Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens re-opens for the season on May 1 with exciting plans for the future

Tue, 04/23/2024 - 8:30am

    The Gardens, now in its 16th year, opens for the season on May 1 and continues to meet the demands of visitation and ever-growing climate concerns through investments in the Horticulture and Plant Science teams, community partnerships, and family-oriented programs. 

    Gretchen Ostherr, Gardens President and CEO, shares “we are currently in the middle of a 20-year plan aimed at deepening our mission impact through world-class horticulture, education, plant science, and conservation. The next couple of years will see considerable evolution in our teams and physical spaces, and this fall you will see the beginning of the construction of the Horticulture and Plant Science Center.” 

    The newly renovated Café, found at the heart of the Gardens, will be open this season. The Café partners with Newcastle-based Morning Dew Farm and Boothbay neighbors Coastal Maine Popcorn Company and Betsy’s Fancy Fudge, among others.   

    In addition, the Gardens continues to forge meaningful partnerships with other Maine-based non-profit organizations. “This summer, we'll welcome Indigo Arts Alliance (IAA) back for a second symposium in the series titled ‘Deconstructing the Boundaries.’ This year's symposium will include the unveiling of two sculptures by IAA artists-in-residence Shane Perley-Dutcher and Anna Tsouhlarakis. These new pieces are sure to inspire guests from near and far,” Ostherr says. Tickets for the symposium are free to the public, but reservations should be made through IAA’s or the Gardens’ website.  

    Family favorites The Caterpillar Lab and Chewonki’s Traveling Natural History Programs return this summer, and Thomas Dambo’s whimsical giant Trolls remain at the Gardens, continuing to captivate and educate guests from ages 2 to 102. A new acquisition of a unique Siberian Iris collection by a famed hybridizer Dr. Currier McEwen, formally of Harpswell Maine, provides a beautiful addition to the living collection.  

    Rounding out the season in November, the annual light show Gardens Aglow returns for its 10th year. Currently serving more than 100,000 people annually and attracting national recognition from news outlets such as USA Today and US News & World Report, this year’s event will include an “enchanted forest” with mushrooms, shooting stars, and the return of fairy houses. Fans of the event are encouraged to mark their calendars for tickets going on sale on August 12 for Members and August 19 for general sale.  

    At over 325 acres, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is New England’s largest botanical garden. Home to thousands of different types of plants and visited by hundreds of thousands of guests each year, the Gardens is an inclusive place of learning, beauty, and whimsy around every corner. The mission of the Gardens is to inspire meaningful connections among people, plants, and nature through horticulture, education, and research. To learn more, visit