Open Garden Days

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.