The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens has only been open since 2007, but is already recognized as one of the top gardens in the country.
Located about 25 minutes south of the Newcastle Inn in Boothbay, the botanical garden is an outstanding repository for New England’s botanical history. The garden is one of the few waterfront botanical gardens in the United States and has nearly a mile of tidal salt-water frontage with tranquil island views. Visitors can stroll through nearly a dozen ornamental gardens, including the Lerner Garden of the Five Senses, the Giles Rhododendron & Perennial Garden, the Vayo Meditation Garden, the Slater Forest Pond and the Bibby and Harold Alfond Children’s Garden. It also has some great walking trails.
The garden is open year round and is always busy with a variety of free education programs about topics such as growing your own herbs, art, growing vegetables, birds, and even wood-sculpting. Special events include Plein-Air Painting Days in late May and the Maine Fairy House Festival in early August.
Admission to the garden is $12 for adults and $6 for children 3 to 17. Younger children are free, and there is a senior discount for those 65 and older. The garden is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The garden offers free, guided tours to paying visitors at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Thursdays and Saturdays in season.
The garden is a great example of Mainers’ determination. Planning for the garden started in 1991 when a community group organized because they believed there was a need for a botanical garden. Since then, the organization has raised more than $20 million. It held its grand opening June 13, 2007.