The textural Whitlock garden will be open for visitors Friday, June 10 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. as part of Belfast Garden Club’s Open Garden Days.

The garden, at 110 Union Street in Belfast, features a spacious, sloping green area encircled by many intimate gardens highlighting evergreens, shrubs and bushes, perennial favorites, delicate ground covers, stone paths, garden benches and a relaxing reading nook under flowering trees.

The Whitlocks moved to the property when retiring to Belfast 20 years ago and soon began working with the trees and plantings that were already on the property. Today, they have expanded the gardens to include a rock garden, a patio, and beds that completely encircle a central green.

Mrs. Whitlock describes it as an “Informal garden,” designed with open space in the center to support play of her eight grandchildren, paths for walking, and surrounding beds enclosing the yard, adding privacy at this in-town double lot, while defining borders, and creating a coziness to the grounds which was previously lacking.

“The house is small,” she said. “Before, it felt as if it were a rocket plunked into a big field.“ Now the home feels just right, nestled amongst garden delights, with ocean breezes and something lovely to admire from each window of the house.

Contrast and texture are a big focus of the Whitlock garden. Varying heights, shapes, colors and patterns of foliage and flowers make up a sophisticated patchwork unified by repetition of groundcovers such as Iris cristata, a delightful miniature iris with beautiful sleek green foliage, the tall buoyant Solomon’s Seal used here as a hedging, and brilliant Nova Zembla rhododendron, whose bursts of red flowers connect the eye from one section of the garden to another. Evergreens, white birch, and dogwood add height as well as year round beauty.

Visitors can also expect to find much interest in late spring/early summer blooms: Heuchera, Korean Barberry, and deiutzia make up some of the unique offerings in the outer beds. Within the central rock garden enjoy drifts of Dianthis, Sedum, gentian, Creeping Phlox and Geranium. A major highlight at the Whitlock garden will be the pendulous clusters of white flowers embellished with a pink stripe on the only known Enkianthus bush (“Showy Lantern”) in Belfast.

Many plants are of great personal importance to the Whitlocks. Creeping ivy from a close friend and Hosta plants transplanted from family are two examples. Another is a special shrub, Daydawn Potentilla, which blooms with a cheerful yellow flower. It is a variety her father, a horticulturist specializing in shrubs that do well in sea air climates, introduced back in her native Newcastle, Ireland (not far from Belfast).

“I suppose is not surprising that I should take a great interest in trees and shrubs as a result of growing up in that household,” she said, with a laugh.

Look for several magnificent climbers marking the edge of the garden at the house, Clemetis alpina boasts early, small, dark-blue flowers, a lacey white Hydrangea and akebia featuring lush green leaves and dangling mauve flowers with purple and maroon stamen. Many birds and butterflies could also be on display; the Whitlocks have spotted more than they’ve ever seen in their garden this spring.

Directions to the Whitlock Garden: From center of town, take High Street to left on Allyn Street to right on Union. Once you get close, follow the yellow Garden Tour arrows. The garden is handicap accessible.

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 2011 Garden Tour will benefit the Club’s civic beautification projects.

The 6th annual Belfast Garden Club Open Garden Days, features 13 gardens in the Belfast area (Belfast, Belmont, Searsport, Searsmont, Bayside and Northport). One garden per week will be open to the public from Fridays, June 3 through Aug. 26, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m..

The next tour in the series takes place Friday, June 17 at Block Garden, 16 Church Street in Belfast. A city garden created for private spaces and planted to be attractive as a songbird habitat includes a pink thornless rose bush, yellow rhododendron, winterberry, honeysuckle, forsythia, lilac, mock orange bushes, and cherry, magnolia and plum trees.

An under-planting of ferns, yellow and pink miniature azalias, white weigela and heliobores provides density. A small potting shed made from recycled windows with a stone floor for carefree watering is tucked in the rear for starting annuals, and there is an herb garden outside the kitchen door.

For more information, call Diane Allmayer-Beck at 338-3105, Martha Laitin at 948-2815, or visit belfastgardenclub.org.