When I arrived at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay, Maine in September, it was a radiant 72 degree afternoon.
As the largest botanical garden in New England, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens consists of more than 300 acres. It opened in 2007 after 16 years of planning.
After I paid admission at the Visitor Center, I proceeded to walk across the Overlook Bridge (see photo). From the bridge, I could spot the first gentle giant troll sculpture located in the central gardens. What a sight. (see photo). Her name is Roskva, and she “stands for the trunks.”
The troll exhibit is called Guardians of the Seeds and includes 5 trolls spread throughout the forested gardens.
Danish artist and recycle activist Thomas Dambo created the sculptures. They are made primarily from recycled wood. Roskva troll is made from a salvaged Danish transfer station.
Once they are assembled in Denmark by a team of 10 people and additional volunteers, the trolls are loaded onto shipping containers where they travel to their final destination.
Many parts of the trolls (mostly hair and fur) come from materials that were collected and placed into the trolls on site in Maine. Materials like roots from downed trees, oak bark, and local salvaged lumber were used.
The Dahlia Gardens included a spiral walking path. It showcased five dozen varieties, with varying colors and petal forms.
The Native Bee Exhibit adjacent to the dahlias proved to be a honeycombed graphic wall of fun facts and information on Maine’s 276 species of bees.
Once I grabbed a quick to-go lunch at the Cafe, I found a rock bench by a trickling fountain where I ate my green salad.
I maneuvered my way around a few stone whales at the entrance to the Bibby and Harold Alfond Children’s Garden. The sea mammals spouted water through their blowholes as you walked past them. Kids screamed and laughed in delight. These two carved stone sculptures were created by artist Carole Hanson.
Past the Arbor Garden and down the trail towards the Haney Hillside Garden I meandered. A final terrace in this garden features a chiseled glass orb by New York sculptor Henry Richardson (see photo).
I was fascinated by the row of pretty pink echinacea plants, so I snapped a photo. I had never seen echinacea up close and in the wild, so it was real treat to view the medicinal herb I had been using for all these years.
At the Vayo Meditation Garden, I sat for a few minutes with serene and reflective thoughts. In the center of this retreat stands a large central stone basin carved by Plymouth, Maine sculptor David Holmes. It was placed to unify stone, water, and sky. The boulder used for the carving was found in a blueberry field near Mount Desert Island, Maine.
From there, I found a slender footpath off the Shoreline Trail that took me to an overlook of Back River (see photo). The soft, baby blue water was so calm that day. Fencing was installed all around the perimeter of the water so you couldn’t actually walk down to the shore.
At this point, I had been walking for a few hours and was getting tuckered out. So I headed back up the pebblestone trail and over the Heafitz Wetland Bridge to the parking lot.
It was a wondrous day spent at the botanical gardens. Next time I visit the Mid-Coast area of Maine, I will come back and have lunch among the trolls.
Here are my tips: wear comfortable shoes, eat before you visit (the Cafe is quite pricey), or carry a few hearty/filling snacks, bring a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and water. It might be handy to carry a small backpack to put everything so you can have your hands free to take a multitude of photos.
For more information: Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, 105 Botanical Gardens Drive, Boothbay, ME, 04537, (207) 633-8000, https://www.mainegardens.org/.
Lorie Drozdenko is owner of the Shopify store, Talking Willow at https://talkingwillow.com/.
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