Thuya Garden

Last week we stayed in Southwest Harbor on Mount Desert Island for our summer vacation. In addition to lots of hiking, rock scrambles, and some sea kayaking in Acadia National Park, we also took time out of a sunny morning to visit Thuya Garden in Northeast Harbor.

These formal, English-style gardens are on the site of an old lodge (a great building in and of itself). The property was donated to the town and the gardens are now for the public. It seems to me that the compressed growing season in Maine means that things tend to flower almost all at once — and to pretty marvelous effect.

Different beds have different color schemes, but the clear pinks, blues and yellows above was one of my favorites.

Also impressive are the delphiniums. These are enormous — though they have been carefully, individually staked. This explains why mine always look so floppy and pathetic — that and the fact that it probably gets a little too hot in the perennial border here.

The garden is on the site of an old orchard, of which is left just one very old apple tree that the gardeners just work around.

There are also shadier sections of the garden with the usual ferns and hosta. The unusual plant? The crispy, puffy reindeer lichen on the right of the photo above.

This is an overview of much of the sunny section and the lawn. There’s also a butterfly garden teeming with monarchs and painted ladies — and a big, quiet frog. I definitely picked up some ideas for better staking of peonies and delphinium, and I took lots of photos of varieties I liked. Everything was extraordinarily well labeled, and they had several true-blue plants that I’ll be looking to add to our border next summer. 


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