Stop to Smell the Roses in This Brunswick Garden

Really — the owners of this perennial-and-sculpture garden welcome visitors.

Robin Robinson watering the plants in her Brunswick garden
By Aurelia C. Scott
Photos by Tara Rice
From our June 2024 issue

Rounding the bend at the edge of Robin and David Robinson’s corner Brunswick lot, passersby encounter a stone “harvest maiden” in a crown of fresh flowers, surrounded by a low boxwood hedge. At her feet, a hosta-lined brick path runs on a diagonal from the sidewalk through the front yard to a latticed gate engulfed in clematis and climbing roses that foreshadows more gardeny delights on the other side. Curiosity compels many to continue along the sidewalk and pause at the driveway, in hopes of finding the owners. “We love it when people stop to talk,” says Robin, who welcomes folks when she’s outside, ushering them past a pergola-topped garage draped with more clematis and roses, to a side yard chockablock with curving perennial beds.

Robin Robinson in her Brunswick Maine garden

When David, a retired landscaper, and Robin, a retired nurse, moved into her family’s 1846 Greek Revival on a quarter-acre lot, in 2015, they inherited an antique apple tree, a few lilacs, and a hemlock and pin oak planted by Robin’s grandmother. Now, Robin says, “We’ve maxed out every inch.” Each garden is oriented around a sculpture, seat, or both. “We have a penchant for collecting statuary, although we don’t take it very seriously,” David says. Beneath the old apple tree, a stone sphinx with the face of Madame de Pompadour (18th-century mistress to King Louis XV of France) reclines next to a wrought-iron bench and chair in a bed of purple heuchera, lily of the valley, and variegated hostas. A few feet away, “Doris’s Bench,” named for a neighbor who stops to rest on the silvered cedar seat during her walks, perches among heuchera, blue agapanthus, white peonies, and yellow lilies.

Behind the cedar bench, a pair of burgundy Japanese weeping maples colors the front of a shed crowned with a cupola and heron-shaped weather vane that match those on the house. A neighboring small brick patio stars an antique Thai Buddha atop a flat headstone. It meditates beneath a Japanese maple, surrounded by creamy phlox, fluffy pink Japanese burnet, blue Siberian irises, and a patch of hot-pink ragged-robin that the eponymous gardener dug from a roadside ditch in Westbrook. A globe-shaped metal sundial on a stone pedestal rises above the irises. Another tiny patio hosts a wrought-iron table and chairs.

Robin and David Robinson laid the brick and flagstone patios and pathways that intersperse their Brunswick gardens themselves. In the front yard (right), a stone “harvest maiden” dons seasonal fashions, such as a fresh-flower crown in summertime and an Easter-egg necklace in spring.

The Robinsons love to share their garden, but they also like their privacy. So they sectioned off a brick courtyard tucked between the house and rose- and clematis-cloaked lattice fencing. They eat meals there and nurture small borders of blue columbine, pink geraniums, and yellow irises, as well as potted annuals. “We have so much fun in this garden of ours,” Robin says. “We just wish there were more hours in the day. The sun always seems to set while we’re still playing outside.”

May 2024, Down East Magazine

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