Kennebec Garden Bliss

It’s 5:00 a.m. and I want to be in my garden.  Weed one little overgrown patch, stick in a few marigolds for color while I wait for some blooms, and then water the parched soil.  It’s a blissful way to start the Monday before summer’s high watermark weekend.

The Fourth of July.

Bliss and beauty popped up around Maine’s capital city and along the Kennebec River  to Tilbury Town on Saturday, courtesy of the Kennebec Valley Garden Club’s “Garden Tour.”  Weather perfection assured, with clear blue skies and low humidity.  The promise of 9 varied and delightful gardens was enough to motivate Lady Alone Traveler northward.

The Augusta/Gardiner area straddles the Kennebec River and is cut askew by both interstate 95 and Route 201.  It’s been a while since I’ve taken a trip by myself and Handy was right–Lady Alone Traveler ought to have a global positioning system, aka a GPS.  I found my first garden easily enough at the home of garden club’s president Sharon Paradis.  Cordial and gracious, Sharon gave me a personal tour of her gardens, which included an intimate shaded side garden with concrete stepping-stones she made from rhubarb leaves.  So delighted, I forgot to take pictures.

Sharon gave me some information about the Kennebec Valley Garden Club.  The club, formed in 1928, is part of the Garden Club Federation of Maine and National Garden Clubs, Inc.  The club has approximately 60 members and sponsors a number of community-enriching programs and projects.  The proceeds from Saturday’s tour contribute to a college scholarship.

Sharon answered my never-ending questions about club activities, irises, and famous club members and then sent me on my way towards the next garden.  As it turned out, I got twisted around the round-about and missed the gardens at Viles House and Granite Hill Estates.  I found my way, finally, to Laura Boyette’s garden.  Although the brochure didn’t mention it in her garden’s description, she had more varieties of Hosta than I’ve ever seen assembled in one location.

Onward to Hallowell, scribbling notes on my brochure after each stop.  Inspiration and ideas, that’s what you find on a garden tour.

If the call of my own garden weren’t so loud and persuasive this morning, motivated by the beautiful gardens I saw on Saturday, I’d tell you more about my favorite garden on the tour, Roger & Errol’s peaceful garden retreat, full of surprises and (you guessed it) inspiration.

I will leave you with the tour’s big “wow.”

Richard Cory HouseYes, indeed, it’s none other than the former Shepherd House, one of Edwin Arlington Robinson’s own haunts.  I’ve taken a few Lady Alone Traveler trips to sites relative to the poet from Gardiner and so it was quite a treat to sit and chat with Brad Howard, the home’s current owner and talk about the poet in the serene gardens he and his wife Deb have created over the last 20 years.

There is bliss in the garden and despite the cares and toils of the first day of the last week of the sixth month of the year bearing down upon me, the sights and sounds remain.  The delights of the Kennebec Valley Garden Club’s tour will be my anchor this week as I make my way through the uneven motions of the world.  Thank you, members and garden hosts, for a memorable event.

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