PARIS — Inspired by visits to ornamental gardens in his young adulthood, Bernard McLaughlin broke ground at his family homestead in 1936, choosing unique plants as he planned his garden and earning the nickname ‘The Dean of Maine Gardeners’ along the way. He happily invited the public to visit his beautiful space in gratitude for their support and friendship.

Nearly 90 years later, enjoying Bernard’s landmark two-acre garden, house, and historic barn now draw visitors from around the country, leaving the traffic and noise of Rte. 26 to spend some time in the tranquil green oasis nearby.

‘The McLaughlin Garden and Homestead is home to one of the largest collections of lilacs in New England, with 125 varieties of more than 200 trees. It also includes an impressive array of hostas, daylilies, astilbes, irises, phlox, wildflowers, and ferns,’ said Karla Horecky, Managing Director of the McLaughlin Foundation, which oversees the property.

Thousands of visitors come each year to appreciate nature and to connect with family and friends. Special events and educational workshops are offered to the public, many at no cost.

‘Thursday Nights in the Garden’ offer an eclectic array of entertainment, including live music, food tastings, and workshops from June to August, and annually anticipated events also fill the schedule like the Wildflower Celebration (May), Lilac Festival (May), Garden Illuminated (August), the McLaughlin Garden Art Fair (August), and the Jack O’ Lantern Spectacular (October), for which NSB will be the sole sponsor this year. NSB has been a consistent supporter of the venue since 2016.

‘Norway Savings Bank has helped us continue to flourish. Their contributions support the free and low-cost programming and special events that enrich our community and ensure that the garden and our programs continue to grow and serve visitors and residents of the Oxford Hills,’ said Horecky.


The funding has also supported child-centered nature programs and even a summer reading program that explores topics in nature and gardening.

‘More and more people of all ages are discovering the wonders of the garden and exploring a mid-19th century farmstead. It’s remarkable to see how the staff and volunteers pay such attention to detail and pour their hearts into making it a truly natural, cultural, and must-see venue,’ said Dan Walsh, President and CEO of Norway Savings Bank. ‘We’re honored to be asked and to be able to support these dedicated people, the diverse programming, and this unforgettable place.’

The grounds are open to visitors each day from dawn to dusk from Mother’s Day Weekend through November 1. The barn and gift shop are open Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is always free, but a $10 donation to support the garden and homestead is suggested.

For more ways to support the McLaughlin Garden and Homestead, visit To take a look at the upcoming schedule, visit

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