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Get the Dirt on Gardening!

June 22, 2017

Get all the dirt on gardening with garden tours, conducted every Thursday at 10AM by the ocean front Inn by the Sea's head gardener Derrick Daly.

Daly is a magician with soil! Visitors, who dig with Derrick or take a garden tour, tap into years of planting and wildlife knowledge as they learn about 3 very different landscapes at the Inn.

Go Native! The landscape surrounding the ocean front Inn by the Sea is planted with native materials selected to create habitat and food sources for local wildlife. Guests learn how to create ever blooming gardens with indigenous plants that limit negative impacts on the environment. Native plants also tend to be hardier and require less water or chemicals. Derrick maintains a mixture of annual flowering plants, shrubs, trees and blueberry bushes at the entrance to the Inn. (Guests are encouraged to pick and munch blueberries while touring!) Popular with guests is learning to plant butterfly gardens specifically designed to attract the delicate high flyers. A combination of Joe Pye Weed, Vernonia, Echinacea, and Clethera Alinifolia are alive with butterflies in summer and fall. Brightly colored Monarch butterflies and their fat larvae can be seen on Milk Weed July through October, and Parsley and Bronze Fennel attracts elegant Black Swallowtails.

Centerpiece Gardens: Central to the ocean view at the Inn are the Boulevard planters- this dramatic center piece garden is filled with a fanciful combination of shrubs, ornamental grasses, biennial, perennial and annuals. It's a seasonal delight, often whimsical, always bursting with color, and sometimes a trial garden for what's new or what's trending in the world of gardening, as well as some tried and true plant materials. Derrick talks about the importance of rich compost as soil amendment, and challenges visitors to create a pleasing display at home- often suggesting a surprising combination of plants. He doesn't shy from utilizing vegetables such as Rainbow Swiss Chard or Cabbage to create a great back drop for the likes of biennial Fox Glove, or dependable annuals Supertunias, giant tuber Dahlias and an always useful, aromatic variety of herbs.

Into the Wild! Visitors to the gardens go into the wild visiting the "Rabitat"- a rewilding or habitat restoration collaboration with the Department of Conservation to create the perfect habitat for endangered rabbits Acres of state park taken over by exotic invasive plants were restored to native shrubs, trees and grasses. After rewilding the area with indigenous species, the acreage is back to its natural field like beauty, with a revitalized local eco system and return of wildlife with natural predator and prey cycles. Visitors learn about Derrick's nemesis, Japanese Knotweed and bittersweet, and the ongoing need to keep fast growing invasive out of the habitat or gardens along with methods to do so. The area is currently planted with indigenous plants perfect for the survival of endangered New England cottontail rabbits- which sometimes may be seen at dusk and dawn by very quiet, very patient visitors!

Garden tours, every Thursday at 10AM during the growing season at Inn by the Sea, 40 Bowery Beach Road, Cape Elizabeth, Maine 04107. 207.799.3134