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A Bust

August 22nd, 2013

On Tuesday, we tried to visit a few gardens in the capital city of Augusta with my parents.  The list that inspired us, was found in Down East Magazine, clearly it must have been an older article (the date didn’t appear on the web article).
Augsta Gardens 7
Our first stop, was Viles Arboretum. Which was actually nice, small, but nice. My dad was particularly interested in seeing the American Chestnut Collection.
Augsta Gardens 6
The hosta garden was very impressive. I didn’t count but there were hundreds of different varieties.  The setting was perfect, all along a shady walkway lined with birch trees, it was really beautiful.  If you want to add hostas to the garden, this is the place to check them out.
Augsta Gardens 8
Augsta Gardens 9
Our next stop was the garden at the Blaine House, the governor’s mansion. It was supposed to be open for self-guided tours on Tues-Thurs. I tried calling ahead, but couldn’t reach them. When we arrived, the gardens were less then impressive from outside the fence (my gardens in Malvern were much nicer). The gardener on duty told us we’d have to get a reservation at a museum down the street, but he wasn’t exactly sure where it was or if they gave out reservations, he really didn’t know much.  I guess people aren’t clamoring to tour these gardens and their website was way out of date.
Augsta Gardens 3
We then stopped at the Blaine Memorial Park, which was described as follows: Adjacent to the historic Forest Grove Cemetery, the site affords sweeping views that overlook the city and Kennebec River for several miles.
Augsta Gardens 4
Clearly the article was written a LONG time ago, or the author of the article just copied things from the website and didn’t actually visit the site. This was the “sweeping view of the Kennebec”.  It’s behind all those tall trees.
Augsta Gardens 5
Our last garden to see in Augusta was the Kennebec Valley Garden Club Park. It was described in the article as: Two acres of perennials, birdhouses, trees, and a children’s butterfly and hummingbird garden.  This is what we found, a small fenced in garden filled with weeds.
Augsta Gardens 10
I guess Augusta isn’t the gardening community it used to be. We laughed and drowned our sorrows in ice cream from the Augusta farmers market.
Augsta Gardens 1
Since we hadn’t seen much of anything that day, we decided to swing by the Johnny’s Selected Seeds Research Farm to see something that resembled a garden, we were not disappointed.
Johnnys Selected Seed Research FArm 1
Johnnys Selected Seed Research FArm 2
Johnnys Selected Seed Research FArm 3
Johnnys Selected Seed Research FArm 4
Sometimes things don’t go as planned, in fact, around here it’s rare that something actually goes as planned. This kind of day is actually quite typical for us. The whole point of the day was to spend time with family and that was accomplished. No doubt we’ll laugh about our Augusta Maine Garden Tour Bust for years to come.

Have you ever gone somewhere to see something that was no longer there?

6 Comments to “A Bust”
  1. kristin @ going country on August 22, 2013 at 6:05 am

    When I was young, my family took a legendary hike in Alaska (where we lived at the time) to go fishing at Lost Lake. It really was lost. We walked for hours and never found it. Precious memories.

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

  2. Anne-Marie on August 22, 2013 at 8:08 am

    I’m sitting on my hands not to come up with a snarky comment on what our esteemed governor might have done to the Blaine House gardens. :P
    We have had this happen with hikes, but also with Open farm days/ maple days and that kind of thing– something either isn’t there, isn’t open, or is extremely different from the description.

    Reply to Anne-Marie's comment

    • Susy on August 22, 2013 at 8:20 am

      It looked like the Governor’s Mansion gardens have been long neglected, I’m guessing it’s been 15-20 years since there have been what I would describe as gardens there. Probably about the same time there was a view from Blaine Memorial :)

      Reply to Susy's comment

  3. Misti on August 22, 2013 at 9:35 am

    That’s how I felt when visiting Wildseed Farms in May. They have a small area that is open to visitors but I was wildly disappointed by their lack of tours and how touristy the rest of the area was (shopping, food, etc). No one giving out information on growing, how long anything takes…nothing.

    Reply to Misti's comment

  4. Greg on August 22, 2013 at 10:03 am

    I loved the Kennebec Valley Garden Club Park. I think my vegetable garden is much more impressive than that! ;-)

    This sounds like it was a memorable day, even though it wasn’t like what you had planned. Those are often the best days!

    (Especially when capped off with ice cream!) :-)

    Reply to Greg's comment

  5. Nebraska Dave on August 22, 2013 at 10:16 am

    Susy, I’ve found that most of the gardens you are describing have received initial funding from some where. With picks, shovels, and lots of enthusiasm folks begin to build a garden. For a couple years the garden flourishes and is a wonderful thing but the funding runs out and so does the enthusiasm which results in the garden becoming a wild life habitat.

    Now the governor’s mansion, that’s just sad that the state of Maine (I’m assuming you are talking about Augusta Maine and not Georgia) decided to stop funding the care of the garden. Most times those gardens have history especially in the Northeast. Our governor’s mansion does have a garden but the grounds around the mansion are awesome. It’s only an acre but is very well groomed with trees, shrubs, and flowers so I guess there is a garden, it’s just not called one. It’s not really open to the public unless one can get an invitation to an event.

    We do have one garden called Lauritzen Gardens that seems to have a never ending funding supply. It 108 acres of totally groomed gardens. The yearly membership is 20 bucks. Water falls, lazy streams, ponds with ducks and geese, and even a volunteer supported scale model train area with 7 different tracks with running trains are just some of the things to see. Five green houses grow all the plants for the gardens. It takes at least a half a day to walk through the whole garden area. At one point a view from high up on a bluff will show the Missouri river. Very awesome garden with apparently sustaining funding.

    Have a great garden searching day with your visitors.

    Reply to Nebraska Dave's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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