Belfast Garden Club’s Open Garden Days Series features the garden and studio of Jerri Finch and John Holmes, 33 Battery Road, Belfast on Friday, July 22, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This painterly garden awards the visitor rich variation in texture of foliage and blooms with layering of native and locally supplied plants and shrubs, against the grand slate-blue canvas of Penobscot Bay.

Beach-stone paths amble through tall ferns, past found objects sculpture, and beneath towering oak and ash trees, which provide a leafy respite from the hot summer sun. Wagon wheels as stakes for Solomon seal provide structure for growing plants, and visual interest before plants have grown.

Impressive stonewalled islands of color host cranes neck geranium, stella dora lilies, and climbing hydrangea. A short walk up to the pastures finds Mischief Mary and Jumjpin’ Johnny scarecrows guarding a fruit and vegetable patch of raspberry, asparagus and squash.

Although it is clear that the garden is an extension of her formal artwork, painter Jerri Finch keeps this friendly cascading garden casual.

“In the studio my work is serious, but in the garden not so much,” she said with a smile. “I don’t want to be confined by garden rules.”

As such her kitchen garden abounds with tomatoes fruiting next to flowering cosmos and herbs growing beneath rich purple clematis. Plants are mulched with seaweed from the beach at the foot of the garden. Swaths of diverse greenery vary from shiny and round, to pointed and feathery, dotted with flashes of color.

Ocean views are intersected with the straight silver trunks of white birch creating “snapshots” across the landscape. Garden art includes; zen stone piles, large steel sphere sculptures by David McLaughlin, as well as a Forest Hart sea otter and an architectural 16-foot tall wooden trellis created by Finch of wood scraps and clothes drying racks.

The Finch/Holmes Open Garden Day will mark the start of a six-day viewing of Jerri Finch and friend/teacher, Kerstin Engman’s new oils in a show titled, “Split Compliment: an exhibition of paintings in a garden setting”. Paintings will be set on easels throughout the garden and will fill three galleries on the property.

The new works, which Finch describes as “The Maine landscape reflected in the mirror of color theory,” include views and ideas from the artists’ everyday experience from ocean wakes to farmhouse tables. Both well-known and collected artists artists will be on hand to greet visitors beyond Friday’s Belfast Garden Club’s Open Garden.

Vistors are also welcome on Saturday and Sunday, July 23 and 24 and the following weekend on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, July 29, 30 and 31 from 11 a.m to 5 p.m. each day.

Directions: Take Route 1 south from center of Belfast, turn opposite Aubuchon Hardware onto Battery Road. Turn right at fork, park on either side of Finch/Holmes driveway at 33 Battery Road being careful not to block neighbors. Watch for signs. The garden and art exhibit are handicap accessible.

Tickets for Belfast Garden Club’s Open Garden Days 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 10-4 Fridays, through August 26, 2011, rain-or-shine.

BGC Open Garden Days next garden will be July 29 at the Bennett & Whyte Gardens 29 & 37 Bridge Street, Belfast. Connected by a shady path developed in 2008 when the two friendly neighbors cut some trees to allow easier visiting, the two small gardens seem like one.

The Whyte property was inherited from a grandmother and some garden beds of perennials are more than 60 years old; the Bennett garden was newly developed when the residence was redesigned as condos. Expect to see blooming day lily beds, coreopsis, Echinacea, Russian sage and cat mint and a row boat dry-docked in the garden. Gardens are on a gradual slope above the inner harbor with some water views.

For more information about Belfast Garden Club’s Open Garden Days; Diane Allmayer-Beck at 948-2815 at 338-3105, belfastgardenclub@gmail.com, or visit belfastgardenclub.org. For information about Jerri Finch and Kerstin Engman’s “Split Compliment”, 338-1060.