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the Gardens

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cape elizabeth Garden tour

the cliFFside site cape eliZaBeth

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he first landscape to be developed in the Arboretum will be the Cliffside Site—until recently, a severely overgrown area of approximately one acre. The site will serve as a model for 14 additional landscapes that will be planted and linked into a walking trail around the park. Once the Cliffside Site is installed, a network of pathways will guide visitors through plantings, providing breathtaking views of Casco Bay and the islands. As they enter a living classroom in a natural setting, visitors will see native and sustainable plantings that can be grown successfully in their own yards.

The landscape architecture team of Terrence DeWan & Associates and Bruce Riddell was selected to develop the design for this site. Their design is sensitive to the existing land forms, the proximity of Casco Bay, the requirement to use native plant material, the historic military installations, and the need to install a landscape that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional. The design will be completed this summer, and the existing invasive plants will be removed, with planting to commence in 2012. +

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Appropriate techniques to manage persistent invasive plants will be displayed to educate the public. In such a prominent location, this site will be enjoyed by the thousands of visitors who visit Portland Head Light. The Cliffside Site will also connect to the highly popular Cliff Walk.

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rom the street entrance to 644 Shore Road, a winding driveway leads you toward the main house. Along the drive are shade gardens full of woodland plants.

Rare Earth Horticultural Services plants and maintains all the trees, shrubs, and perennials on the property. Casco Bay Safe Lawns and Lawn Enforcement maintain the lawns. The property dates back a century; the main house was built in 1914 and was designed by John Calvin Stevens. Landscape architect Anthony Muench of Portland has worked with the past two owners to weave new landscape into the

venerable old plantings. The guest house and pool were added by the current owners, designed by architect Mark Mueller, and built by Monaghan Woodworks, both of Portland. South Shore Gunite Pools of Chelmsford, MA constructed the pool and Gnome Masonry installed the surrounding hardscape, which was designed by Anthony Muench.

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These areas have been reclaimed from lawn turf. This is a guiding principle of this homeowner’s planting philosophy. The landscape here is evolving, gradually replacing monochromatic water- and resource-hungry lawn with a variety of colored, textured, and sustainable plants.

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Cape Elizabeth Garden Tour

The homeowner selected the plants with

the sights and smells of a quintessential Maine seaside summer in mind. Access the lower lawn from the pool through the lower gate. At the edge of the ocean, plants were selected specifically for salt and exposure tolerance. Turning back toward the main house you’ll find an old stone-terraced shrub and perennial garden, original to the property. Up the steps and to the left are the owner’s vegetable and herb gardens, which, like everything on the property, are grown without chemical fertilizers or pesticides. The tiny garden shed houses potting supplies and tools. To the left and behind the house’s glass conservatory is an intimate patio space with a large stone fountain. Continue through the breezeway and follow the path along the house’s foundation with its palette of red, green, and gold plants. Turn

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left back up the driveway and pass the gazebo on the hill to your right. This is the oldest structure on the property, predating the main house. As you pass the garage, turn left and follow the driveway down the hill. This is the access to 650 Shore Road. +

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he 650 Shore Road site was originally part of the 644 Shore Road property. When the property was sold in 2003, the seller split the property into two pieces and sold 650 Shore as a house lot for a new home. Architect Lynn Shaffer and her husband bought the spectacular lot, and Lynn designed the house and gardens.

The Shaffers selected garden designer Lynn Shafer (by coincidence sharing the same name, though no relation) of Shafer Landscaping, New Gloucester, to choose the plant material, plant and maintain the gardens. He chose junipers and vinca to enhance the mounded areas and provide texture. He also included ornamental grasses to move in the ocean wind. The

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Throughout the architecture of both the house and the landscape, the organic forms of the surrounding land and ocean guided Ms. Shaffer’s design. She was inspired by the work of landscape architect A.E. Bye, who sculpted the land before planting. The curved, mounded areas of the front yard evoke a rolling landscape or wavy seascape. This theme is echoed again in the custom stained-glass window above the front entry and the sculpted shingling on the house’s facade. “I was thinking about how water flows over the site, and saw the beds flowing from the driveway down the south side of the house to the water. That dictated the curves,” says Ms. Shaffer.

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Cape Elizabeth Garden Tour

entire landscape here, he says, “is about textures and subtle color.” A bed of sun perennials near the front entry provides a contained burst of color.

are designed to create a natural privacy screen between the two neighbors and to extend the historic shrub border that runs between the two properties. +

On the water side of the house, the landscape is dominated by a beautiful stand of mature white birches. Under the wide eaves of the new house, the two Lynns added a drip edge with rounded stones and gravel. “I was thinking about stream beds,” says the architect. The gardener picked up the thread by planting mounds of various species of thyme. After circling the house, you’ll be facing back up the hill toward 644 Shore. The plantings at the rear of the “grass-crete” parking area between the two properties

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Atlas Stoneworks of York designed and built the substantial entry wall and then added granite pavestones along the driveway. The wall helped with the landscape slope transitions and has

become a central focus to the entry. The large stone steps that lead from the driveway to the lower field were another feature that helped transition the steep slope challenges of this site. Additional walls and the dry creek bed were built by New England Landscapes to help control seasonal flooding. Many of the plantings and garden designs were completed by the homeowners and Casey Sullivan of Organic Innovations, the sponsor of this garden. Organic Innovations has been primarily responsible for the natural product approach to maintaining and nourishing all the garden areas. The Irrigation Doctor has also had to continually expand the irrigation system to fit the needs of the growing gardens. Most of the gardens include flowering

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his former farm was overgrown with bittersweet and brambles when the owners first identified the spot where the house would be built. An old farm dump, replete with bedsprings, barbed wire, and tractor parts was discovered under the overgrowth. The process of cleaning up the property has taken a few years, and the garden areas have grown and expanded as well. Deer, foxes, groundhogs, and many birds are among the wildlife that is regularly part of the landscape.

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trees and shrubs as well as blooming perennials and grasses. A number of old apple trees on the property were saved and large crabapples from Focal Point in Arundel were added, creating a wave of spring color. Concolor firs were added at the entry to the property, taking advantage of the large exposed ledge; along another tough slope, many junipers have grown together over the years to create a flowing green textural garden. Please take care not to walk in the dry creek bed, as the river stones are not secure and the footing is very uneven. +

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cape elizabeth Garden tour

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Rather than remaining static, the Brown’s garden is a constantly evolving experiment, or as Carol says, “It is always in a state of becoming.” In addition to giving them personal pleasure, the plantings serve as demonstration gardens for the Brown’s garden maintenance and design business, Taming the Wild Landscape.

The Brown’s Cape-style home, named “Arborside Cottage,” anchors an evocative cottage garden that celebrates Maine’s rural traditions with picket-fencing, stone walls, stone staircases, arbors, pea-stone walkways, and a garden house. There are also several spots for outdoor living,

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n the thirty years that Carol and Basil Brown have owned their property, they have hugely expanded the gardens from the original two lilac trees. Carol and Basil designed and maintain their quarter-acre yard themselves. Carol Brown is a Master Gardener, and stays abreast of the horticultural field by taking classes at SMCC and reading many gardening books, particularly those by Piet Oudolph, Tracy DiSabato-Aust, and Russell Page. For hands-on inspiration Carol credits her late mother-in-law, a true Mainer, who gardened in Wiscasset well into her eighties.

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Some favorites include a viburnum, a syringa “James McFarland,” a golden Chamaecyparis, and a weeping mulberry. +

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entertaining, and relaxing, as well as a naturalistic “fountain”—a basalt column set in a bed of river stone, which creates a relaxing sound as it bubbles. The garden beds include colorful spring bulbs, annuals and perennials (some new as well as many old favorites) which create a continuous and strong show from early spring to late fall. The garden beds are well-suited to the cottage garden’s various outdoor rooms. The deciduous trees and evergreens at the back of the property mingle with the surrounding properties, and provide a private woodland feel and shady respite.

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While a fourteenth-century English country manor inspired the look of the courtyard, the Reflecting Pool and its surrounding garden are in the Italianate style. The Long Garden takes cues from the Beaux Arts movement. Moving through the gardens, viewers

encounter dynamic focal points such as the Pharoh’s Head sculpture and the allées extending into the forest on either side of it. Travelways are aligned and landscaped to overwhelm visitors with a sense of grandeur upon arrival at Hidden Court. Robinson widened the meadow leading from the house to Zeb’s Cove and filled the slope with grazing sheep. Animals and birds of all kinds once filled the gardens and pools, adding notes of elegance and enchantment to the estate. The current homeowners relied on landscape architects Mohr & Seredin and Mallory Marshall to design and construct recent additions. Within the warm, enclosed space of the Walled Garden, one can find plant species that don’t typically thrive in the harsh Maine climate. A stone chicken house and

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n the 17th century, King Charles granted the Robinson family the title to a large portion of what is now Cape Elizabeth. Henry Robinson inherited the property and began the design and construction of Hidden Court in the early 1920s, a project that took more than twenty years to complete. Robinson’s design accommodates the pre-existing landscape and underscores its natural beauty. Perhaps most notably, the house was constructed to encircle the courtyard that offers stunning ocean views and gives the estate its name.

