Locals suggest that Farrand, a legendary perfectionist, was unwilling to entrust Reef Point to others to manage after her death. Patrick Chassé, a noted landscape architect and Mount Desert Island resident, buys into this theory. "She really couldn't bring herself to give up control over the garden, so in 1955, she decided to disperse her plants," he speculates.
Many of the Reef Point plants ended up at Asticou and Thuya. Farrand had the remainder moved to Garland Farm, eight miles northwest of Bar Harbor, where she lived from 1956 until her death three years later at age 86. Today, as a result of fundraising and design work by Chassé and others, the five-acre Garland Farm Gardens, though under restoration, is open to the public by appointment.
The revival of Garland Farm serves as a reminder of the conservationist ethic celebrated throughout this region. Surely George Dorr, Acadia National Park's primary founder, would have applauded this most recent preservation effort. As he admonished in 1942: "I trust it will be recognized that what we have now achieved is a beginning only."
Writer Jonathan Kandell lives in New York City.
Photographer Brad Dececco is based in Brooklyn, New York.