The Asticou Azalea Garden is a local landmark, and like most locals, I rarely manage to visit our landmarks during their seasons. You New Yorkers out there, betcha only visit the Statue of Liberty when you've got enthusiastic houseguests, right? Same here.
Well, I finally made it to the Azalea Garden during peak bloom this week for the first time in seven years. Wow, what a show! Most of the year it is a calm Japanesque garden in shades of green and white, with granite bridges and a dry sand garden. In June, though, it goes from tea ceremony serenity to full-on Kabuki glitz.
Azaleas in flaming orange, hot pink, vivid purple ...
and a few calmer patches of pale pinks and lavenders. There are lots other rare and unusual plants here, many of them moved here from Reef Point (Beatrix Farrand's estate in Bar Harbor) when that garden was dismantled in the 1950s. This beauty:
is Paeonia obovata var. willmottiae, a woodland peony. I find that purple center mesmerizing.
For anyone planning a visit, the Garden is open during daylight hours from May through October. If you're anywhere nearby, go quickly, it's in full bloom right now!