An organic flower farm with a pottery studio is next in Belfast Garden Club’s Open Garden Days 2017. You’re invited to travel on winding country roads to the Thorndike property of Barbara Walch and Charlie Krause from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Friday, June 30, rain or shine.

Fire Flower Gardens and Pottery is perched on both sides of Knox Station Road, with long views to distant knolls. On one side of the road, a wooden sign announces the name of the MOFGA-certified farm. Cutting beds are crammed with delphiniums, calla lilies, peonies and many other species, some of which will be in full-bloom on tour day. Perennials and herbs are also offered on a roadside plant stand that relies on the honor system. Two gourd-headed scarecrows watch over the beds.

On the other side of the road lies the 1800s farmhouse and a shed holding the kiln that Walch built brick-by-brick nearly 30 years ago, when she moved to Maine from Massachusetts. It is where she fires her unique and earthy stoneware pieces with their dreamy glazes of blues, greens, creams and pinks. She also creates porcelain pinch pots that are fired to a delicate shade of celadon.

More gardens abound, including the first bed Walch planted on the property, with its early-spring bloomers. Today, it is surrounded by the living woven-willow fence that Charlie planted after the two were married. Herbs, fruit trees, more than 75 varieties of annual and perennial flowers, and Charlie’s fenced-in vegetable garden spread over the acre and a half that the couple works. Beyond the yard, large fields take up a good portion of the 10-acre property. A local farmer cuts them for hay every year.

Walch brings her vibrant bouquets to the Belfast Farmers’ Market at Waterfall Arts every Friday in summer. Those include colorful nosegays that are also called tussie-mussies. She also provides blossoms for the occasional summer wedding.

The hardy plants Walch and Krause grow do not require constant watering or babying. With only one well, they make do with the resources nature provides and after some trial and error that occasionally continues today, they generally only put in plants that will brave the Zone 4/5 growing climate.

Directions from Belfast:  Take Route 137 to Route 7 to Brooks. Take a left on Route 139 and travel six miles to Knox Station Road. Signage opposite the garden.

A $5 donation is requested. For more information call club member Marje Stickler at 338-5059.

Each year the Belfast Garden Club awards scholarships to two Waldo County high school graduates working towards a degree in conservation, ecology, horticulture, natural resources, sustainable agriculture or a related field. Click link to download a scholarship application form. Deadline for submitting applications is April 30, 2017.

For more details, please click on ABOUT US, then OUR PROJECTS and scroll down to Education.

On behalf of the Belfast Garden Club, Sally Shure, chair of the club's Book Committee, presents a donation of gardening and horticultural related books to Steve Norman, director of the Belfast Free Library.
On behalf of the Belfast Garden Club, Sally Shure, chair of the club's Book Committee, presents a donation of gardening and horticultural related books to Steve Norman, director of the Belfast Free Library.

In 2016, the Belfast Garden Club donated the following new garden and horticulture books to the Belfast Free Library. The books were purchased with funds raised at the Green Thumb Plant Sale held in May.

Adult Books
Adams, George.  2013.  Gardening for the Birds:  How to Create a Bird-friendly Backyard.  Portland OR, Timber Press.  444pp.
Baldwin, Debra Lee.  2013.  Succulents Simplified:  Growing, Designing, and Crafting with 100 Easy-care Varieties.  Portland OR, Timber Press.  272pp.
Darke, Rick and Doug Tallamy.  2014.  The Living Landscape:  Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home Garden.  Portland OR. Timber Press. 392 pp.
Gracie, Carol.  2012.  Spring Wildflowers of the Northeast:  A Natural History. Princeton Univ. Press.  272pp.
Keys, Andrew and Kerry Michaels.  2015.  Growing the Northeast Garden.  Portland OR, Timber Press.
McDowell, Marta.  2016.  All the Presidents'Gardens:  Madison's Cabbages to Kennedy's Roses--How the White House Grounds have grown with America.  Portland OR Timberpress.  336 pp.
Soule, Deb.  2013.  How to Move Like a Gardner:  Planting and Preparing Medicines from Plants.  Steiner Books. 256pp.
William, Thomas R.  2015. The Art of Gardening:  Design, Inspiration, and Innovative Planting Techniques from Chanticleer.  Timber Press.  Portland OR. 338pp.

