Open Garden Days visits the grounds of the historic Orlando Frost House
Belfast Garden Club’s Open Garden Days series visits the grounds of the historic Orlando Frost House, 8 Northport Avenue, Belfast on Friday, June 22. The garden will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will include an open studio where art works by hosts Michael Pierce and Bonnie Tracey will be on display and for sale.
Amiable, retired arts-based teachers, Michael Pierce and Bonnie Tracey, bought their home four years ago. They fell in love with the property partly because they were impressed with the craftsmanship of the grand 107 year old Victorian, the beauty of the grounds it's perched on, and also the community they found themselves wanting to be a part of here in Belfast. The purchase of the house has lead the couple on an amazing journey tracing the history of the home, its people, and their lives in the Belfast area. The home was built in 1905 by Belfast entrepreneur, shipbuilder and politician Orlando Frost. A shipbuilder’s attention to materials, detail, and quality were clearly at play when building the grand Victorian, which has withstood the test of time with grace and splendor. The house and garden sit on a spacious in-town lot, on what was once the site of a baseball diamond, Allyn Field.
Today the exquisitely maintained home is enhanced by lovely garden beds, which cheerfully spray from beneath shade trees on a gentle slope.
The gardens were inherited by Pierce and Tracey with the purchase of the house, and have been added to and managed carefully with the help of experienced gardeners over the last few years. This year Bonnie, who does not claim to be an expert gardener, is enjoying working in the garden herself, maintaining and adding new plants as she goes. “The people who planted this garden had an eye for it,” she admires. A beautiful palate of color blooms successively from May to September. This time of year ribbons of purple iris, marigolds and bachelor buttons, weave in and out of a gorgeous green backdrop.
“One of my favorite parts of the garden is watching the different shades and textures of the foliage in the garden,” Bonnie points out, “The contrasting leaves, colors and shapes are so fun to see develop and change throughout the year.”
Other highlights ready to bloom this summer include roses, foxgloves, hollyhocks and lilies, set comfortably as an understory for trellised climbers, mature evergreens and broad-leafed trees. A small vegetable garden, new plantings along the walkway at the entrance of the house, a granite wall along the drive, and a new “bird-condo” built by Michael finish the enjoyable array.
On the day of the tour garden seating will offer a chance to stop and enjoy the views as you stroll the rock pathways. The Carriage house will be open showing Michael Pierce’s found object animal sculptures and a detailed half-hull model in progress, as well as paintings by Bonnie Tracey including her “Toast” series.
Directions to the Pierce/Tracey garden, 8 Northport Avenue, Belfast:
South on High Street, past the blinking yellow light where High Street becomes Northport Avenue. Look for the tri-colored Victorian on the left, the second house past the blinking light. Look for the yellow arrows once you get close. Park on the street. Wheelchair accessable.
The next BGC Open Garden Day will be Friday, June 29 at the Kivel Garden in Brooks. A vibrant perennial garden in the English border style cuts a slash across a slope of ledge in colors reminiscent of Monet’s garden, rock garden, paths, raised vegetable beds and dwarf fruit trees.
Tickets can be purchased at each garden on the day of the tour for a donation of $4 for one garden, or $15 for a five-visit ticket. Proceeds from the 2012 Open Garden Days benefit the Club’s civic beautification projects.
For more information about Belfast Garden Club’s Open Garden Days call Diane Allmayer-Beck at 338-3105, email email@example.com, or visit www.belfastgardenclub.org.