Visitors to the Belfast Garden Club’s August 14th Open Garden will be treated to a beautiful landscape of brick-bordered perennial beds and mature trees and shrubs, as well as live music. The garden is located at 16 Church Street in Belfast and will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine. Brothers Willy and Clayton Clemetson will perform on fiddle and accordion, respectively, from 10 a.m. to noon. Admission is $5 (checks or exact change is appreciated); additional donations to support the Garden Club are also welcome. To protect Open Garden visitors, volunteers, and homeowners during the current COVID situation, everyone is asked to wear face masks and to maintain appropriate physical distancing. Hand sanitizer and masks will be available for those who cannot bring their own.

Among the attractions at 16 Church Street that stood out to Anne-Marie Nolin and Bob Adler as they were house hunting in 2014 were the perennial gardens created by the previous owner, Martha Block. Martha is a Belfast Garden Club member and one of the originators of the Open Garden Days tour. Over the past six years, Anne-Marie and Bob have maintained the original garden structure while adding color and texture throughout. They also enlarged some of the beds and installed brick and stone borders, paths, and a patio. Anne-Marie notes that she collaborates with multi-talented Willy Clemetson on design decisions, and that he created all the brick and stone work in the gardens.

Now, successive blooms of tulips, peonies, lupines, and delphinium greet passersby earlier in the season. Nearer the house, beds feature established lilacs, Annabelle hydrangeas, pieris, hawthorn, and rhododendrons, complemented by Joe Pye weed, milkweed, catmint, ferns, hosta, Solomon’s seal, daylilies, and more. Small garden sculptures peek out from greenery, and well-placed benches and Adirondack chairs invite visitors to sit.

The Belfast Garden Club has promoted public gardens and stimulated the knowledge and love of gardening for more than 90 years. Proceeds from fundraising support local public gardens and several scholarship funds.

View two gardens in Brooks at the Belfast Garden Club’s August 21st Open Gardens Day. Jeanne and Art Shea’s garden at 44 McTaggert Street is a peaceful retreat on 5.7 acres. Ray and Nancy Quimby live on a farm at 21 Quimby Road, where they grow flowers and vegetables. Please visit the Shea’s garden first, where $5 admission will be collected to cover both gardens (checks or exact change is appreciated); additional donations to support the Garden Club are also welcome. The gardens will be open from 10 am to 4 pm, rain or shine. To protect Open Garden visitors, volunteers, and homeowners during the current COVID situation, everyone is asked to wear face masks and to maintain appropriate physical distancing. Hand sanitizer and masks will be available for those who cannot bring their own.

The Sheas bought their property in 2016 from Mary Kivel, whose gardens had been included on previous tours. Jeanne began revitalizing the extensive beds and making them her own—a true labor of love. They include a large hillside garden, a rose garden, daylily beds, hosta beds, and shade gardens. The property also features a birch grove and woodland paths, and visitors are invited to walk on the path around the pond and down to Marsh Stream. The path passes by “Sarah’s tube greenhouse,” which overflows with lush organic vegetables and snapdragons. Sarah, the Sheas’ tenant, introduced them to this new way of growing organic vegetables and extending Maine’s short growing season.

The Quimby’s farmstead has been in Ray’s family since his grandfather bought the property in 1890. Ray and Nancy do most of the work themselves, although family members are nearby when extra hands are required. There are four gardens to explore: the north garden, orchard garden, corn garden, and sawmill garden. The real excitement in the Quimby’s flower gardens are numerous varieties of dahlias. Nancy favors plants that hold meaning for her; her first dahlia tubers were from her grandmother. She often has music playing in the potting shed, which the birds enjoy singing to most days. Despite the work, it’s obvious the Quimbys care deeply for the environment that enriches their lives.

The Belfast Garden Club has promoted public gardens and stimulated the knowledge and love of gardening for more than 90 years. Proceeds from fundraising support local public gardens and several scholarship funds.

 These gifts were collected in response to the Giving Tree sponsored by the Garden Club and supported by the Belfast Library staff. Thanks to the  kindness and generosity of the Belfast community, we were able to provide boots, shoes, coats, clothing, and toys to nineteen children from eight families in need living in Waldo County.  The caring and thoughtful response from the community was truly heartwarming.

Sixteen Garden Club members led by Seanna Annis, a mycologist on the University of Maine faculty, saw considerable diversity of fungi on the Little River Trail. Seanna noted that the scarcity of fungi in recent dry years was not the case this year.  The Little River Trail was alive with three species of deadly Amanita, coral fungi, Lactarius with milky sap, Russola, Boletus and many other fungi. 

Another open garden season has come to a close. A big thank you to all the wonderful gardeners who welcomed us into their gardens to share their much loved creations. Visitors come from all over to visit the gardens and is something we look forward to all winter long. But winter is the time to dream and plan our vegetable and flower gardens for the coming spring. The cycle never ends and it's all good.

In 2019 the following books will be donated by the Belfast Garden Club to the Belfast Free Library. 

Adult Books

The Natural History of English Gardening: 1650-1800. Laird, M. 2015. 

A Way to Garden. Roach, M. 2019  

Flower Color Guide. Putnam, D. and M.  2018

Sprout Lands: Tending the Endless Gift of Trees.  Logan, W. B. 2019.  

A Tapestry Garden: The Art of Weaving Plants & Place. O'Byrne, M. & E.  2018.  

Dirt to Soil:  One Family's Journey into Regenerative Agriculture. Brown, B.  2018  

The Humane Gardener: Nurturing a Backyard Habitat for Wildlife. Lawson, N. 2017  

The Magical World of Moss Gardening. Martin, A.  2015  

The Garden Planner. Walker, J. 2000

Gardening Books for Children or Gardening with Children

We are the Gardeners. Gaines, J. & Kids. 2019 

Nature Play at Home: Creating Outdoor Spaces that Connect Children with the Natural World.  Striniste, N. 2019 

Deep Roots. Tate, Nikki. 2016 

Mason Meets a Mason Bee. Pape, Dawn. 2015