Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens Gift Shop, Boothbay

#3 of 10 in Things to do in Boothbay
Gift & Specialty Shop · Hidden Gem · Shopping
A Brief History of Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

After 16 years of planning, planting and building, we celebrated the Grand Opening of Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens on June 13, 2007. Since then, the Gardens has become one of Maine’s top attractions and one of the most distinguished botanical destinations in the country. Its exquisite gardens, dramatic and compelling natural landscape, stunning Visitor Center, and waterfront make it unique, charming and totally captivating! The Gardens presents limitless potential to inspire learning about natural history, habitats, botany, horticulture and ecological connections.

This magnificent and ambitious project began when a group of mid-coast Maine residents who shared the belief that northern New England in general, and Maine in particular, were in need of a botanical garden, founded the grassroots organization in 1991.

In 1996, after a thorough search for an appropriate site, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens purchased 128 acres of pristine land with 3,600 feet of tidal shore frontage in Boothbay. This was possible due to the unhesitating willingness of some Directors to use their own homes as collateral. With steadfast commitment to the organization’s vision, these members and hundreds of volunteers established a foundation of insightful planning, which helped to make Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens a jewel of rare quality among North American gardens.

The enormous scope of the plan included designs from Maine landscape architects, as well as firms of international renown. Bruce John Riddell, ASLA, an exceptional landscape architect from Bar Harbor, Maine, was part of the design team for the Rhododendron Garden, and also designed the waterfront Vayo Meditation Garden, which features a carved stone basin and granite from throughout the state. He created initial planting plans for the Central Gardens and designed the Haney Hillside Garden with its one-of-a-kind landings and stone benches. Significant renovations to this garden to respond to changing light and drainage conditions began in late summer of 2010.

Maureen Heffernan joined the small-but-growing staff as executive director in early 2004. She contacted Herb Schaal, FASLA, a widely acclaimed landscape architect who is associated with Aecon in Colorado, and with whom she had collaborated on a previous project. He was then hired to complete the final landscape master plan for the Central Gardens. Terrence J. DeWan Associates of Yarmouth, Maine, also provided design services. Jorgensen Landscaping of Bath, Maine, built the Central Gardens. Concurrently, Quinn Evans Architects of Washington, D.C., designed the elegant Maine Cottage-style Visitor Center which officially opened in the spring of 2007.

In 2005, the Gardens received an incredible gift of an additional 120 acres from the Pine Tree Conservation Society. As a result of this generous gift of land adjacent to the original 128 acres, the Gardens now comprises 248 acres, which makes it the largest botanical garden in New England. The property boasts nearly a mile of tidal salt water frontage. It is also one of a very few waterfront botanical gardens in the United States. Detailed planning for the new land will begin after the main campus is completed.

In June of 2009, we opened the Lerner Garden of the Five Senses. This exquisite garden of about an acre adjacent to the Visitor Center allows all visitors to get in touch with their five major senses. It includes many features that make its delights accessible to the disabled.

In July of 2010, the Bibby and Harold Alfond Children’s Garden opened. With themes derived from beloved children’s literature by authors with a Maine connection, this garden appeals to the imagination of youngsters and their grown-ups. It offers endless exciting opportunities to learn about and interact with nature.

The grand opening for the Bosarge Family Education Center – a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum, net-zero-energy structure and the greenest building in Maine –will take place in July, 2011. This building’s flexible plan allows for many different types and sizes of educational activities, as well as for office space for education and administrative staff. The landscaping for this building is not only beautiful, but offers valuable lessons in ecologically sound planting.
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Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens Gift Shop reviews

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56 reviews
  • The shop is better than ever! Lots of books and activities for kids, pretty cloth napkins, jewelry (specially earrings), and other temptations. They used to carry a wonderful selection of paper...  more »
  • Spent a few minutes browsing in this nice little gift shop. A varied selection of items for kids to adults. The prices are a little high, but it is a tourist spot. Whether you are looking for garden.....  more »
  • We were greeted by some huge changes to the Botanical Garden starting with the drive in. The parking is much easier to navigate with the several lots available. A new gift shop/bathrooms/offices/admissions building was a wonder. From there we walked over several foot bridges to arrive at the great lawn. The coastal botanical gardens we have all fell in love with are still a delight to visit. Looking forward to visiting again soon.
  • I've been to a number of Botanical gardens in several cities but this one truly stands out. Located in the middle of the forest and also along the shore you can get lost walking through numerous paths and trails. A huge area is dedicated to kids, my 3 year old loved it. This garden also features some interesting sculptures adding to the appeal and marvel of this place.

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