Books for Children
Aalto, Catherine. 2015.  The Natural World of Winnie the Pooh.  Timberpress. 308 pp.
Worth, Bernie & Aristedes Ruiz.  2001. O Say Can You Seed?  All About Flowering Plants.  

The library displays the new books for public perusal before placing them on the shelves for circulation.

The Belfast Garden Club fosters the acquisition of knowledge of gardening and protection of native flora and fauna. The club has promoted civic beautification since 1929. The club welcomes new members and volunteers year round and extends a warm welcome to all.

The Belfast Garden Club has awarded its two annual scholarships to Meagan McKeon of Searsport and Alicia Gaiero of Belfast. Each will receive $1,000.

Meagan McKeon
Meagan McKeon

McKeon graduated at the top of her class from Searsport District High School. This fall, she’ll begin her freshman year at University of New Hampshire, studying environmental conservation and sustainability. She hopes to have a dual major in International Affairs to better prepare herself for a more interconnected world.

“All of the Earth’s systems are connected, so in order to solve the major environmental issues facing Maine and surrounding areas, people need to think on a global scale,” she said.

In high school, McKeon participated in soccer, track and field, sailing, theater, hosting an exchange student, being a student ambassador, robotics, student council, Class President, National Honors Society, Maine National Honor Society public relations officer, Dirigo Girls State, the Barbara Bush Foundation Teen Trendsetter’s Program, and her school mentoring program. She also received awards for Student of the Quarter and Student of the Year and graduated summa cum laude.

Alicia Gaiero
Alicia Gaiero

Gaiero graduated from Belfast Area High School and will be attending the University of Maine in the fall majoring in sustainable agriculture.

She was on the honor roll all four years of high school, where she was a member and captain of varsity field hockey and the outdoor track and field team. She was a member of the National Honor Society and the National Art Honor Society.

She was a three-year class officer serving as fundraising chair for her class and the former treasurer of the student-run nonprofit Liberian Education Fund.

Her interest in agriculture was sparked by early gardening with her parents, and being a member of the Ecology Academy at Troy Howard Middle School. In high school, she did research projects on GMOs and interviewed local farmers, including an owner of the largest cow farm in Maine.

“By earning an education in the agricultural field I hope I may learn sustainable farming practices that will protect and provide for the welfare of humans, animals and work towards environmental preservation,” she said.

The Belfast Garden Club provides two scholarships each year to Waldo County students going into earth-friendly fields. It raises money through its annual Green Thumb Plant Sale and its Open Garden Days, which are held Fridays from June to mid-August.

(left to right):
Troy Howard May 27, 2016 005

Back - Westley Dyer, Maury Hepner (Garden Club member and community volunteer), Corliss Davis (Garden Club President), David Wessels (Troy Howard Garden Coordinator)

Front - Gracie Coombs (with Hoohah the bunny), Haley Wood, Kaydee Pearse, Mason Paul, Eiyah Jackson, and Alex Gerrish.

On Thursday, May 27 the Belfast Garden Club was delighted to present a check for $500 to David Wessels for the "Get Growing!" program at Troy Howard Middle School. The check will be used for scholarships to support 15-20 summer student interns. Mostly 6th to 8th graders, they will work from June 20 to July 28.

There is a new way to enjoy "Our Town Belfast." Have you heard about the Belfast in-town nature trail? Co-sponsored by the Belfast Garden Club, members of the Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition mapped out and created the five mile walking trail. To download a copy of the trail map and guide, go to www.belfastbaywatershed.org and click on Learn More About Us, then Belfast In-Town Nature Trail Map and Guide.