In 1936 Bernard McLaughlin began planting what would become one of Maine's most beloved gardens. A century-old Maine farmstead with massive stone walls and huge barn provided a unique background for his sophisticated collection of trees, woody shrubs, and perennials.
Bernard welcomed visitors to the garden whenever the gate was open, creating a true mecca for garden enthusiasts. With no formal horticultural training, tending the garden single-handedly for most his life, he eventually became known as the "Dean of Maine Gardeners." Bernard McLaughlin died at age 98 in 1995.
Now over seventy years old, the landmark two acre garden is under the stewardship of a nonprofit organization formed to preserve the historic home, barn and garden for the public.
The formal garden features mature collections of hostas, daylilies, astilbes, iris, phlox, sedum, cimicifuga, sempervivums, and over 200 lilacs beneath a canopy of mature deciduous and coniferous trees. A diverse collection of Maine wildflowers and ferns border an old lane which rises up a wooded hill behind the barn.
The Mission of The McLaughlin Foundation is:
Frequently Asked QuestionsWhy aren't all the plants labeled?
The issue of labeling is discussed in depth in our Garden Master Plan. The resources needed to maintain proper labels, the aesthetics of labels in such a dense garden, and the historic precedent in this garden were all considered. It was concluded that the collection would not be labeled. Establishing and maintaining a labeling system, the cluttered look of labels in the garden and the fact that Bernard McLaughlin did not maintain labels in the garden except for his own reference, all lent weight to the argument. To assist our visitors, we have established two Plants-in-Bloom boards in the barn. We have also attempted to numerically label sample plants in bloom in the garden and provide a key to those plants at the kiosk and in the barn. Please feel free to ask our staff about any plant questions you have.
When were the house and barn built?
Where does the McLaughlin Garden & Homestead logo come from?
It takes many people to maintain and restore this historic resource, run our programs, operate our café and gift shop, and raise the necessary funds to do the above. We would like to thank all of our onsite volunteers, the Board of Directors, and our several volunteer advisory committees.