October 26, 2010
A Visit to Asticou Azalea Garden in Maine
Right nearby Skylands, my home in Seal Harbor, Maine, is the Asticou Azalea Garden. Located in Northeast Harbor, the Asticou Azalea Garden, part of the Asticou Inn, was designed and built in 1956 by Charles K. Savage, the owner of the inn. In 1955, Beatrix Farrand, the renowned landscape gardener and landscape architect, announced her plans to dismantle her fabulous gardens at her Reef Point estate in Bar Harbor. With the financial help of John D. Rockefeller Jr., Savage was able to acquire many of those specimens and fulfill his dream of building Asticou Azalea Garden, modeled after a classic Japanese design.
Early spring at the gardens begins with a flourish of cherry blossoms followed by a colorful explosion of azaleas in every imaginable shade. During summer the gardens are verdant and peaceful. Then, in autumn, things get exciting again with all of the colors of a typical New England fall. The garden is owned and maintained by Mount Desert Land and Garden Preserve and a committee of volunteers. Recently, I strolled through with Shaun, my gardener in Bedford, and we got many good ideas for what to plant around the pond at my farm. Please enjoy this stunning autumn display of the Asticou Azalea Garden.
1 The autumn splendor of Asticou Azalea Garden
2 In Autumn, the garden glows with blazing reds, yellows and oranges.
3 All those colors make for superb reflections on the pond.
4 The Asticou Azalea Garden is an oasis intended to encourage visitors to relax and reflect.
5 In the foreground are the fluffy blooms of Cotinus coggygria - Pink Champagne Smokebush - a lovely specimen. The taller evergreens in the background have been shaped by Japanese cloud pruning.
6 The leaning tree is another example of cloud pruning, or Niwaki. This type of pruning removes certain tree limbs, creating unique form.
7 The bare tree is a Japanese cherry, which blooms in mid-May, heralding the start of the season.
8 Shaun snapped a picture of me taking a picture.
9 Magnificent foliage all around the pond!
10 One of several ancient stone lanterns tucked in among the plantings
11 So many interesting shapes and colors
12 Little benches are strategically placed throughout the garden so that visitors may sit and reflect.
13 The very pretty foliage of a rhododendron
14 An errant bloom of rhododendron impeditum - Cloudland Rhododendron is a mounding or cushion-shaped dwarf rhododendron with tiny leaves as well as a small stature.
15 The fiery autumn foliage of a stewartia
16 Another view of the pond
17 Little pathways meander throughout the garden.
18 A gently moving stream leads to the placid pool.
19 Quaint stone steps, get you across the stream.
20 Another view
21 In a Japanese sand garden the sand represents water and the stones islets.
22 In The Sand Garden, there is a strong feeling of serenity.
23 Even this pot of succulents appears very Japanese.
24 This Japanese maple is a magnificent shade of purple.
25 Another pathway
26 And another ancient stone lantern
27 One last view of the pond