Flickering light from 1,000 candles will cast a magical spell and set the McLaughlin Garden in South Paris aglow on Saturday during the seventh annual Garden Illuminated party.

“The garden is beautiful at night,” said McLaughlin executive director Ruth Copeman. “The light-colored flowers really pop, and the smells travel really well at night.”

The 3-acre mature garden, which was planted 75 years ago by Bernard McLaughlin, features an array of plants currently in bloom, including hostas, astilbe, black-eyed Susans, day lilies and ghost beard.

“The plants actually look different at night,” Copeman said. “Just like we dress up at night and look different, the garden plants put on a different face at night.”

Candles will be sprinkled throughout the property in candle holders and in paper luminaries.

“We use soy- or bee-based candles, because they burn better and are more environmentally friendly,” Copeman said.

Battery-operated candles will illuminate the interior of the cathedral-like barn.

Inside the 171-year-old barn, Aborea will play folk music, Maurice’s will offer finger foods, and artist Linda Isham will demonstrate the ink-and-stick drawing technique she used to create the tree studies on display. A cash bar also will be located in the barn.

Party-goers will have an opportunity to send their wishes into the spirit realm during the festivities. Ten wish lanterns, which are oversized paper bags, will be available for guests to write their hopes and dreams on. At the end of the party, each lantern will be set alight and the lanterns, along with the wishes, will rise into the air and float away.

During the day, the gardens typically attract tourists and retired people who enjoy gardening. However, the party entices a different crowd.

“What we see at Garden Illuminated is couples on dates, young people and groups of girlfriends,” Copeman said. “It’s a much younger, more social crowd.”

Staff Writer Avery Yale Kamila can be contacted at 791-6297 or at:

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