Yesterday’s forecast for Boston included oppressive humidity and temperatures near ninety. In short, a perfect day to be in Maine. And so, armed with the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days directory, we set out early in the morning for Kittery, just over the New Hampshire border.
What most people know of Kittery is the unfortunate collection of outlet malls that beckon at the first few exits of the Maine Turnpike. In stark contrast and just a few miles away, Route 103 hugs the coastline, offering a picture postcard view that has changed little in half a century. The Conservancy put together three gardens in Kittery, two of them on the ocean and the third on a marsh with ocean views. Herewith, a report, alas, without photos of the first garden.
What more do you need to say about a garden whose owners are thoughtful enough to provide live music for your enjoyment? Four generations of one family have lived for roughly 90 years at what is now a compound on Pepperell Cove, with generous views back to the Piscataqua River. A common garden binds what is probably five acres, three homes, a pool house and a wonderful, freestanding English greenhouse. The gardens are heavy on lilies and dahlias. They flow in a delightful pattern, following the natural contours of the land. An undulating daylily border follows the shape of the cove.
The music was an unexpected but welcome accompaniment. A guitarist and a keyboard/horn player offered soft, new-age-type music. There was a marvelous off-shore breeze that kept the air temperature in the low seventies. We could have stayed all day.
The third Open Days property billed itself as a ‘gardener’s garden’. It could be more correctly called a ‘landscaper’s garden’, an instantly mature garden put together at great cost within the past few years and destined to be ripped apart as the plantings outgrow their allotted spaces. It was beautiful, but it was also the least interesting of the three gardens.