Sunday, July 30, 2017

Maine Blooms and a Garden Tour

Happy summer, friends! 

Can we chat gardens? For many of us, this time of year is about sitting back and enjoying summer's abundant blooms such as crape myrtles, daylilies, hydrangeas, etc. Yes, there's weeding plus watering, but most of the season's chores are done.

Until recently, I thought that the South, with its long growing season and warm temps, had an enviable advantage over the North when it came to flower power. I'm not entirely sure after spending much of July in Maine.

While in the process of designing perennial beds for our new property in Castine, I toured the gardens of friends to see what thrived in our coastal region. I noticed that the flowers throughout town bloomed beautifully with the most brilliant colors. Overall the plants looked healthy and happy; they didn't appear stressed. There were very few signs of insect damage. None of the peonies had any powdery mildew, which consistently plaques the ones in Maryland.

Speaking of peonies, they were flowering in July. Yes, JULY! Talk about a late season. I guess there are pros and cons everywhere. So, the northern climate means less disease, fewer bugs, healthier plants with more vibrant blooms but, alas, a shorter season.

Let's take a look:      
Peonies in July? Another reason to 💕 Maine. These beauties, cut fresh from the beds of our good friends, Carmen and Bill, graced our kitchen for over a week.  
And check out these pots on our new granite stoop - nonstop action! Doesn't Mocha look teeny compared to them? BTW, we just had the front door painted an apple green with a super high gloss sheen. I love how fresh and summery it looks. 
Thanks to friends Amy and Linda, Tom and I were able to tour the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden on Mount Desert Island. This private garden is open one day a week to the public from mid July - early September with reservations in advance. Book early as slots fill up quickly.

Created by famed landscape architect Beatrix Ferrand and Mrs. Rockefeller between 1926-1930, this is a fantasy of Oriental and English ideals. Picture pristine woodlands dotted with zen-like Asian statuary surrounding an English-style flower garden with a grand lawn in the center. What you have is an oasis of cool and calm engulfing an explosion of color - pure genius and drama!

Let's take a walk . . .
. . . through Maine woodlands carpeted by velvety moss.
Not one pine needle was out of place. A crack in the verdant forest floor reveals the tiniest babbling brook.
Through the moon gate framed by stately ostrich ferns, pops of color draw the eyes into the walled garden.
Welcome to a world of lavish English-style borders complete with perfectly groomed gravel walks, all surrounding a sunken great lawn. This is paradise in Maine!   
Aren't these delphiniums divine? I had serious envy. Clearly flowers are made for Maine.
One last stop in the oval garden for a bit of shade. The carved limestone Pagoda is Chinese from the Tang Dynasty. Hello, froggies in the reflecting pool.
Truly a garden worth visiting again and again. See more photos on my INSTAGRAM.


  1. This makes me long for the cooler weather and beautiful flowers again. We can't go outside right now in Houston, it's hovering at 100f and I'm dying !! Just a beautiful post, Loi !!!! xx's

  2. Breathtaking garden photos! And those peonies - sigh!

  3. Dearest Loi, you are a one-man advert for Maine!
    I would prefer the coolness vs hot and dry, and earlier flowers of Illinois....any day!
    LOVE a high gloss front door, and your color is stunning

  4. Oh MY!!! What a beautiful garden, the moss and the coolness of the trees is calling my name. Love your new green door, so fresh and fun!!! Thank you for such a lovely tour and I can tell there will be beautiful gardens in your home to look at soon!! Happy Summer!

  5. Hi Loi, This is heaven!! Thank you!! Have been missing your posts!! Glad that you are back.....

  6. What beautiful gardens!!! I have got to get to Maine! Have you ever been to Longwood Gardens in Chadds Ford, Pa.? It is also spectacular.

  7. I am exploding with JOY!!!!!!!!!!!

    Lord above, those peonies, in JULY? OK, I lived in Massachusetts on the North Shore for 11 years, however, I was a busy student who barely lifted her head to see the world around me. It was an adventure for sure, but what I missed was the season of spring and summer bloom. Oh Loi, first of all, your Castine property is stunning, with your signature simple style that has a dramatic effect with your pairing of neutrals with the pop of color. That mint colored door is DEEEEEVINE!

    Delphiniums. YES, SIR! The peonies? Always. And your placement of that patina watering can on the marble....oh my, you are a master at so much.

    This was a lovely garden tour. Sending hugs!

  8. Oh, my! Thank you for taking us along. I would love to visit this garden!
    I'd take the shorter growing season with the beauty you showed. It's much too hot here for much too long. I strive just keep things growing, glorious Maine summer.

  9. Such beauty - both your home and that amazing Rockefeller garden. It reminds me of one very similar near my hometown in England - called Dartington, which has the sunken lawn, walls and steps, and splendid mixed borders, plus lots of sculpture as the estate was a very well known art college for many years.
    To think all those years I lived in NH and MA (and of course vacationed in Maine) we never had a real garden - lived in rented houses and apartments - so I didn't take advantage of growing my much-loved English garden flowers such as delphiniums, lupins, sweet peas, dahlias, poppies etc. Perhaps it's still not too late to move back. . . . . .and it would be coastal Maine, no place else!

    Lovely to read your post Loi and drool over the amazing flora - the moss with a brook running through, couldn't be anything more beautiful to view on a yet another really hot and humid day down south. Except peonies in July, sigh!
    Mocha looks content on your smashing new stoop, and I love the front door.

    Big hugs - Mary (Bob says hello)

  10. Thank you for the tour of this stunning garden. I so loved the amazing moss and ferns. I agree that the North seems to have an abundance of gorgeous healthy flowers. My flowers here in the South have been so affected by the heat lately. I so remember when I was in Maine during the summer the flowers were so very happy and healthy.

  11. Hello Loi, You were lucky to see the Rockefeller gardens; they are magically beautiful, as is what you achieved with those delicate flowers in your own home.

  12. Peonies! Need em in my life yet that ain't gonna happen here in the desert where I am finishing up the house. I feel cooler just gazing at these visions of lovely! Love to you, my Maine man!

  13. Belíssimo, amei o jardim. Felicidades.

  14. Loi,
    What a beautiful garden. It reminds me of the gardens I visited at the Bloedel Estate on Bainbridge Island. The peace and beauty of places like this rejuvenate the soul. Thank you for sharing.

  15. Beautiful photos, Loi; I feel like I was there myself! And I love your kitchen!! xoxo, Phyllis

  16. Loi, Would you give cabinet paint information?

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  18. Anything moss covered tugs at my hearts!! Love these images!

  19. Love all the great photos! The moss is incredible and so unusual! Love this, Loi.

  20. Hi Loi hope your summer is going well. Thank you for sharing these beautiful gardens..that moss!!! Love it all, gorgeous pictures.

  21. I love the squirrels! I think there are some similar here at Hannah's Hill which I will have to dig out once we get around to working on the garden & landscape. :) Happy summer!

  22. Beautiful pictures - love topiaries and squirrels - are the squirrels for sale?

  23. That garden is amazing! I love the kitchen window, and the new front entry and color.

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Many thanks for your visit! If you have a question, please leave a comment and I will do my best to answer. Loi