The 21st annual Garden Walk, sponsored by the Hospital Aid of Waldo County General Hospital, will be held Friday, July 8, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., rain or shine. Tickets are $13 in advance and $15 the day of the walk. All proceeds benefit the hospital.

This year’s walk goes across the river to East Belfast, Searsport and Stockton Springs, with visits to eight gardens. The gardens can be visited in any order. Aid members volunteer in each garden and refreshments are served. A map is included with the ticket for this self-guided tour.

The Kennedy garden is an extensive lot on the banks of the Passagassawakeag River in East Belfast that has been growing for the past eight years. Perennials, vegetables, raspberries and fruit trees surround the house. Fields of wildflowers such as lupines and Canada lilies run down towards the water dotted with bluebird houses.

Attendees will want to wear practical shoes as they wander down the mowed paths to the water’s edge, where the owners enjoy a bonfire. Rustic seating is available, so plan to enjoy a relaxing moment or bring a lunch to eat in this pleasant spot.

The tour continues on a high knoll off Route 1 in Searsport, where the Rose and Alling gardens are located. Visitors to the Rose garden will admire the extensive rockwork and shrubs on a steep slope at the driveway entrance. Surrounding the house are planted trees, shrubs, native plants, perennials, Maine fieldstone walkways and Japanese Zen gardens with raked gravel and Asian plantings.

At the Alling garden, visitors will be able to enjoy flower beds, a vegetable garden, meditative sculptures and a view of Penobscot Bay from the back deck where lemonade and cookies will be served.

In downtown Searsport, three small neighborhood gardens are within walking distance of each other. The Sweigert garden has large clematis and euonymus plants climbing trellises to entice people to a breezeway sitting area. The backyard is a low-maintenance ‘octogenarian’ garden, according to the owner, with gravel paths and woodbine on the fence.

Up the street, the Shopmeyer garden has low rock walls, perennials and potted plants in the front yard. Around the corner, the Williams garden uses rustic touches of wooden fences and round boulders to surround flower beds and a small pond.

The next garden is in Stockton Springs. In the Clain garden, visitors may walk around the house through perennial beds, past a smoke bush and copper cat sculpture to the backyard with its gazebo and shade gardens. This winter, a large cedar tree fell down and the owners used the chippings as an aromatic ground cover for a seating area.

The Woodward garden is a large country perennial garden worth the drive to the Stockton Springs/Prospect border. The owners have been developing the gardens that circle the house for the past 10 years, including a rock garden on a sloping bank. Across the road is a vegetable garden and views of the nearby hills.

The gardens are filled with creative groupings of found objects such as a bicycle, chair, door, whetstone, watering cans and a scarecrow. Places to explore include a charming tool shed in the side yard as well as an antique playhouse from the owners’ childhood in the backyard. The owners’ daughter has made a miniature garden in a wagon.

Tickets for the garden walk are $13 in advance at Brambles, Mr. Paperback and the Hospital Gift Shop in Belfast and at the Left Bank bookshop in Searsport. On the day of the tour, tickets will be $15 and can be purchased at the businesses listed above or at any of the gardens.

Plan to join the hospital volunteers for this affordable family event, which is the Aid’s largest fundraiser of the year. For further information, call Wilma Moses at 338-2785 or Sandy Gordon at 930-6739 or email: sgordon@wchi.com.