Tour Offers Rare Garden Glimpse

MOUNT DESERT — Three gardens in Northeast Harbor and three in Seal Harbor will be open to the public as part of the annual Open Garden Day on Saturday, July 28, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., rain or shine,. The event is a fund-raiser sponsored by the Garden Club of Mount Desert.

Although the gardens may be visited in any order, they have been grouped by location beginning with Sand Point on Sargent Drive in Northeast Harbor. The pink granite drive leads visitors through a woodland and moss stream to the shingled cottage designed by Keith Kroeger. From the front entrance, flanked by giant standard fuchsias, continue around the house via a shade garden to the sweeping lawn, stretching to Somes Sound and accented by seal sculptures. At every corner and doorway, visitors will find pots filled with annuals and perennials. Clematis climb the putting green wall, a wall that leads to the rose and kitchen gardens. Visitors exit Sand Point via a teepee of nasturtiums against a backdrop of cherry tomatoes.

Rosserne, which borders Somes Sound, has extensive lawn, a number of specimen copper beaches and katsuras, orchards, allees, flowering beds and vistas, all of which combine to create a park-like, effect. A massive kiwi vine frames the front door and entry porch of the 1891 house designed by Charles Savage and meticulously restored by the present owner. Annuals and perennials border the lawn on the north side of the house with an orchard anchoring the view and an allee framing the view of the Sound. Looking away from the water toward the tennis courts, visitors see a double border designed to bloom throughout the season. “The color changes week to week and the palette is soft,” said head gardener Ann Smith who starts annuals in the greenhouse.

The Ledge, the third garden in Northeast Harbor, has been created by the owner, and all of the plants have been grown from seed by her gardener, Tim King. Visitors enter the garden through an arch-forming sorbaria hedge to the kitchen garden—a garden lush with sweet peas staked with birch brush in tubs, tall staked tomatoes, herbs, lettuces, vegetables and decorative blue cabbages interspersed among flowers. The view from the porch out over Western Way is flanked by a border of sunflowers and brightly colored flowers and stretches to the water.

After leaving The Ledge, visitors go to Blueberry Heaven, a property that borders Little Long Pond and incorporates two distinct garden styles: a Tudor garden in the front of the house and in the back against the cliffs an Asian garden, both of which were designed by Dennis Bracale. The Tudor garden features axes linking the house to the landscape and terraces with lush romantic sunny and shady plantings. In the center garden is a Ming water bowl. Walk around to the East Asian waterfall pond garden with carefully placed horizontal stones.

Points of View in Seal Harbor contains many interesting features: a fenced garden formed by a twig trellis, smoke bushes and low granite pillars leading to views of Bear and Sutton islands, a garden of native plants and a pine path curving along the shoreline and enhanced by seated outlooks. This part of the garden reflects the harmony of native plants and ocean views created by the owner. The upper garden is enclosed by dry stone retaining walls with deep perennial beds extending into the woods.

Southerly was built 14 years ago in the Fred Savage architectural style. The garden which features colorful beds and a broad lawn as well as ferns, azaleas and mosses was designed by the owner and Bobbie Williams, the head gardener. As visitors enter, they walk along a wide lawn bordered by colorful flower beds to a path that leads to a pond. The path is bordered on the right with moss and more flower beds on the left. Continue down an allee of black locusts and through a crane gate to the front of the house and a view of Eastern Way, enhanced by fragrances emanating from roses, nicotiana, phlox, mock orange, lilies and buddlia.

Tickets purchased in advance from McGraths or the Northeast Harbor Library cost $35. Tickets purchased at the entrance to any of the gardens cost $40. Proceeds from the tour help to fund a variety of projects sponsored by the Garden Club of Mount Desert.

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Anne Kozak

Contributer at Mount Desert Islander
Anne teaches writing at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor.