Wild Gardens of Acadia simulate a variety of park habitats from mountain summits to fresh meadows and shoreline to bogs, in addition to native plants of Acadia.
It serves as a living field guide and educational resource to familiarize one with native vegetation. All plants are labeled and grouped by habitat.
Open daily, dusk to dawn. Free admission.
History of Wild Gardens of Acadia
In the early 1900s, Charles W. Eliot and George B. Dorr recognized the natural beauty of Mount Desert Island and the need for its preservation. Dorr purchased the Sieur de Monts Spring area in 1909 and named it the Wild Gardens of Acadia. It was later transferred to the National Park Service to become part of Acadia National Park.
In 1961, Superintendent Harold Hubler offered a plot for participants to grow and display wildflowers through a program with the Bar Harbor Garden Club. The Wild Gardens of Acadia committee, made up of area garden club members and other local gardeners at this time, laid paths and divided areas for specific natural plant communities. They made the decision to include not just species indigenous to Acadia but also ones seen abundantly across Mount Desert Island.
Volunteers’ efforts were recognized nationally through various garden clubs and horticulture societies. The committee received a Certificate of Appreciation in 1979 and a Partnership Award in 2011 in recognition of the “Wild Gardens of Acadia Volunteers for 50 years of devoted stewardship” from the National Park Service.
In 2010, Wild Gardens of Acadia became an official committee of Friends of Acadia and formalized this new standing through a partnership with Friends of Acadia and Acadia National Park—ensuring continued success and support from the park as an educational resource.
Wild Gardens of Acadia is currently operated by Bar Harbor Garden Club volunteers in conjunction with Acadia National Park.