THE GARDENS OF BAR HARBOR & MT. DESERT ISLAND

Posted by Lani Summerville in USA .

September 6, 2018 - September 9, 2018


Mt. Desert Island is considered one of Maine’s most revered summer resort islands where such towns as Bar Harbor, Seal Harbor and Northeast Harbor dot the area.  The island has been a destination for inspiration, relaxation and outdoor activities since the 1840s.  At first, Hudson Valley School painters, most notably Thomas Cole and Frederic Church, travelled to Mount Desert Island and in particular to Bar Harbor to paint images of the area’s spectacular seascapes and landscapes.

After the Civil War, great hotels were built for vacationers or “rusticators,” but ultimately the “cottages,” rambling shingle-style mansions, and middleclass summer residences took over the landscape.  Today, with a social history that rivals Newport, the Berkshires and Tuxedo Park and great scenic beauty all its own, Mt. Desert remains a major summer destination.

A major aspect of Mt. Desert Island is nature and the cultivation of beautiful gardens. Not only is its beauty unique, according to the Wild Gardens of Acadia organization, but also “the glacial accidents which left it with flora from both the cold north and the warmer south.”

One person stands out for her highly talented contribution, the legendary landscape designer Beatrix Farrand, who summered at Bar Harbor for over half a century, creating over 60 gardens on the island. One of her greatest projects was the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden at Seal Harbor.  Collections of plants from her Reef Point home can now be seen at the Asticou Azalea Garden and Thuya Garden, both at Northeast Harbor.  Another Farrand garden can be found at her last home, Garland Farm, Salisbury Cove, now maintained by the Beatrix Farrand Society.

The Berkshire Botanical Garden invites you to join an exclusive tour to discover these gardens and more, including a collection of private gardens scattered throughout the island: a garden still maintained as designed by Farrand, a charming floral garden overlooking a harbor, and the naturalistic landscaping that encloses a 1920s stone house whose owner is known for gracious living.

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