Sometimes you have to do things over.

People renovate houses. Books have second editions. Artists will paint a second version of the same scene. Hitchcock even made two versions of “The Man Who Knew Too Much.”

The same is true with gardens, whether at a home or in a public garden.

The Haney Hillside Garden at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay will be reopened Thursday after a major renovation that has been going on for about a year. The garden, designed by Bruce Riddell, was originally built in 2005-06, before the botanical gardens’ grand opening in 2007.

The Patriots Day storm in 2007 knocked down a lot of trees in the Hillside Garden, said Maureen Hefferenan, executive director of the botanical gardens, giving what had been designed as a shade garden more sunlight. In addition, the garden suffered a lot of erosion over the years, partly as the result of the loss of those trees.

Because the work was necessary, garden officials decided to make it better. Herb Schaal, who has designed many of CMBG’s gardens, designed the restoration.

“This garden serves as a transition from the heavily landscaped central gardens down to the largely unlandscaped areas by the river,” Heffernan said. “It keeps on getting a bit wilder as you go down.”

The garden uses mostly native plants — with just a few exceptions. One popular area of the original Hillside Garden was a section of weeping evergreens, and they were not native plants. So, in recognition of the popularity of that section, it has actually been expanded.

“The idea is to go with mostly Maine natives,” said Bill Cullina, the gardens’ director of horticulture and plant curator. “When we can’t get them because the nurseries don’t carry all of them, we have substituted Northeast natives.”

Heffernan said the Hillside Garden serves an educational purpose, just like the Children’s Garden and Garden of the Five Senses do in the central gardens.

“The conditions on the Haney Hillside are so varied,” she said, “that it shows people what they can do if they have those conditions at their home.”

Cullina said there are six different zones as you walk from the central gardens down to the area of the Meditation Garden. They range from a sunny hillside to a rocky outcropping, a damp area, a bog and a fern meadow.

“With most meadows you have grasses and wildflowers,” Cullina said, “but that isn’t really Maine — it’s from the prairies.”

In one area, he planted blueberries and bunch berries together because the bunch berries will thrive where it is moist, and the blueberries where it is drier. The one more appropriate for the space will take over.

The larger spaces in the Hillside Garden gave Cullina a chance to use larger sweeps of plants, creating a more dramatic effect.

The changes in the Haney Hillside Garden are not only about plants, however. The original switchback trail down the hill toward the river was a fairly wide gravel trail, with mostly straight lines except for the switchback turns.

The new trails will be more narrow and intimate, with curves and a surface of packed stone dust that will make it easier to walk on. Stone walls have been installed along parts of the trails.

“People say it reminds them of the walls on the carriage roads of Acadia,” Heffernan said.

A major part of the work is drainage. Gullies were created and lined with waterproof material and filled with rock to make streams leading to a retention pond at the bottom of the hillside. With the water directed to those streams, the erosion of both the trails and the gardens will be minimized, and the silt will be collected before it washes into the tidal Back River.

In conjunction with the reopening, the gardens will introduce a smartphone app providing a narrated tour of the Hillside Garden.

Melissa Cullina, adult education coordinator and botanist for the gardens, said the app works on both Android and iPhone technology, and touchscreen iPods will be available for those who don’t have smartphones.

The app, created by Audissey Media in Boston, has an introduction by Heffernan followed by Susan Haney explaining why she and her husband, Dan, chose to support the Hillside Garden. Then Bill Cullina will direct people to nine sign posts along the trail explaining how and why he used the plants in a specific area.

The reopening of the Haney Hillside Garden is one of two major events at Coastal Maine this summer.

The Borsage Family Education Center — described as Maine’s greenest public building — is scheduled to open July 15. I got a hard-hat tour of the site 10 days ago, and the building is impressive. But it looks like they have a lot of work to do by meet the July 15 date.

Tom Atwell can be contacted at 791-6362 or at

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