RUMFORD — Wandering around Tom Carey’s nearly five acres on Isthmus Road is like touring a botanical garden. There are waterfalls, fruit trees, flowers, vegetables, a mini-Stonehenge and a pond.

The gardens will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, July 20, to benefit Black Mountain of Maine.

A donation of $10 entitles a visitor to get a narrated tour of the hills, which also include huts and fairyland-like enclosures. Visitors may also roam on their own.

The tours begin every hour, starting at 10 a.m. at 228 Isthmus Road.

Carey, a local attorney, has been passionate about growing virtually everything since he was a schoolboy. He doesn’t just grow plants; he also creates specialty gardens, such as a serpentine-shaped path snaking down a hill, a woodland garden filled with a large variety of hostas and other shade-loving plants, a pond with water lilies, a birch garden with myrtle groundcover and a house enclosed with colorful bittersweet. It has become his grandchildren’s storytelling place.

The groundcover of pachysandra, a low semi-evergreen plant, covers the stonewall bordering his property near the road.


The mini-Stonehenge overlooks the pond. Tons of granite were trucked in from eastern Maine, then fashioned into the famous Druid ruin, complete with lintels connecting 12-foot-high granite slabs. In the middle is a fire pit.

The waterfalls flowing from the pond are named for his eldest grandchild, 2-year-old Georgia. A wrought iron fence, perfect for resting and reflecting, provides seating.

“You feel so good doing this. I love creating and having certain designs in my head, then transforming them into what you want,” he said.

As a youngster, he helped his father tend flowers and vegetables at the family’s camp on Roxbury Pond. When he grew older, he helped an uncle who owned a landscaping business on Long Island, N.Y.

A small, castle-like building adjacent to the pool is called the “Garden Folly,” an English name for a garden house. Carey built it almost entirely from stones on his property.

The small orchard is filled with apple, pear, peach and plum trees. The vegetable garden produces corn, lots of herbs, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, tomatoes and many other edible plants. The harvest is either canned or frozen.


Blackberries are extremely prolific this year, along with strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, raspberries and grapes. Flowers of every description and color — such as roses, bleeding hearts and dahlias — pop up everywhere around the outside of the house and throughout the gardens.

Carey is ready to show all that nature — and hard work — can do.

And helping Black Mountain raise enough money to keep operating is important to him. He and his children often ski there, and many area schools use the slope for practices and meets.

He’s hoping people will take the opportunity to enjoy his gardens while supporting the ski area, which did not receive $51,000 from the town this year.

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