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to Watch "Hometown Maine"

A short 2014 WMTW feature,
to learn more about the Garden
​& Homestead

Through generous private donors and a cooperative corporate entity, the Foundation realized a longstanding dream and purchased the property. The historic "Curtis House" and its green space not only complement the McLaughlin Garden & Homestead physically, but also provide additional opportunities for expansion, specifically in educational gardening and community conservation efforts. 

We look forward to all the future will bring as we work together to foster sustainable ecology and community betterment with your ongoing support. 

Additionally, the garden is a haven for birds and pollinators by nature of its arboretum and flowering plant collection. The Foundation offers year round educational programs and events, manages an internship program, hosts community and private events, and operates a small gift shop. Several years running, the garden has been voted “Maine’s Favorite Public Garden” and hosts over 10,000 visitors annually. 

In Autumn 2013, the community rallied together yet again when an adjoining property was put up for sale. A commercial "big box" store bid on the land and historic home, threatening to flatten and asphalt the entire area, compromising the integrity of the McLaughlin Garden and its potential future preservation. Active supporters filled town planning board meetings, sent letters to the chain, local politicians, newspapers and conservation societies. 

When are you open?

The garden gate is open seven days a week from May 6 - October 31, 7AM to 6PM. The Gift Shop, Historic Home and Barn are open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday during the season. The Home and Gift Shop hours are posted on the Gift Shop page of the website, or call 207-743-8820 for more information.

Do you offer tours?

We offer tours upon request, led by volunteers and our Director of Horticulture. For groups of ten or more, the price is $8/person, children, seniors over 65, and students are $6/person. For groups smaller than ten, there is a set price of $50. As a non-profit we ask for this small fee to help sustain the organization and keep admission free!

Is the Garden & Homestead available for rent?

The McLaughlin Garden is developing a new events policy which will be posted shortly. In the meantime,  Please contact us to discuss specific events.

Do you have food on site?

At the moment, we do not provide any food on site. We work closely with local cafes including Maurice's next door and Cafe Nomad in Norway for catering. We welcome groups to bring their lunch or snacks to enjoy respectfully in the garden or barn. If you call the Garden, we can help you organize box lunches.

What programs do you offer?

We offer a variety of programs year-round as designed by our staff, Program Committee, volunteers and Board of Directors. Each program is unique and exciting, some are more appropriate for certain age groups than others. Please refer to our Programs & Events page for details about what's going on right now, and sign up for our e-newsletter for reminders!

Do you allow dogs/pets?

No dogs or pets are allowed, however there is a street and grassy throughway which is great for letting our furry friends stretch their legs!

What is your photography policy?

Our new policy is detailed on our programs and events page. All photographers must register at the Garden Gift Shop. Families may take informal family photos. Members may take photographs for their own private use. All photographers taking photographs for commercial use (sale of images, portraits, wedding photographs, etc.) must purchase a photography sponsorship for $50 in 2016.  All photographers and visitors must stay on the paths (and out of flowerbeds); please do not climb on benches or walls; no props of any kind are permitted in the garden.  Contact us at with questions.

Are you hiring?

The Garden has a very small staff, but posts any employment opportunities online and announced on our Facebook page. Every summer, we offer two paid internships to college students. Contact us for details or inquiries. 

How can I stay informed about activities at the Garden & Homestead?

You can "like" us on Facebook and sign up for our e-newsletter!

from the board of directors

United in conservation,

Barbara Durr, Board Chair 
& the McLaughlin Foundation Board of Directors

the mission of the mclaughlin foundation is:

  •  To bring natural beauty and history into people's lives.

The McLaughlin Foundation in South Paris, Maine is celebrating its 19th year stewarding the renowned historic garden, public green space and 1840s farmstead of Bernard McLaughlin, jointly listed as a Cultural Landscape on the National Register of Historic Places.

Through support of members, private donors and foundations the McLaughlin Garden & Homestead remains a beacon of preservation and horticultural education on busy, commercial Highway 26 in South Paris, Maine.


There is a park-like quality to the McLaughlin Garden as it is a primarily wooded oasis in the middle of an otherwise concrete and asphalt strip. Just as urban parks play a significant conservation role in cities, the McLaughlin Garden offers a similar, essential resource to our rural community.

The formal garden features mature collections of hostas, daylilies, astilbes, iris, phlox, sedum, cimicifuga, sempervivums, and over 200 lilacs (the largest collection in New England) 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 McLaughlin Foundation invites you to explore the historic home, barn, plant sale including McLaughlin Originals, and the Garden Gift Shop as you enjoy the serenity of this Maine treasure.

Frequently Asked Questions

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. From May to October, the Garden is open daily to the public free of charge. 

history of McLaughlin Garden & Homestead