A passion for planting in Hope

Featured on Gardens in the Watershed tour
By Dwight Collins | Jul 09, 2013
Photo by: Dwight Collins With a passion for plants, three women from Hope ready their gardens to be featured on the Gardens in the Watershed tour July 14. From left are Eileen Ames, Lorranie Smith and Tina Marriner.

Hope — Henry Beecher once said, “Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into.”

Much is the attitude of three Hope women who are preparing to show off their gardens and greenhouses during the 22nd Gardens in the Watershed tour sponsored by Georges River Land Trust.

Tina Marriner, Lorranie Smith and Eileen Ames have a passion for gardens, albeit for different reasons. Marriner is the owner of Tina’s Cut Flowers, specializing in sunflowers and Smith, who grows mostly scented geraniums, owns Hobbs Farm and Greenery. Ames has private gardens at her home and specializes in gardening and garden art.

Marriner’s love for sunflowers began a few years ago when she began researching different ways to make extra money during these hard economic times.

“I did a search on the Internet and found that one of the things people spend money on during hard times is cut flowers,” she said. “Last year I began doing test gardens to see what works the best for the sunflowers to grow in.”

Using different types and mixes of organic fertilizers on some sections and allowing Mother Nature to do her job in others, Marriner’s gardens on Howe Hill Road contains more than 40 types of sunflowers.

“I've got four years of tests and studies I have done and this year I’m ready to start selling them to the public,” she said.

Preparing the gardens for planting and the continuous maintenance keeps the women busy throughout the spring and summer but as a labor of love, it’s not work to them, they say.

Smith said her business is done mostly though mail order and she has sent her wares to as far away as Hawaii and Alaska, but said it took quite sometime before she received an order from within Maine borders. Smith said finding a niche seemed to work better than having a large variety of flowers, so they decided to go with scented geraniums.

“When my son and I first started, we were doing everything,” Smith said. “I did some research and decided on the geraniums and today we are the largest seller in the country for that kind of plant.”

Hobbs Farm and Greenery has been located on Barnstown Road since it opened in 1998.

Ames’ home on Seacoast Road is graced with several flower gardens adorned with many different types of garden art and bird feeders.

“I have a passion for gardens and eclectic garden art,” she said. “I love to be able to attract wild birds and butterflies to my yard and watch them. The gardens also give me a sense of pride, because I have done the work myself and it makes my home look nice.”

One thing the three have in common is the love of flowers, but even deeper than that they have mutual respect for each other and are more than willing to help each other.

Ames said she is very impressed with the gardens Marriner created and praised her friend for doing everything herself.

“That’s a lot of work for one person to do by herself and she does it everyday,” Ames said.

The women are excited to have people tour their gardens and are are working hard in preparation for the event.

“Weed, weed and weed,” Ames said about getting ready for the tour. “We really haven’t had to worry about watering too much with all the rain we have had.”

The Gardens in the Watershed tour will take place rain or shine July 14 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will feature seven gardens in Hope, Montville and Union. For more information about the tour contact Georges River Land Trust at 594-5116.

Tina's Cut Flowers in Hope grows more than 40 kinds of sunflowers. (Photo by: Dwight Collins)
Geraniums are a specialty at Hobbs Farm and Greenery in Hope. (Photo by: Dwight Collins)
Flowers are in bloom in Eileen Ames' gardens, which are a featured stop during the Gardens in the Watershed tour July 14. (Photo by: Dwight Collins)
Garden art decorates the landscape of Eileen Ames' home in Hope. (Photo by: Dwight Collins)
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Dwight Collins
Dwight Collins is a reporter/photographer for The Camden Herald.
(207) 236-8511 ext. 303
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