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attached aviary were added in 2000, and most recently the homeowners restored the brick terrace originally designed by Robinson and used as a waterside dining and entertaining space.

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Despite these additions, much of Hidden Court has remained unchanged through the decades. The century-old oaks still fill the courtyard. And while the gingkos in the Long Garden replace what was once a flowerbed and the hemlocks have outgrown their trim, the dead yews remain as a reminder of the past and the Dr. Merrill magnolias continue to bloom year after year. +

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Farms. With the help of horticulturist David Buchanan, the farm’s focus is in growing antioxidant-rich and nutrient-dense foods like heirloom berries and vegetables, and it is Maine’s first commercial grower of the Amelanchier alnifolia (Saskatoon Serviceberry).

It is home to Rodney Voisine, MD, and his MOFGA-certified farm, Old Ocean House

In addition, more than forty varieties of cutting flowers are cultivated, including

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he 10-acre property is centered around a large renovated nineteenth-century farmhouse that is surrounded by a variety of ornamental perennial gardens, flowering shrubs, and specimen trees (including a young grove of Dawn Redwoods).

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Cape Elizabeth Garden Tour dahlias, sunflowers, giant Zinnias, perennials, and ornamental grasses. Old Ocean House Farms (also known as Apple Tree Hill) is part of the Cape Elizabeth Farm Alliance, an organization dedicated to preserving the viability and sustainability of Cape Elizabeth’s agricultural properties (open space, fresh local produce, scenery, recreational opportunities). Landscape horticulturists and designers who have contributed to the restoration of the property include James McCain, Scott Libby, Derek Daly, Irene Barber, Tim Lindsay (of Bartlett Tree Experts), and David Buchanan. +

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Above and to the left is the east entrance featuring the unifying design elements of stone work and low evergreens of varying

textures and colors used throughout the property. Note the colors and textures of the granite and slate work. The owner wanted a design that provided color and structure throughout the year, and worked with designer Masa Seko to develop the landscaping. Walk up and over the knoll, toward the ocean, passing over ledge exposed here and there in the lawn. The Japanese garden lies to the left, framing a magnificent view of the open ocean. The garden, like many on the property, contains drainage systems that solve water problems on the property. The dry stone stream is surrounded by ledge, cascading and tiered evergreens, and irises and other perennials.

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his is a property with many lovely gardens, which celebrate and take advantage of the geography of the site and are pesticide-free. Enter the property and walk up the driveway to the knoll where the house is sited. To the right, the north entrance and garage are connected by a stone foundation wall with an enticing wooden door. Beyond the door lies a garden shed built into the side of the hill under the walk. Note the use of dwarf Japanese juniper cascading down the slope by the front path, a motif repeated in the breathtaking Japanese-themed garden over the hill at the ocean side of the lawn.

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To the right of the Japanese garden, stone benches are at the entrance to the ocean walk. Follow the walk to the end of the lawn and the swing set. Beyond, a stone staircase up a steep slope leads to the wooded Japanese stroll garden, featuring woodland shrubs, ground covers, and stepping stones cut from tree trunks. This path ends at the driveway and entrance to the property. +

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Through the front gate at the right of the driveway lies a woodland garden. The owners’ preference for native plants is evident in the ferns, trillium, jack-in-thepulpit, foamflower, crested iris, American ginger and other perennials as well as the ironwood—also known as musclewood. An espaliered trio of pears provides the

crosspollination needed for fruit and at the corner is a new American elm. The property is pesticide-free. The front lawn is terraced and includes groves of birches and spruce for wind screening. There are several pathways integrated into the slope for crossing above and below the raspberries. Above, next to the shed, lies a small patio for morning coffee, where the owners enjoy watching the chipmunks eat strawberries. The lower patio garden is surrounded by blueberries, perennials, and grasses for birds and butterflies, with clethra for fall color and scent. A kiwi vine and native grapes provide summer fruit.

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his garden entices its visitors to explore their relationship with the earth around us. The garden’s owners have achieved a beautiful setting overlooking the old Coast Guard station, while providing food for birds, butterflies, small mammals, and themselves.

