Thursday, August 20, 2015

Gardens in the Watershed of Maine

Our good friends rented a house in Tenants Harbor, Maine for the month of July. They graciously invited us to visit them for a week during their stay. Aside from cooking every type of fresh seafood the area had to offer and the quest for the best lobster roll in town, we toured a few gardens. Kitty and I wrote the following article for the Key West Citizen.
Fortunately for us the Georges River Land Trust (GRLT) was sponsoring the 24th annual ‘Gardens in the Watershed Tour' during our stay on the Central Maine Coastline. 
This year’s tour featured five privately owned country gardens in the lower reaches of the St. Georges River watershed. We viewed the head of the 11 foot tide in Warren, the mudflats of South Thomaston and the rugged coast in Cushing. The GRLT protects and restores the area of the St. Georges River which flows 45 miles from the mountains to the estuary and the following 12 miles through the watershed to the ocean.
In Thomaston Daria Peck created a two acre garden in a space that was originally a tangle of invasive bamboo and wild roses. Starting with a chainsaw and wheelbarrow, Daria cleared the back hill on her property discovering a seasonal stream that had remained a secret for years. The soothing sound of moving water can be heard on several of the garden paths. Clever placement of complementing perennials showcase a stunning waterfall of flowers and shrubs in every color of the rainbow. 
Heartfelt Farm in Cushing is owned and operated by Kathleen Starrs and her husband Gregory, a Berkeley graduate of the first school of organic agriculture in the 1970’s. Their 20 acre farm surrounds a restored 1773 farmhouse the couple fondly calls home. For 15 years Kathleen has been producing traditional cottage style perennials and a broad range of annual color which is sold as cut flowers at the farm and in town.
She creates bouquets for special occasions as well as servicing many of the local restaurants and businesses in Rockport, Rockland and Camden communities while Gregory handles the production of vegetables. The organically grown gardens are truly inviting with chairs and tea tables tucked amid the flower beds.
A winter hardy rose that survived last year’s snow and record low temperatures for the Coast grew over a handmade trellis.
Another garden worth mentioning, owned by the former curator of the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden at the NY Botanical Gardens, is on Davis Point. The property was previously a saltwater farm with an 1826 house that overlooked the ocean waters and the Franklin lighthouse.
The newly renovated house and small gardens were lovely. Much of the sixteen acre property was left in its natural, rugged state.
An unexpected bonus and highlight of the tour, was the opportunity to stroll through the Langlais Sculpture Preserve. This sculpture park with it's miles of walking trails and larger than life artwork will open to the public this fall. I will post on this amazing place soon. 

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