We Mainers don’t truly believe we’re safe from a winter sneak attack until June, when our gardens suddenly explode with color and perfume. It’s an intoxicating time, this season of marching headlong into summer, and we have four flower-filled events to fill your senses with it.
Make like Monet and express your passion for flowers by putting brush to canvas at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens on Plein Air Painting Days. Relax, no one expects you to create another Water Lily Pond. Just set up your easel wherever you like in this 295-acre garden and let your creativity blossom. Even better, just for showing your painting supplies, you get in free.
June 1–3. 132 Botanical Gardens Dr., Boothbay. 207-633-8000.
How better to usher in summer than strolling among hundreds of showy, pastel-colored peonies at Maine Audubon’s Gilsland Farm? How about strolling among peonies while eating Toots Ice Cream? Maine Audubon owes its popular Peony Bloom and Ice Cream Social to Gilsland Farm’s former owner, the late David Moulton, who grew more than 400 Chinese peony cultivars over 7 acres. Audubon’s formal garden was established with his rootstock.
June 14. 20 Gilsland Farm Rd., Falmouth. 207-781-2330.
See ’em from the road, see ’em from the water, see ’em from the air — lupines, lupines everywhere! The Deer Isle-Stonington Lupine Festival celebrates the spiky wildflowers that blanket roadsides, hills, and meadows from Kittery to Fort Kent with boat tours, airplane rides, arts and crafts exhibits, and even a lupine cake contest.
You’ll never measure up to the hollyhocks in 19th-century poet Celia Thaxter’s garden on Appledore Island in Kittery, but that’s not your shortcoming — it’s just that the flowers are towers! See for yourself on Celia Thaxter’s Garden Tour, which includes boat transportation and a catered lunch at the Shoals Marine Laboratory. (BYOY: bring your own yardstick.)