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Up the stone stairs next to the street lies a walled vegetable garden, with asparagus, Asian pears, and annual vegetable crops. The owners believe the raised beds have kept deer from entering by blocking platforms for a leaping exit, though the deer enjoy the pumpkins grown on the top of the wall. A cocktail patio provides spectacular views. Stonework in the garden and the house were built with cobbles from the widening of Spring Street in Portland in the 1970s. Landscape design was done by Richardson Associates and the owner, an expert gardener. +

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The gardens were designed and are maintained by Leaf and Limb Landscaping. In the terrace gardens are old favorites— salvia, dianthus, Stella d’Oro daylilies,

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he grounds of the historic nineteenth century East Light at Two Lights is the setting for this garden, which surrounds the house and a grassy plateau that offers spectacular 180-degree views of the ocean as well as the lighthouse. Walk up the driveway past berms of salt and wind-tolerant shrubs and perennials, including rosa rugosa, daylilies, and lilacs. Shrubs give way to perennials at the stone terraced entrance to the front lawn, many of which might have been grown by a lighthouse keeper and his family during the nearly two hundred years there has been a Coast Guard station at Two Lights.

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bee balm, liatris, iris and sedums which tolerate the salty breezes. They provide a continuous sequence of bloom for the family living in the restored keeper’s house, which is used as a summer house. At the top of the driveway and in front of the garage, take the path to the right leading to an inner courtyard. Vertical landscaping, with a trellised Blaze rose and a climbing hydrangea, frames the entrance to the courtyard. Granite steps on the right lead to the front door and to the lawn; follow the lawn towards the still-active lighthouse. There is a bed of Annabelle hydrangea next to the house.

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Beyond the lighthouse, plantings of shrubs give way to the natural coastal scrub brush. Throughout the property, shrubs and perennials are low in order to protect the view, which would have been essential for the former keepers’ exercise of their duties. Follow the lawn around to the northwest side of the house and a narrow path looping back to the driveway. +

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aron Zand and Don Head’s garden evolved from the unusual home that they purchased in 1995. One-level, south-facing, and sheltered by earth on the north side, it originally had a grass roof. Eleven years ago, Caron and Don replaced the sod roof with a second story that follows the organic shape of the original first floor. The shingled house overlooks the Spurwink Marsh, which is part of the Rachael Carson National Wildlife Refuge. Although no longer bermed on the north side, the house still nestles into the wooded, rocky land on which it is built.

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Given the surrounding woods and the marsh, plant choices emphasize shade-loving perennials that deer, woodchucks, and foxes do not like to eat. In addition to the original terrace garden, the property has a kitchen-level garden added during reconstruction. It features perennials transplanted from other areas of the yard, as well as many plant gifts, says Don, “from a good friend with a green thumb.” Avid collectors of the work of Maine artists, Caron and Don have added sculpture and fountains throughout the property. The rocky gardens above the house and along the driveway, which feature many varieties of hosta, were designed to reclaim the wild areas and improve the visual approach to the house. Twinscapes Professional Landscape Services cleared and reconditioned these rocky areas for planting.

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Three years ago, Caron and Don hired Debbie Clark of A Touch of Green to oversee the restoration of all the garden areas. They say that is when the gardens began to achieve their full potential, as “Debbie put the right plants in the right places so they all can prosper.” At the same time, Joshua Harnik of H2O Irrigation developed a consistent watering system for the property. The woods, house, gardens, and marsh now enhance each other beautifully. +

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To advance her skills, Pat read many books on plants and design, and subscribed to Japanese garden design journals. She also visited gardens throughout New England and was particularly intrigued by the layering of small spaces inside larger areas. She translated that concept into the main feature of her garden, turning the challenge of a rocky, crevice-filled terrain into a series of intimate spaces. Pat also

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hen Pat Webber purchased this property 13 years ago, she inherited a hemlock hedge and a stone-filled, mucky back yard. Inspired by the rock ledge and plants of her native Maine and her study of Japanese design, Pat created a space that is cozy and expansive. Although Pat died earlier this year, her garden lives on.

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In addition to designing her gardens, Pat did the vast majority of the labor herself, including hauling rocks, pruning trees, transplanting, and weeding. Ron Forest designed and built the grape arbor. Ken Fengler maintains the lawns. Nate Greene installed the kui retaining walls and berms, and some of the stone placements, and planted many of the trees. Nate, along with Pat’s niece Brenda Williams Coffin, has also been instrumental in preparing the garden for the show. + took advantage of the many windows in her house by designing different gardens for each view—protected evergreen nooks, a traditional Japanese garden with a tea house and dry stone river, perennials plantings, lawn, and a moss- and fern-dotted ledge. She positioned her antique fourposter bed so that she could look out the bedroom window on the vista of lawn and flower beds.

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Cape Elizabeth Garden Tour  
Cape Elizabeth Garden Tour  

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