Blue Hill, Maine
James & I were invited by friends to join them for a few days at their house in Blue Hill. We happily accepted.
James and I ( as well as our daughter Ana) spent many summers in the tiny hamlet of Sargentville, Maine. Sargentville is just to the south of of Blue Hill, on the shore of Eggemoggin Reach. It was here that I learned to garden. My mentor, Julia, was an elegant and gracious gardener from Atlanta that kept a summer home and garden here in Maine. For me, her garden defined a Maine perennial garden. Julia's garden was filled with tall phlox of white and pinks, blue dephiniums, pale yellow yarrow, white astilbe, lavender & pink somniferum poppies and perennial yellow foxglove .The flowers were always swaying in the cooling breeze.
So, with that bit of nostalgia it's time to move on to a garden that was part of the recent Blue Hill Garden Tour.
The gardens began at the front of the house, in an area surrounding the front porch. There were lovely perennials including delphiniums, roses, and campanulas. Very lovely against the simple white columns of the porch.
But around the back of the house was the real show. The narrow path along the side of the house opened up the a garden on the bay.
Sun dappled ferns and astilbes line a path leading to stairs that descend to the rocky shore.
Japanese Iris add color and grace with a beacon of chartreuse Lady's Mantle below.
This garden makes the most of it's place at water's edge by using the bay a garden element. Maine has no shortage of rocks. This garden had both rocks left by nature and beautifully constructed stone walls.
One of the things I loved about this garden was the rhythm and structure the trees played. It's the old "reveal and conceal" concept. Trees limbed up to allow us to look through, yet in the distance a lower tree left as specimen at the shore. It's a brave gardener to do this and not give way to cutting clear the entire shore. This garden extends out to a small peninsula where there is plenty of water to see all around and those two sculptural trees to give scale to that stunning view.
When we began a garden here in NH, we found it rather different than gardening on the Maine coast. The season in Maine in condensed, so plants that flower over 5 months in NH, flower over 3 months there. In our NH garden we have plants that started in Julia's garden, were divided to begin our Maine garden, now continue in our current garden. The plants love the moist often foggy air sea air followed by north wind clearing. Who's to blame them.
It is worth a visit to a Downeast Maine garden, whether in Blue Hill, Mount Dessert area.
Garden tours provide a great opportunity to see private gardens.
While the Blue Hill Peninsula is very beautiful I cannot think of a public garden . There are a few public gardens on Mount Desert Island:
The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden , designed by Beatrix Farrand
The Asticou Azalea Garden and Thuya Garden, both designed by Charles Savage
For more on our trip to Blue Hill, Maine from the painter's point of view, click on: