Calendar LANDSCAPE & GARDEN EVENTS In Northern New England

. . . including open gardens, public and private, as well as other noteworthy landscape- and garden-related events open to the public in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

Please e-mail listings, preferably in the format below, to:

Note: Dates and times can change.  It’s a good idea to confirm them in advance.

Year Round

Wednesday & Friday, YEAR ROUND, 9:30-11, 2-3

Blaine House, State and Capitol Streets, Augusta, Me.  Maine’s 19th-century governor’s mansion, surrounded by broad lawns edged with annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees.  Free.  Admission on guided tours only; make reservations at or 207-287-6634 at least 3 days in advance.

Turrets Seaside Gardens, College of the Atlantic

Photo by College of the Atlantic

Turrets Seaside Gardens, College of the Atlantic


College of the Atlantic, Route 3, Bar Harbor, Me.  A formal perennial garden, the vestige of terraces designed by Beatrix Farrand, and other small gardens on the college’s 38-acre campus, once the site of three oceanside estates.  Free.

Photo by Jennifer Steele

Fort Williams Park

Daily, YEAR ROUND, dawn to dusk

Fort Williams Park, 1000 Shore Road, Cape Elizabeth, Me.  Naturalistic cliff-top gardens on a former military reservation overlooking the ocean, now owned by the town of Cape Elizabeth.  In an ongoing restoration program led by the Friends of Fort Williams Park (sponsor of the Annual Cape Elizabeth Garden Tour), thickets of Japanese knotweed and other invasive exotic plants have been removed, thereby revealing native plants and picturesque ledges and opening up dramatic views of Casco Bay and Portland Head Lighthouse. Graceful plantings of native trees, shrubs, perennials, and ground covers are being added. Free.


Wild Gardens of Acadia, Route 3, Acadia National Park, about 2 miles south of Bar Harbor.  Three-quarter-acre collection of 400 plants, mainly perennials, all native to Mount Desert, labeled and arranged in 12 distinctive habitats (mountain, meadow, bog, brookside, etc.); maintained by volunteers. Free.
800-625-0321; 207-288-3340

Daily, YEAR ROUND, dawn to dusk

Woodlawn Museum, Route 172, Ellsworth, Me.  Beautiful brick Federal mansion with tall, elegant 18-pane windows (the Black House) on 180 acres with large old trees and a formal garden enclosed by a lilac hedge. Grounds free; house tours $12, May-October.

The Fells Historic Estate and Gardens

Photo by The Fells

The Fells historic estate and perennial border

Daily, YEAR ROUND, 9-4

The Fells, Route 103A, Newbury, N.H. Historic summer home of John Hay, secretary of state under presidents McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt; extensive gardens created by Hay’s son Clarence and Clarence’s wife, Alice, including a large hillside rock garden, walled gardens, perennial borders, and woodland gardens on 83 acres on lake Sunapee. $5-10.


Prescott Park, Marcy Street, Portsmouth, N.H. City-owned waterfront park with three fountains and well-designed flower gardens: Brick paths curve around billowing beds of (mainly) annuals, each variety planted in a large stunning sweep.  Free.

Daily, YEAR ROUND, but best in mid-July

Rhododendron State Park, 424 Rockwood Pond Road, Fitzwilliam, N. H. Named for its 16-acre grove of Rhododendron maximum, the largest colony of wild rhododendrons in northern New England. The huge, centuries-old broadleaf evergreen shrubs—also known as rosebays or great laurel—are viewed from a nearly level, handicapped-accessible .6-mile trail. Rosebays are less showy than other rhodies—their white blossoms tend to be sparse—so try to visit only during their peak bloom period: mid-July. The adjacent .1-mile Laurel Trail curves through eponymus mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia), another native broadleaf evergreen shrub with shiny leathery leaves; its exquisite white flowers bloom in June. The Wildflower Trail passes herbaceous perennials. $4 on summer weekends; otherwise free, but donations are welcome.

Augustus Saint-Gaudens sculpture and formal gardens.

Photo by Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site

Augustus Saint-Gaudens sculpture and formal gardens

Daily, YEAR ROUND, dawn to dusk

Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park, Saint-Gaudens Road, Cornish, N.H. Historic home and studios of noted sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens.  Grounds include his sculptures and formal gardens with fountains and pools, enclosed by tall clipped evergreen hedges. Buildings open Memorial Day weekend – October 31. $10.


Garden at Tracy Library, 304 Main Street, New London, N. H. The quadrilaterally symmetrical garden behind the public library, designed in 1926 by the Olmsted Brothers, features a square pool, with a bronze fountain, surrounded by lush perennial beds in neat parterres. Free.

Elaborate formal gardens at Hildene

Photo by Hildene

Elaborate formal gardens at Hildene

Daily, YEAR ROUND (except Easter, Thanksgiving, and December 24-26),  9:30-4:30

Hildene, Route 7A, Manchester, Vt.  A stunning Georgian Revival mansion built by Robert Todd Lincoln, the only child of Abraham Lincoln to live to adulthood. In the broad terrace in front of the home, a tapestry of perennial beds is framed by an elaborate formal network of privet hedges. $23.

Daily, YEAR ROUND, 10-5

Shelburne Museum, 6000 Shelburne Road, Shelburne, Vt. 22 small gardens, mostly perennials, plus many lilacs and mature trees decorate one of New England’s largest collections of historic buildings and other artifacts. 2-day admission: $25 from May 1 to October 31 ($15 for Vermont residents), $10 from November 1 to April 30.
802-985-3346; the “museum from above” video is a graceful aerial tour of the museum’s 45-acre campus.

April – October

Daily, APRIL 15 – OCTOBER 31, 9-5; 9-6 in July and August

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, off Route 27, Boothbay, Me.  One of northern New England’s newest public gardens, but already its largest and most elaborate—and getting more extensive every year. It already includes vast display gardens and a large woodland rhododendron collection surrounding an impressive waterfall. $18.

April – November

Monday-Friday, APRIL-NOVEMBER, 8-4

University of Vermont Horticultural Farm, 65 Green Mountain Road, South Burlington, Vt. Large collections of mature ornamental plants, including more than 15 species of rhododendrons and native azaleas, which bloom in late May/early June; more than 100 lilacs, including 46 different varieties, which bloom in May; rare conifers and other shrubs; plus large perennial beds. A free map identifies the collections, which include some of the largest specimens in Vermont. Free.


Massed rhododendrons create vast sweeps of color

Photo by Eileen Oktavec

Massed catawba rhododendrons at Evergreen

Friday-Sunday, MAY 31 – JUNE 1-2, 10-5 

Evergreen, 42 Summer Street, Goffstown, N.H.  The one-acre woodland garden’s annual public opening is always on the first weekend in June, when its 220 Catawba rhododendrons are at or near peak bloom.  Free.

May – October

The Asticou Azalea Garden was created in 1957 by Charles K. Savage

Photo courtesy of the Land & Garden Preserve.

Asticou Azalea Garden, created in 1957 by Charles K. Savage.

Daily, MAY-OCTOBER, dawn to dusk

Asticou Azalea Garden, intersection of Routes 3 and 198, Northeast Harbor, Me. Serene, naturalistic 2.3-acre Japanese-inspired garden created by the amateur landscape designer Charles K. Savage; mainly evergreen trees and shrubs, including rhododendrons and azaleas taken from Reef Point, the former estate of the noted landscape architect Beatrix Farrand in Bar Harbor. Many of the plants are arranged along a stream and around two ponds. There’s also a Japanese-style raked-sand “pond” garden with rock “islands.” Peak azalea bloom is late June; rhododendrons and mountain laurel are most colorful in July. Donation requested.

The Asticou Terraces in Northeast Harbor, Me., are suburb naturalistic design

Photo by Eileen Oktavec

Asticou Terraces

Daily, MAY-OCTOBER, dawn to dusk

Asticou Terraces, Route 3, Northeast Harbor, Me.  Superb naturalistic landscape created by Boston landscape architect Joseph Henry Curtis at his former summer residence: A smooth half-mile path gently ascends a forested hillside, past handsome wood and stone gazebos with views of Northeast Harbor. The use of only indigenous materials (granite, spruce trees, mosses, sheep laurel, and blueberry bushes) erases the line between the human-made and the natural. The path ends at the Thuya Lodge, Curtis’ summer home, and the Thuya Garden, described below.  The Terraces are described at greater length, and illustrated with two color photographs, in The Woodland Garden.  Donation requested.

Thuya Garden
Thuya Garden

Daily, MAY-OCTOBER, dawn to dusk

Thuya Garden, Route 3, Northeast Harbor, Me. Mostly formal, straight-sided beds of perennials and annuals surrounded by a rolling lawn, with informal groups of trees and shrubs at the edge of the forest, which surrounds the one-acre garden. Like the Asticou Azalea Garden, it was created by Charles K. Savage with plants taken from the former Bar Harbor estate of Beatrix Farrand.  Thuya, incidentally, is the phonetic spelling of Thuja, the scientific name for cedar (Thuja occidentalis), which thrives on Mount Desert Island and which was used to build the Thuya Lodge (above).  Donation requested.

Daily, MID-MAY – MID-OCTOBER, dawn to dusk

Charlotte Rhoades Park & Butterfly Garden, Route 102, Southwest Harbor, Me.  Well-maintained one-acre seaside garden, mainly of annuals and perennials (including milkweed) that attract monarchs and other butterflies. $5 suggested donation.

Lotuses in the 200 foot-long Wiggle Waggle at Bedrock Gardens
Lotuses in the 200 foot-long Wiggle Waggle at Bedrock Gardens

MAY-COLUMBUS DAY, Wednesday-Friday 10-5; Saturday-Sunday 10-5 on the first & third weekends of each month 

Bedrock Gardens, 45 High Road, Lee, N.H.  A large, lively collection of plants, garden follies, and contemporary sculpture by garden co-creator Jill Nooney arranged across 20 acres of a former dairy farm. $10 suggested donation.

Daily, MID-MAY – MID-OCTOBER, 10-5:30

Fuller Gardens, 10 Willow Avenue, Off Ocean Boulevard (Route 1A), North Hampton, N.H.  Early-20th-century ocean-side Olmsted-designed estate gardens created by businessman, philanthropist, and former Massachusetts governor Alvan T. Fuller, with rose gardens, conservatory, annual displays, small Japanese garden, and walled perennial garden. $9.

Daily, MID-MAY – MID-OCTOBER, 10-5:30

Shelburne Farms, 1611 Harbor Rd., Shelburne, Vt.  Gilded Age estate of the Webb family, now a sumptuous non-profit inn and restaurant with restored formal gardens: symmetrical terraces, supported by elegant balustraded brick and stone walls, on a slope on the edge of Lake Champlain. The long, narrow terraces are planted with neat groups of (mainly) perennials. Like a villa on Lake Como, the view from the lawn above the terraces is an extraordinary use of “borrowed” lake-and-mountain scenery.  A long balustrade is the base of a stunning view: a vast expanse of the region’s largest lake with the Adirondacks—the highest mountains in New York State—rising on the far side. $8.

Wednesday-Sunday, MAY 16-OCTOBER 14, 11-5

Old Stone House Museum. A collection of attractive early 19th-century buildings in the lovely historic hamlet of Brownington, Vt., includes a 25-by-50-foot formal garden of perennials and herbs popular in the 1800s. $10.

May – November

Daily, MAY 11 – NOVEMBER, 7-7   

McLaughlin Garden & Homestead, 97 Main Street (Route 26), South Paris, Me. A 3½-acre collection of perennials, trees, and shrubs—especially lilacs—planted by the late Bernard McLaughlin at his former home.  $5 suggested donation.

Kirkwood Gardens
Kirkwood Gardens

Daily, MAY 1-NOVEMBER 1, dawn to dusk

Kirkwood Gardens, Route 3, just north of Route 113, Holderness, N. H. Informal 1-acre garden, now owned by the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, with graceful plantings of both sun-loving and shade-tolerant annuals, perennials, and shrubs; plus fountains, sculpture, and signs describing the plants. Free.


Rock garden on the New Castle Home & Garden Tour
Rock garden on the New Castle Home & Garden Tour

Sunday, JUNE 9, 1-4:30

New Castle Home & Garden Tour. Self-guided tour of private gardens and antique houses in one of New Hampshire’s oldest towns.  Begins at the Coast Guard station.  $25; $20 if tickets are bought before the tour date.

Friday, JUNE 21, 5-8; Saturday, JUNE 22, 9-3

30th Annual Pocket Gardens of Portsmouth Tour. 10 private gardens in Portsmouth, N.H., including those of the 18th-century Georgian South Church.  $25; $20 if tickets are bought before the tour weekend.

June – August

Celia Thaxter’s Island Garden
Celia Thaxter’s Island Garden

JUNE 14, 18, 21; JULY 5, 13, 19, 23, 26; AUGUST 2, 9, 16

Celia Thaxter’s Island Garden. Poppies, hollyhocks and other venerable perennials first planted by the romantic poet Celia Thaxter at her family’s summer hotel on Appledore Island, one of the Isles of Shoals off the New Hampshire coast.  Thaxter described her work in An Island Garden, published in 1893 and illustrated by the impressionist painter Childe Hassam—one of Thaxter’s many distinguished guests, who included such 19th-century literati as Emerson, Hawthorne, and Longfellow.  The island’s Shoals Marine Laboratory offers day cruises from New Castle, N.H., including guided tour and “gourmet” lunch, for $100.

June – September

Thursdays, JUNE 27 – SEPTEMBER 26, 1-5

Garland Farm, 475 Bay View Drive (off Route 3), Bar Harbor, Me. Home and gardens of noted landscape architect Beatrix Farrand (designer of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden, and other gardens on Mount Desert Island). Mainly perennial beds in symmetrical parterres, including heather, heath, and lavender gardens.  $5 suggested donation.

June – October

Gardens at Hamilton House in South Berwick, Maine. Taken during September 2015 Arts and Crafts Festival.
Hamilton House

Wednesday-Sunday, JUNE 1 – OCTOBER 15, 11-4

Hamilton House, 40 Vaughan’s Lane, South Berwick, Me.  Impressive 1785 Georgian mansion overlooking the Salmon Falls River with formal perennial gardens and fountains.   $10.

Saturday, JUNE 1 – MID-OCTOBER, Monday-Saturday 11-5, Sunday 1-5

Moffatt-Ladd House & Garden, 154 Market Street, Portsmouth, N.H.  Elaborate 3-story colonial Georgian mansion with lush, terraced perennial gardens on the slope behind it, plus a gigantic horse chestnut tree—50-plus feet high and wide—planted by William Whipple after he signed the Declaration of Independence. $8 for house and gardens; $2 for gardens only.
603-436-8221, 603-430-7968


Wednesday, JULY 10, 10-4

32nd Annual Central New Hampshire VNA and Hospice Home and Garden Tour.  Properties in the Wolfeboro, N.H., area.  $40. Buffet lunch $15.

Sunday, JULY 14, 11-4

28th Annual Gardens in the Watershed Tour4 private gardens in Union, Me., 1 in Appleton, Me.; benefiting the Georges River Land Trust. $30; $25 if tickets are bought before the tour date.

Sunday, JULY 14, 9-3

23rd Annual Flynn Garden Tour.  8 private gardens in Shelburne, Vt., to benefit the Flynn Center for the arts in Burlington, Vt.   $40.


Rhododendron State Park.  The 16-acre grove of Rhododendron maximum is at peak bloom. See more here.

Thursday, JULY 18, 9:30-4

72nd Annual Garden & House Tour.  6 private properties in Camden, Me., sponsored by the Camden Garden Club.  $40; $35 if tickets are bought before the tour date.

Friday, JULY 19, 9:30-4:30

‘The Sea Around Us.’  Tour of homes and gardens in Maine’s Boothbay Region, sponsored by the Boothbay Region Garden Club. $35; $30 if tickets are bought before the tour date.
207-633-7405, 207-633-5052

Seaside garden on Cape Elizabeth Garden Tour

Photo by Friends of Fort Williams Park

Seaside garden on the Cape Elizabeth Garden Tour

Saturday, JULY 20, 9-4

9th Annual Cape Elizabeth Garden Tour. 8 private gardens in Cape Elizabeth and South Portland, Me.  Sponsored by the Friends of Fort Williams Park. $40; $30 if tickets are bought before the tour date.

July – September

Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden
Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden

1 day per week, MID-JULY – EARLY SEPTEMBER

Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden. Designed by the wife of John D. Rockefeller Jr. and the noted landscape architect Beatrix Farrand at the former Rockefeller estate in Seal Harbor, Me. Large perennial beds in curving, symmetrical parterres; extensive Asian statuary and moon gates; ocean views. Reservations required. Donation requested.