Designed by Charles Savage, owner of the Asticou Inn and designer of the gardens at the surrounding Thuya Garden and Lodge, the Asticou Azalea Garden was made possible through funds provided by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Constructed in 1956 and 1957, Savage utilized plants collected from Beatrix Farrand’s dismantled Reef Point Gardens in nearby Bar Harbor. These plants include two of the oldest specimens in the garden- a weeping hemlock just north of the Main Bridge and an Alberta spruce near the North Bridge.
Inspired by the Japanese landscape type known as the stroll garden, the 2.3-acre garden with meandering paths, a great pond, a lily pond, and garden rooms provides space for contemplative viewing and moments of reflection, Asticou is planted with combinations of azaleas, rhododendrons, various conifers, and other Maine-hardy plants. Balancing cultural and natural components, the garden is principled on an illusion that makes it seem much more expansive than it is. Today, the garden is owned and maintained by the Mount Desert Land & Garden Preserve and a committee of volunteers.