The Wild Gardens of Acadia opened on May 1 for its 60th season. ISLANDER PHOTO BY FAITH DEAMBROSE

Wild Gardens of Acadia opens for 60th year


BAR HARBORWith over 400 species of native plants, mimicking the flora and fauna found within Acadia National Park, the Wild Gardens of Acadia is waking up from its winter slumber. 

Normally open year-round, the gardens took a break during the winter as COVID-19 restrictions continuedbut the doors opened this past weekend to welcome visitors for its 60th season 

“Wild, but tended,” is how gardener Geneva Langley describes the roughly one-acre parcel that boasts 13 different micro habitats ranging from mountain to meadows. There are at least 22 species of ferns within the garden and there is always something blooming from spring to fall 

The garden is maintained by a volunteer staff of about 20, with help from a paid gardener and a summer intern who are sponsored by the nonprofit Friends of Acadia. The garden, which is flanked by hiking trails, attracts nearly 500 people a day during the busy seasons. 

It takes about six weeks to uncover and rehabilitate the gardens once winter subsides, said Langley, adding that volunteers can often be seen working while visitors meander through.  

The walking paths through the garden have been arranged for one-way flow. ISLANDER PHOTO BY FAITH DEAMBROSE

In April, it is all about picking up sticks and addressing winter storm damage, said Langley. Some of the garden’s more tender plants are caged to keep wildlife out and those cages are removed once it is safe to do so. As the season progresses, volunteers tend to the garden habitats and even sow new plants as needed.  

Currently, a stroll through the gardens will yield views of marsh marigolds, trillium, bluets, Jackinthe pulpit, wood anemone and pyrola, which are all either in bloom or about to bloom.  

The gardens are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day. A one-way path throughout the garden has been established to direct visitors and to ensure social distancing measures can be followed.  

For more information about the gardens, visit 

Faith DeAmbrose

Faith DeAmbrose

Managing Editor at Mount Desert Islander

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