Pure Summer in the Pickford Garden with Belfast Garden Club Open Garden Days

By Annadeene K. Fowler | Jul 02, 2012
A unique shingled garden house invite visitors to slow down.

Belfast Garden Club’s Open Garden Days series travels Friday, July 6, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to the Pickford Garden, 132 Goosepecker Ridge Road, Freedom.

Annie and Bill’s oft-used wedding and ceremony site includes old-fashioned perennial cut flower gardens, container-garden, vegetable garden and lovely garden house. Hand built stone walls surrounds the extensive property with stunning panoramic views (including Freedom windmills). Bring a picnic to enjoy on the lawn! Tickets are $4, and purchased at the garden.

Tall evergreens and birch sway in the breeze as visitors enter the Pickford driveway, catching a sneak preview of the outcroppings of vibrant perennials and annuals, which meander through this beautiful hilltop garden. Quintessential New England split-rail fencing and hand-built stone walls encircle the property, creating structure and defining garden areas. The spacious lawn that the garden now fills was once full of trees and scrub brush, similar to the dense forest that still stands beyond the barn and edges of the property.

“We began clearing in the mid 80s,” Annie Pickford recalls, “as we made space for the house.”

Today waves of garden beds sprout from the planted lawn, and encircle the impressive Cape Bill has built here.

“Most gardens started at the site of an old stump, or an exposed rock” Annie explains.

Plants have come from friends and relatives who were moving or dividing their perennials. Each garden seems to be a little vignette of its own. Collections of potted plants, rustic bird-houses, seating areas and a unique shingled garden house invite visitors to slow down and savor the details.

The couple enjoys a relaxed method of gardening, which fits their lifestyle and personalities. This method allows for intermingling of plants, and the addition or removal of garden beds as desired. A testament to doing what works for you rather than the “right way,” the garden looks completely natural and planned, as beds connect effortlessly in a cascade of hot summer blooms.

Part of the success of the garden is the Pickford’s ability to let beds change as either the plants or the Pickford’s needs change. One spot that had been one of the original gardens has been in the way of a newly favored shady resting area beneath a buzzing honey locust tree. New grass is now growing in its place. “It’s gone,” Annie says without remorse as she points to the area where she and her grandson can now sit and watch nesting birds nearby. Annie has a new bed in mind for an open space beyond the garden house. She allows that most of their home time is spent outdoors in the garden and with that in mind, “it might be planted in time for the garden tour!”

Summer flowers likely to be seen in the Pickford garden include: phlox, daylilies, hollyhock, hydrangea, foxglove, indigo, coneflower and a glorious climbing hydrangea.

Directions to Pickford Garden, 132 Goosepecker Ridge Road, Freedom. Take Route 7/137 Waldo Avenue (across from Camden National Bank). Follow Route 137 west to the Route 220 intersection at Knox Corner. Go left at the Hilltop Store. At the bottom of the hill go straight ahead on Halldale Road for 2 miles. Make a sharp right on Penny Road at the bottom of the hill; continue to end. The property is in front of you. Turn left on Goosepecker Ridge Road and turn in at no. 132.

Belfast Garden Club skips Friday, July 13, so that we can all attend the Hospital Aid of Waldo County General Hospital Garden Tour. Join Belfast Garden Club Open Garden Days on July 20, when Peg Frees opens her garden in Searsmont.

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