The lush, welcoming garden of Martha Block will be open to the public Friday, June 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. as part of Belfast Garden Club’s Open Garden Days. The garden was created for private spaces and planted to be attractive as a songbird habitat featuring layers of conifer and deciduous trees, flowering shrubs and bushes, perennials and herbs.

Although the garden is situated on an in-town lot, with close neighbors on either side, visiting the Block garden gives the viewer more of a feeling of living in the countryside, or at the edge of a quiet glen. “There is a wildness to my garden,” Martha says, with a smile. It is not prim and fussy, little nooks and intimate spaces under trees and large shrubs create a cozy, relaxed atmosphere.

Martha Block moved to the property 15 years ago from Bucksport. “When we arrived, there were only a few trees and plantings, it was very bare,” she remembers, pointing at a photo of a boxy lawn with wide-open views of the neighbors’ homes. Martha, who had brought lots of cuttings and plants with her from her former home, began to “create spaces” in her new garden.

She started by adding structure, putting in larger shrubs and trees first and layering with shorter under-plantings of various shapes, sizes, and colors below. Three features were important: for the garden to be interesting in all seasons, welcoming to bird life and rich in scent.

As visitors come up the drive they are welcomed by a sunny gathering of peonies, day lilies, and lupine. One hardly sees the Block’s beautiful home, which although not necessarily hidden, is tucked away behind a friendly and loose hedge of Rhododendron, Thornless Hawthorn, Beauty Bush (Kolkwitzia), and the white and pink bells of several prolifically blooming Enkianthus.

The dooryard garden is crowned with a stunning display rich pink flowered Weigela. A hearty pale pink climbing New Dawn Rose, Martha’s mother’s favorite, adorns the entrance to the house.

The once plain and barren backyard is now ringed with tall cherry, Magnolia and plum trees, many varieties of azaleas, thornless roses, quince, and old-fashioned pale pink Mountain laurel. The birds really enjoy Arnold Red Honeysuckle and winterberry.

Rhodedendrons of all colors and shapes bloom from spring though early summer including the beautiful brown rusty underleaves of early flowering bureavii, and pale pink frilly edged Janet Blair. Siberian iris, poppies, lupine, Monkshood, pink geranium, and dark red Astilbe add color to lower layers of this living tapestry. Several tall Heritage birch provide shade in summer, and standout beauty in winter with fascinating pink, brown and silver peeling bark.

Visitors who walk into the dappled sunlight under the canopy of the grand Norway maple at the heart of the garden are treated to a peaceful cathedral of green opening up all around. A circular shaped patio has been created in the shadow of this grand tree using reclaimed bricks and is covered with a carpet of moss.

A solarium-like potting shed made of recycled windows provides workspace and interesting architecture. Conifer arborvitaes and thuja break views to the rear of the property and low lying shade perennials such as ferns, feathery Cimicifuga, Lady’s Mantle, and pretty seven-petalled Starflowers complete this relaxing garden.

A bucket of cuttings from a favorite easy-to-grow pale yellow Forsythia, a transplant from Martha’s Bucksport garden, will be offered to visitors during the Open Garden Day.

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 sixth 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 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays, through August 26.

The next tour in the series takes place Friday, June 24 at the gardens at Searsport Shores Campground, 206 W. Main Street, Searsport. Forty acres to explore including a 550-foot-long sea wall walkway beside a long flower and herb garden.

See flowerbeds placed between campsites, poison ivy-eating goats, woodland trails, a potato tower, a “river of hostas,” gourds in trees and floating gardens built on boggy soil. Concurrent botanical-themed quilt show in barn and twig sculptures by Susan Perrine on display.

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