'Wild and scrappy' lakefront garden one of eight on tour

Lupins and bachelor buttons in Peggy Jensen's garden, which will be featured in the Raymond Garden Tour on Saturday, June 24. 

RAYMOND — For Peggy Jensen, gardening isn’t a collection of finely manicured flower beds. 

“My gardening is kind of wild and scrappy,” Jensen said in an interview from her garden overlooking Panther Pond in Raymond. “I love playing in the dirt. I love growing things.” 

Jensen’s garden is one of eight stops on this year’s Raymond Garden Tour on, a self-guided sojourn that raises money for the Raymond Village Library. This year’s event is scheduled for Saturday, June 24. 

Located off Route 121, the Jensen property was once a seasonal family camp that Jensen and her husband rebuilt and moved to full time in 2008. The garden that wraps around the home blends a collection of flowers with other wild plants such as blackberry and blueberry bushes. 

Close to the house, Jensen has planted an assortment of flowers that includes bachelor buttons, columbines, forget-me-nots, irises, lupines and roses – many came from her previous home in North Yarmouth and some have been in her family for generations. From there, the property slopes down to Panther Pond with blackberries, blueberries and even a few lady slippers. Jensen has also planted a variety of vegetables and herbs closer to the house. 

“We’re very conscious of living close to the lake, and we work with lake associations to protect the lakes, ” Jensen said, explaining that she and her husband have installed erosion control practices on the property. The measures include infiltration trenches under the drip line of the roof and infiltration steps leading down to their dock, both of which are filled with crushed rock and allow water to sink into the ground rather than run off into the pond.

This is the first year that Jensen’s garden will be part of the library’s tour. 

The garden tour starts at the library on June 24 at 9 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m. with Sunday, June 25, reserved as a rain date if the weather doesn’t cooperate. Tickets costs $15 when purchased in advance and $20 the day of the tour. Participants can pick up a map at the library with the eight private gardens on the tour, and then visit each location at their own pace. 

Jensen and the other garden owners will be at their respective stops on the tour to answer questions about their garden design. 

Following the garden tour, the Hawthorne Community Association will host its annual Strawberry Festival at 3:30 p.m. in collaboration with the library. Walk-ins for the festival at the Nathaniel Hawthorn House are welcome, but reservations are encouraged. Organizers ask for a donation of $10 from each adult and $5 for each child 8 and under.

Along with homemade strawberry shortcake, there will be a presentation from Jeanne Christie, executive director of the National Association of State Wetlands Managers. A Windham resident, Christie is slated to speak on “Gardening for Bumble Bees and other Native Pollinators.”

Tickets for the garden tour are available at the Raymond Village Library and on its website, and reservations for the Strawberry Festival can be made through John Manoush of the Hawthorne Community Association at 207-655-7660 or jmanoush@twc.com. 

Lupins and bachelor buttons in Peggy Jensen’s garden, which will be featured in the Raymond Garden Tour on Saturday, June 24. 

Peggy Jensen stands by wild blackberry bushes in her garden leading down to Panther Pond in Raymond.