The gardens at The Heirloom Garden of Maine will be open Sunday, July 25, as part of Maine Open Farm Days. The public is invited for a garden walk and to sample heirloom vegetables and edible flowers. The nursery will also be open by appointment July 26-29.

Located at 513 North Ridge Road in Montville, the family farm collects, preserves and propagates over 300 varieties of flowers, bulbs, vegetables and herbs that were common in Early American gardens. Operated by mother-daughter team Sandy George and Diana George Chapin, the farm is the site of a circa 1800 farmstead originally settled by a soldier of the American Revolution, Phineas Bean, and his wife, Hannah Clifford Bean.

George and Chapin tend the nursery throughout the summer and collect seeds every autumn to perpetuate their collection. They divide perennials and propagate seedlings in the farm’s greenhouses. Plants from the collection are offered to gardeners through a Farm Annual and Web site.

In addition to private home gardens, they are grown at historic buildings and estates throughout Maine and New England, including Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, History House in Skowhegan, Hamilton House and Sarah Orne Jewett House in South Berwick, Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport, Rundlet-May House in Portsmouth, N.H., and the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford, Conn.

“Heirloom plants are enjoying a resurgence in popularity among home gardeners,” said George. “Better flavor in vegetables and more variety in color and form in both vegetables and flowers are traits people are looking for. Additionally, saving seed from open pollinated heirloom plants connects us to the food we eat and to nature.

“We think of it as a local thing, but it is a worldwide movement. As members of the Seed Saver’s Exchange, a network of thousands of gardeners throughout the world who share the same vision of handing seed and the knowledge of gardening down to future generations, we help ensure this diversity will be available in the years to come.”

“Plants are an important link to our collective past,” Chapin said. “Growing heirloom plants, whether edible or ornamental, is one way to experience and appreciate the tremendous pool of genetic diversity, beauty and nourishment the natural world offers. Plants in our collection were historically used for food, medicine, aroma, fiber and dying. We’re happy to have an opportunity to share what we’re doing here with others, and we hope people get to know plants they’ve never heard of or seen before. “

The Heirloom Garden of Maine is two and a half miles north of Route 3 at 513 North Ridge Road in Montville. For more information visit, e-mail or call 342-2116.