People usually have to take a boat to get to Appledore Island where poet Celia Thaxter's colorful garden delights the eye, but not this year.

The garden is being recreated at Prescott Park in Portsmouth for the second year in a row due to COVID-19 precautions.

Jennifer Seavey, Shoals Marine Laboratory executive director, said in a statement that Prescott Park has been a "perfect temporary spot" for laying out the garden featured in "An Island Life."

“This gives those who haven’t been able to make the trip to Appledore Island an opportunity to take in the beauty of this legendary garden,” said Seavey.

Shoals Marine Laboratory works with Rolling Green Nursery in Greenland to select seeds of Thaxter's favorite annuals that are grown over the winter until they are ready to plant.


Thaxter grew up on the Isles of Shoals and became a favorite American author in the late 19th century. She lived much of her life on Appledore Island where her cottage garden served as a cutting garden for her family’s hotel.

Thaxter is known for welcoming a steady stream of well-known writers, musicians and painters to the island to enjoy vibrant conversations in lively salons in her parlor.

Impressionist painter and dear friend Childe Hassam made her garden famous in his paintings and Thaxter published a book with collected prose and watercolor illustrations of her gardens, according to a press release.

As the garden grows throughout the season, it changes and emerges to encompass a wide variety of plants.

Some of the garden's highlights include many types of poppies, which were Thaxter’s favorites, as well as hollyhocks, dahlias, sweet peas, foxgloves, nigella, scabiosa and others.

Courtesy Photo
Courtesy Photo

Even though people can't go out to the island to get a tour this year, there will be tours held in Portsmouth.

The tours are free to the public, but advanced registration is required and spots are limited. To register go to and click on the News section.


Friday, July 16 at 4 p.m. EST

Friday, July 30 at 4 p.m. EST

Friday, Aug 6 at 4 p.m. EST

Rain dates: Friday, Aug 13 and Friday, Sept 10

Contact Managing News Editor Kimberley Haas at

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