On a short but wonderful trip to Camden, Maine, we saw beautiful gardens everywhere. In zone 4, they enjoy low humidity and cool nights but a shorter growing season, of course. They must be almost a month behind us - their peonies were just blooming while ours have gone by weeks ago. Most gardens featured stone either in walls or as enormous boulders (see below). Absolutely breath-taking.
The garden at our B&B in Camden was almost an acre of partial shade sloping down from the house to a small stream with a granite slab bridge. Lots of hostas, woodland phlox and ferns, but in sunny spots Juanita had tucked in bachelor's buttons (centaurea) and other sun-loving perennials. The shrub on the left is bridal wreath.
I think the hosta on the right is Gold Standard, which I've come to like more and more, despite my aversion to most variegated hostas (especially those dark green ones with white edges).
Rhododendron was in bloom everywhere, mostly the common pale purple ones (but looking 1,000 times better than mine), but Juanita had this gorgeous red one in her garden, and it sparkled in the sunlight.
And here's the climbing hydrangea I'm thinking of for my new trellis, growing on the side of the shed next to the rhododendron. Juanita says she feeds it twice a year and it has now bloomed after three years of this treatment. I guess it is slow, but how beautiful!
I think this is pink gaura and an enormous geranium.
A simple arrangement of pots of pink and purple on a wooden garden cart. Charming but escapes being cute, maybe because of the spiky purple and the aged pots.
Here's a view of the slope up to the house, with bachelor's buttons, alliums and huge clumps of alchemilla.
We saw other gardens to admire as we tooled around. This garden, on the way to the Mount Battie trail, featured enormous boulders, green grass, and well-manicured vegetable beds.
Here's the upper part of the same garden, with evidence of the gardener at work.
We saw these peonies growing along the side of a house as we walked back to the Maine Stay from town. Could they be more outrageously gorgeous? I don't usually like these dinner-plate clematis - they look artificial to me - but they're so effective here.
The library had a beautifully maintained bed right by the entrance. Here's a shot at dusk, with Siberian iris glowing and the harbor in the background.
On the way out of Camden towards Rockport, we had to stop by this garden. Poppies, lupines and daisies, with rocks and a white picket fence, of course.