News Feature

Castine
Originally published in Castine Patriot, August 30, 2018
Castine club begins ‘Gardens Open’ summer program

Open gardens program

The Castine Garden Club is launching an open gardens program, where visitors and residents can take a self-guided tour of private gardens in the village. Above, an early entry into the tour is the garden behind the Trinitarian Church on Main Street.

Photo by Monique Labbe Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Anne Berleant

Inspired by the British tradition of open garden days, the Castine Garden Club has launched “Gardens Open,” allowing visitors and residents a peek inside the private gardens cultivated within the village.

The self-guided tours are free, and individuals may use Scarlett, the Castine Touring Company slow-moving vehicle, for a drop-off at an Open Garden stop, according to a press release. Scarlett and the Visitors’ Center will have a map showing the approximate locations of gardens.

“Gardens Open” is entirely voluntary. Visitors will not expect guided tours by the gardeners unless an owner wishes to point out some specific feature(s),” the release states. “The purpose of ‘Gardens Open’ is to show visitors just how special Castine is.”

A fledgling program this summer, Garden Club Program Chair Gail Winkler said that up to 30 gardens may be on the tour by 2019. A green “Gardens Open” flag will signify participating gardens. Garden club members and other participants are not obligated to have their gardens open every day; the flag can be taken down as desired.

One home has opened its garden to the public already—with an interesting result. A couple recently visited Liz and John Parish’s garden on Dyce Head and asked if they could be married there, returning with a justice of peace and eight people for an afternoon ceremony that same day.

Currently, one flag is up, in front of the Trinitarian Church on Main Street. “[It] has a lovely garden behind it which very few people are aware of,” Winkler said.