Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

Magic and wonder displayed at 2023 Gardens Aglow

Fri, 11/17/2023 - 9:30am

    “This year's Gardens Aglow will continue our tradition of providing moments of magic and wonder for the whole family. We often get asked, ‘What's new this year?’ And while there are many new displays for 2023: a handmade lighthouse sculpture as part of a seascape and the inclusion of a second troll from our popular Thomas Dambo-created Guardians of the Seeds, the truth is that every year, everything is new! The secret to keeping our light-show exciting is that we design, hand-build, and manage the whole event. Like our garden beds in the spring through fall, we are constantly tweaking; from color choices to placement, each year is unique. So, if this is your first visit or an annual family outing, you will be just as amazed as you were coming for the first time,” writes Gretchen Ostherr, president and CEO of Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.

    Media was invited to preview the display on Thursday, Nov. 16 and the Boothbay region community (Boothbay, Boothbay Harbor, Edgecomb and Southport) gets to view Gardens Aglow for free Friday, Nov. 17. The public’s dates begin Nov. 18 through Dec. 31, Thursday through Sunday and select Wednesdays.

    As provided by CMBG, here are some facts about this year’s Gardens Aglow.

    ♦ This year’s event will include two trolls, Roskva and Lilja.

    ♦ As part of our sustainability practices, we will give one of the gardens a rest from foot traffic each year. This year, it is the Lerner Garden of the Five Senses. While the garden will still provide a backdrop, visitors cannot walk through it. We have added a troll to the route to ensure the route is still around a mile long.

    ♦ For 2023, we are adding 100 spotlights. Spotlights provide a wider, immersive coverage with a lower impact on our trees than traditional wrapping.

    ♦ Gardens Aglow uses special high-efficiency LED lights that use less than 1.5 watts per strand. LED lights use 15 times less energy than incandescent bulbs.

    ♦ This year’s light display will feature more than 750,000 energy-efficient LED lights, which are around 66 miles of lights if laid end-to-end – around the distance from Boothbay to South Portland.

    ♦ The whole route of Gardens Aglow is roughly one mile.

    ♦ There are over 300 lighted sculptures of familiar flora and fauna, all created by hand, including three moose, a ruby-throated hummingbird, several ducks, geese, a fox, a turtle, two owls, dragonflies, 250 flowers, and two dozen assorted mushrooms. Native species inspire our sculptures.

    ♦ Our entire staff and many volunteers participate in making this show possible, taking 100 people nearly three months to decorate the Gardens.

    ♦  In 2022, we welcomed 120,000 visitors. Visitation included 90,000 visitors from New England, representation from 48 states and 15 countries, and we are hoping for the same numbers in 2023.

    ♦ Ranked third best botanical garden with holiday lights in the country in the 2022 USA TODAY’s 10Best poll. We are shortlisted for 2023.

    ♦ This year, we have 36 entrants to the Gardens Aglow Community Lighting Contest.

    ♦ Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is once again Maine’s third-most popular tourist attraction as reported in Mainebiz’s fact book.

    For more information, visit