Open Garden Days

See masses of roses at in-town home June 23

Jun 19, 2017
Roses and clematis in the Hayes garden, open for viewing June 23 as part of Belfast Garden Club's Open Garden Days.

Belfast — Trim and tidy formal gardens at an in-town historical house are next in Belfast Garden Club’s Open Garden Days 2017. You’re invited to stroll the Belfast property of Art and Sara Hayes at 35 Church St. in Belfast from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, June 23.

The grounds feature thick tumbles of roses, including David Austin and William Baffin varieties, and long, orderly beds containing large and varied hostas. Colorful clematis blooms on the arbor leading into the shady back yard and on the trellis adorning the stone patio.

The stately Greek revival house was built in 1846 by W. T. Colburn, whose name still graces the nation’s oldest shoe store on nearby Main Street. His daughter, Charlotte, took a liking to Art Hayes when he was a lad, living next door in the parsonage while his father was minister at First Church from 1937to '47. With no family of her own (the Civil War did away with Belfast’s eligible bachelors), she left the house to Art’s parents so it would eventually go to Art.

The Hayeses came home from Connecticut to Maine after Art’s career in computer systems design and programming with IBM, Pratt & Whitney, Litton Industries, and others, while Sara concentrated on office administration in corporate and university settings.

As part of the renovations before moving into the house in 2005, they added a conservatory. Job one for professional gardener Steve Moody (a University of Maine horticulture graduate) was creating a plan “to make the conservatory look like it was always here.”

The solution was to terrace the bank next to the house. A gracefully curving retaining wall runs alongside the house and wraps around the glass room. Moody and the Hayes chose a plethora of flowering perennials to put in the raised bed, as well as a weeping cherry, wine and roses weigela, a Chinese fringe tree, and other flowering shrubs. At one corner of the conservatory, evergreen shrubs soften the sharp angles. On the other side, a dwarf green lilac fills the corner.

Heirloom white lilacs were moved away from the house for safety when the Hayeses added French drains to the foundation, and then put back in place. They still haven’t grown to their original height, when you could cut fragrant blossoms from the second-floor windows, Art said.

The back yard contains a Kousa Satomi dogwood expected to be in pinkish bloom on tour day. Have a seat on the stone bench next to the back fence, which is hidden by arborvitae, fothergilla, New Hampshire gold forsythia and Northern Lights azalea. It’s a perfect place to view the handsome, old red-brick house.

The flat terrain and manicured lawn make for easy walking. The garden will be open rain or shine. A $5 donation is requested. For more information, visit or call club member Marje Stickler at 338-5059.




A view of the conservatory and gardens at the Hayes home in Belfast, featured as the June 23 Open Garden Days tour.
A front view of the Hayes house.
Roses in the Hayes garden in Belfast.
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