Let’s not agree to Nov. 28 letter writer Jason Anthony’s boycott of Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens’ Gardens Aglow display too quickly.

First, it is important to note that Anthony is a member of the family that owns property that the Boothbay Register has referred to as the “closest and largest abutter” to the gardens, and it was the Anthony family that appealed the Department of Environmental Protection’s approval of the gardens’ expansion plan.

They failed in their effort. Thus, it is not Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens that “chose to sue,” as Anthony puts it; rather, they were put in a position of defending themselves after reasonably moving forward based on permits granted.

I’m not a lawyer, nor am I employed by the gardens. But I have followed this case as a frequent visitor to the gardens. I understand neighbors raising questions about possible environmental impacts of an expansion. But Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens not only demonstrated its willingness to address concerns; they also complied with testing demonstrating that the changes did not, in fact, affect water quality.

As to Anthony’s idea that the gardens need to be reminded that they are “in service to the community,” let’s remember that the gardens not only employ people, but they provide educational opportunities for young people considering horticulture as a career field; they offer a remarkable array of workshops for young and old; they bring visitors to the region who contribute to the local economy; and they provide a working example of environmentally sensitive horticultural practices.

On a personal note, the gardens helped my husband and me decide to move to Maine by demonstrating how well one can garden on ledgy terrain.

Finally, Gardens Aglow is hardly “Disneyland-style.” Rather, it is a warm, family-friendly and magical tour of the gardens in winter.

Kathryn Flannery


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