Our garden club took a virtual tour of McLaughlin Garden and Homestead this week, when the garden’s executive director, Donna Anderson, visited our club’s meeting on September 21. Ms Anderson talked about the vision of Bernard McLaughlin, who planted the original gardens, and whose work the current director and staff are continuing.
Following the death of Bernard in 1995, a group of local people purchased the South Paris property, which has since been named to the register of historic places. The original home is being preserved, and the gardens are subject to an attempt to balance preservation with new plantings and uses as the original trees and lilacs age and grow.
In this 20th Anniversary year, the garden’s staff and directors are looking ahead. They would like to transform the newly acquired property adjacent to the homestead into a year-round meeting place, with rooms for events, cafe, gift shop, and a conservatory. This is a multi-year project, just getting underway. While the garden’s future has excitement in store, the tranquility of Bernard’s gardens remains. It sounds like a wonderful destination for spring wildflowers and the scent of Bernard’s lilacs.