BELFAST—The spacious and whimsical bayside gardens of Kayleen and Brad Penniman are a testament to their family’s gardening heritage as well as to the work of their own hands.

Tour the Pennimans’ gardens at 120 Upper Bluff Road in Northport on Friday, Aug. 26, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine. Their gardens

The garden patio at the Penniman home, featured in the final Open Garden Days tour Aug. 26. Courtesy of Kayleen and Brad Pennimen

conclude the Belfast Garden Club’s 2022 Open Garden Days, a nine-week celebration of some of the area’s most scenic and creative gardens. Admission is $5.

Kayleen, a recently retired Belfast elementary school teacher, and Brad, the ​retired Lincolnville postmaster, built ​their ​home​ on Upper Bluff Road in 200​1. ​They planned their landscaping around the contours of the yard, keeping some areas in front and back as natural fields. But after building the house, their budget was tight.

“My mother as well as my sister-in-law helped with the plant supply,” Kayleen said. “There are creeping roses, irises and lilacs from Glastonbury, Connecticut, where I am from, and ivy from St. Louis, where Brad grew up.”

Roses proliferate in this section of the Pennimans’ garden in Northport.

​Hostas, hydrangeasp and groundcovers were also donated by family. Over time, the Pennimans added Cat-O’-Nine-Tails, Jack-in-the-Pulpits, dahlias as well as lupine and other wildflowers. ​

After more than 20 years of digging and planting, the Pennimans have an inviting outdoor space ready for their new life as retirees. Paths meander through a highbush blueberry patch, a vegetable garden and several flower beds. There is​ a small frog pond, where ​trees and bushes bring shade and color during the late summer.

“I love my hostas and my weeping birch tree as well as the fog and cool breezes off the bay,” Kayleen said.

More than 1,100 people attended Open Garden Days through Aug. 5. Proceeds help fund the garden club’s school programs, camp scholarships, library donations, and Belfast’s public gardens. For information about upcoming public programs, visit

filed under: