All honor to the five families -- not, not THOSE Five Families! -- who, twenty years ago, decided that Maine needed a botanical gardens, and who mortgaged their own homes to get start-up money for it, formed a volunteers society to raise money to buy land, and then to build these absolutely amazing, beautiful, gardens.
Everything is very well done, to a high professional standard.
You learn a lot about the ecology of Maine and the coast at the same time as you are enjoying the very well laid-out plantings. You will be fascinated by the kinetic sculpture in the main grounds, 'Wind Orchid', and there are some striking other sculptures -- a giant steel pine cone, and an iron porcupine -- placed along the walks you can take.
We especially liked the 'Fairy Village' which children can build 'fairy houses' in... a great idea which we will take back to the UK. The food in the cafe is also first-rate.
In short ... you've GOT to see it! Give yourself half a day.