annual Heritage Days in Bath, Maine.  Also in June, the La Kermesse Franco-Americaine Festival in Biddeford offers an opportunity to celebrate and explore Maine’s Franco-American heritage.

To close on a personal note:

With spring comes mud season in Maine.  I remember describing this to my husband – the melting of the snow and frost, in combination with spring rain, and the results – deep, squishy, dirty mud.  Lots of it.  The defining image of mud season in my mind comes from my childhood – we lived in a white farmhouse at the end of a dead end road – and every spring, the mud would seep up between the walkway stones, making it impossible to venture from the car to the house without your feet being enveloped in it.  And every spring, my parents would set out a series of low, wooden bridges, made of 2-3 planks each, lifted about 4 inches off the ground, so that we could more easily (and cleanly) manuever from the car to the house.  I will remember the clattering noise of feet, planks, and stones all my life, I’m sure – as well as the childhood joy of leaping from set to set, making it more of a game than a walk.

So – may you enjoy the best of springtime in Maine, with mud kept to a minimum!