Appledore Island & Celia Thaxter’s Garden

View Approaching Appledore

Star Island conferences often schedule an afternoon trip to Appledore Island. Cornell University leases Appledore from the Star Island Corporation for their Shoals Marine Laboratory. The trip is made on their boat, the Kingsbury. Due to the Kingsbury‘s size, the trip is limited to 43 people. “New Shoalers” are given some priority, and “Old Shoalers” who have already visited are asked to wait until just before the trip to see if there are any openings. The visit on Appledore includes the Shoals Marine Lab, the Thaxter family cemetery, and Celia Thaxter’s restored garden.

Visitors in Celia's Garden

“Celia Thaxter planted her famous cutting garden in front of the cottage which is described in her book, An Island Garden, illustrated in color with the work of American impressionist Childe Hassam. Celia described the 1893 garden in detail, listing 57 varieties of flowers and describing 24 other plants which could be added during the summer season. The flowers decorated her cottage, especially the parlor, which had become a salon for the well-known writers, musicians, and artists who summered on the islands.”

Celia in the Garden
from Celia in the Garden,
Childe Hassam

Flowers in Celia's Garden #1

Flowers in Celia's Garden #2

“The re-creation of Celia Thaxter’s famous garden has been a project of the Shoals Marine Laboratory, which currently occupies the island. At the end of May or early June, 85 trays of flowering plants, prepared by the University of New Hampshire’s Thompson School, are shipped to Appledore. They are planted inside a 15-foot by 50-foot fence which is the site of the original garden. Planting continues throughout the summer and the garden is maintained with the help of area garden clubs and volunteers. Marine laboratory students also help with the planting and weeding, which is closely supervised by resident gulls. Green grass and flowers are still a precious sight to all Shoals residents, and they are willing to work for their share of Celia’s legacy.”

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