NORTHPORT — The Belfast Garden Club kicks off its 2021 Open Garden Day season Friday, June 25, at the Bayside summer home of Martha and Sid Block from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Two separate side-by-side oceanfront cottages located at 14 and 16 Bay St. in the historic Bayside village offer sweeping views of the bay and the rocky shoreline. The tour also includes the interior of the 16 Bay St. cottage. Visitors are invited to bring a bag lunch to eat on the back deck, with iced tea and water provided, and enjoy a relaxing moment by the sea.

Carpooling is suggested as parking is limited on Bay Street. There is no parking in front of 14 and 16 Bay St. except to drop off or pick up passengers, and no parking at all in front of other waterside cottages on the street. Limited parking is available on the opposite side of Bay Street, as well as at nearby Ruggles Park by the public wharf.

A $5 donation is requested to help sustain club operations, including annual scholarships, with any additional support welcomed.

The small cottage gardens, which share steps to the bay, were created 15 years apart on hillsides overlooking the water. Faced with a steep drop-off to the shore, the Blocks designed a unique terraced garden using Blue Rug Juniper to help hold the soil and prevent erosion. White geraniums visually

separate sections of green. The street-facing garden is shady by comparison, with big blue hostas lining a side path interspersed with lavender, peonies and backed by an old-fashioned climbing rose covering the cottage wall.

Martha Block said she likes to plant her garden for scent, color and structure. When the couple bought the 16 Bay St. cottage in the 1980s, one of the first plants she started with was a lilac bush. In 2010, the couple purchased the 14 Bay St. cottage and built the current garden three years ago. The garden features a curved stone walk leading to the deck stairs, flanked by peonies, hostas, geraniums, and recently planted irises.

The Blocks, who are originally from New York, moved to the Orrington area in the 1970s. “The first few years we’d take rides, and one day we took that left by the Bayside Store…,” Martha said. “We were intrigued.” They eventually moved to Belfast and later to Northport to be closer to their cottage. “We used to make fun of people who have summer camps five minutes away,” she said. Living so close to their summer cottage now, Martha said, enables her to have gardens in both spots. Her cottage gardens she describes as “a little bit of heaven.”

Proceeds from Open Garden Days support the Belfast Garden Club’s work in the community. The club plants and maintains 10 public gardens, supports an innovative gardening program at Troy Howard Middle School, and provides scholarships for children’s summer camp experiences.