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The Gardens at the Museum

Native Garden - Established in 2008

If you’re like me, you might be standing in front of the garden and wondering exactly what a native plant garden is. Why are theses native plants important? What makes this garden special? What pertinent information is there to know about a native plant garden? Let me(us) try to enlighten you just a little. Native plants originated here in this region. They were here without any human intervention. These plant species have evolved with the climate and environmental conditions of our region over time. They are adapted to the seasonality, soil characteristics and water availability, which typifies out region. You may have native plants in your garden and not even know it. Native plants often require less maintenance, fertilizer and pesticide use to remain healthy, making them a sustainable option for your landscape. Many native plant species in Maine produce flowers and or fruit that are quite showy and have an architecture that is esthetically pleasing. They offer food and shelter for regional wildlife. They provide a much-needed balance with nature. There has been a rapid acceleration of changes in our environment that have impacted our water, soil, air, plants and climate. Our plant habitats are changing. Some insects are having a difficult time finding sufficient food and shelter. Native pollinators that depend on native plants have encountered a loss of habitat due to urbanization, water and air pollution, lack of green spaces and climate change. We need to try to restore our environment. One way we can help is to grow native plant species in our landscapes. These native plants will provide nectar resources and habitat for our native pollinators. Some native plant species we use today have been selected to produce a novel trait, such as flower color, which differs from the native variety. We will become bug farmers when we try to mimic mother nature. We will encourage habitat reconstruction. A native plant has evolved and adapted to live in a certain place because of its soil, water and needs. It interacts with plants and animals. It is perfectly equipped for its environment. Native plants offer insects nurseries to ensure continued pollination and beauty to our gardens. They offer birds and native wildlife food and are used for shelter when needed. As we reframe our thinking on native planting, we are protecting and rebuilding nature for future generations. We are restoring plant communities and recreating healthy ecosystems. Native plants bring diversity and beauty to our gardens. They are earth friendly and are reconstructing our habitats. They are creating a return of beneficial insects. Native gardens are our future and our past. Here at the Native Plant Garden, we have patiently and persistently planted a native garden. It is a work in progress as our small habitat changes. We have a diverse collection of native plants. We hope you find native plants you can use in your gardens to help the wildlife around you. - Cathy Ribbons and The Central Maine Garden Club

Explore the Plant Species in the Gardens

Bee Balm

Monarda Didyma

Black eyed susan

Rudebeckia hirta

Cardinal flower

Lobelia cardinalis

Cranesbill Geranium

Geranium maculatum

Foxglove beardtongue

Penstemon digitalis

Hairy or northern beardtongue

Penstamon hirstus

Moss phlox, ground phlox, creeping phlox

Phlox stolonifera

New England Aster

Symphyotrichumr novae-angliae

Serviceberry, shadbush

Amelanchier spp.

Trout lily

Erythronium americanum


Ilex verticillata

Bee balm

Monarda fistulosa

Blue flag iris

Iris versicolor


Echinacea pupurea

Downy Goldenrod

Solidago puberula

Golden Alexandra

Zizia Aurea

Joe Pye weed

Eutrochium maculatum

Mountain mint

Pycnantheum virginum

Obedient plant

Physotegia virginiana

Spotted Geranium

Geranium maculatum


Chelone glabra

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