Margie Spencer-Smith has been gardening since she was shorter than a spade. Today, more than 60 years later, she tends her beds at 76 Hunt Road, the first garden in the Belfast Garden Club’s 2015 Open Garden Days Friday, June 19.

“At the age of two, I tried to get the adult spade into the ground,” Spencer-Smith says. “That was in Barry, Wales, in the United Kingdom.”

She learned how to garden at her architect father’s side. The first plot she remembers as clearly as her own was at their London home, when she was 8.

Since then, she’s lived abroad and in the States, first in Brooklyn, New York, then Tenants Harbor, and finally Belfast, where she moved 25 years ago.

Spencer-Smith’s yard is enclosed by a fence of natural poles and wire, to keep her Aussie shepherd mix in and the deer out. Near the front gate sits an enormous horse chestnut that spills its blossoms onto the stone walkway leading past a thicket of lilac bushes and up to her small, open-plan cottage.

Her varied ornamental beds include one that stars a weeping crab apple surrounded by purple-blue iris, bachelor button and early phlox. “I try to use themes of color rather than mixing them all together,” she says, noting that she was inspired by the mono-color gardens at Sissinghurst in England.

In a corner of the yard, a Russian kiwi grows over a high arbor, with foliage so thick by late May that it creates a shady hiding place tall enough to stand in. Smith has to climb a ladder to trim the plant every three weeks during the growing season. Choosing such a high arbor is one of her few I’d-do-it-differently-next-time choices. Fortunately, harvesting and enjoying the sweet, fur-less fruit does ease some of that pain, she points out.

Blueberry bushes and others dot the lawn. Showy pink-and-white tree peonies and later peony varieties border the vegetable garden. Entrance to that garden is through an arbor where roses and clematis creep up either side.

The vegetable garden is planted with the usual suspects — corn, squash, kale, Jerusalem artichokes and other favorites. But she also lets the lamb’s quarter take root (which she harvests along with violet leaves, and tosses into salads) and has a bed of cultivated sorrel, which a friend of hers makes into a decadent soup featuring loads of butter and cream.

Outside the yard fence lie two small fields, home to fruit trees and a birdhouse where bluebirds have nested. The level meadows feature a mowed pathway where visitors can stroll. Off in one field is a compost heap where she dumps larger organic debris. She keeps it uncovered on one side, and shovels fine, finished compost from the covered side.

Spencer-Smith invites visitors to bring a bagged lunch and enjoy it on the deck overlooking the vegetable garden. If the day is cool enough, she plans to light a fire in what one of her friends calls “the biggest fire pit in Waldo County.”

To get to the garden, take Lincolnville Avenue to Route 52. Travel about a mile and take a sharp right onto Back Belmont Road in front of the convenience store. After another mile or so, turn left on Hunt Road. Half a mile up is number 76 on the left. Park on the right.

The garden will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine. The Belfast Garden Club requests a $5 entry fee, which funds two scholarships the club awards each year. You can buy a strip of eight tickets for $30 at any of the gardens in the Open Garden Days series, or at Left Bank Books in Belfast. For more information, visit or call Martha Laitin at 323-2368.