Community Connections: A Private Tour of Ellen Shibles’s Garden

4 mins read
A sign near a bench invites passersby to come enjoy the gardens.

WILTON — Mt. Blue Area Garden Club members were thrilled to receive a hand-written invitation from Ellen Shibles for a guided tour of her lakeside gardens while hundreds of daffodils were in full bloom.

Ellen’s carefully curated garden, named “Wings,” was recently featured in Maine Homes by Down East Magazine, and for good reason.

Nestled between a quiet, birch-lined road and the soothing shore of Wilson Lake, the gently sloped grounds beckon you to explore their abundance. A sign at the road invites passersby to come enjoy the gardens, and the song of countless birds echo that welcome to join them and delight in every bloom, leaf, and stone.

Step foot on the paths that wind, converge, and branch between the trees, and time seems to slow.

On our spring morning visit, waves of daffodils nodded in the breeze. Native hay scented ferns unfurled fresh chartreuse fronds to bask in the sun, while crisp white blossoms adorning serviceberries and star magnolias shimmered and floated like cheerful clouds above them.


Serviceberries and ‘Lyle Littlefield’ star magnolias form clouds of white blossoms that hover above the garden.


Stonework walls shape natural spaces for countless natives and unique cultivars, each curated by Ellen to suit their particular site while complementing the landscape’s spirit and design. We were amazed when we learned that these lush gardens were started from scratch when Ellen purchased her home’s one-acre site in 2014. It’s hard to believe she created this incredibly rich landscape in the short time since then.

An orb created by Vera Johnson lights up at night.

There are many specialty varieties of hydrangeas, clematis, and lilac, including a cultivar called ‘Miss Kim’, trained into tree form and complete with a whimsical face. Adding to the charm is a rustic cedar bridge to the house, with a “river” of plants to be installed beneath as well as many pieces of custom outdoor art created by local artisans, including our very own Vera Johnson.

The gardens offer year-round beauty and feature too many plants to list here, but Ellen shared a detailed list of them to our tour attendees. This was included in precious friendship bags, which were warmly offered when we signed her guest book, located in a tiny decorative “barn” near the lake.

Ellen generously offers her gardens to all.

When you visit this local gem, be sure to look for lucky stones, ones with a continuous line around them, which she has hidden like Easter eggs throughout the garden. Signs of fairies can even be spied tucked among the plants for those clever enough to spot them.

Thank you, Ellen, for your thoughtful hospitality. You and your gardens are a treasure to us all!

Written by K. Rachel McClellan for Mt. Blue Area Garden Club. Posted with permission.


Climbing hydrangeas, a statue, and a cauldron for annuals stand before the calming waters of the lake framed by azaleas.


‘Miss Kim’ lilac leafing out.
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