Not-so-secret Garden

Hiding in a mess of trees is my safe space. Whether on a hike, in my backyard, a park – wherever.

I am so incredibly lucky to have a new opportunity to hang with these old souls every day. At the McLaughlin Garden & Homestead in Paris (no, not that Paris), I will be a part of keeping the only local public gardens open.

Bernard McLaughlin owned the home on what is now busy Highway 26/Main Street. Unlike most people in this area, who I find are very, very private, Bernard made it known that any time his gate was open, anyone was welcome to come in and wander the garden.

With his death in the mid-90s, the community rallied together to prevent its sale (and future as a parking lot). A core group then established the McLaughlin Foundation to keep the gardens cultivated, lush and a leading example of wild, Maine gardening.

Now the garden has added the McLaughlin home to the historic register and keeps it up as part gift shop, part offices, part cafe (under renovation). Through committed, loving volunteers and generous donors, as well as an incredible horticulturist, the Garden hosts events, tours, lectures, and remains open every day, from dawn til dusk, for anyone who wanders by.

As the founding executive director told me, “this has always been a place where people come to be healed.”

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