Open Garden Days

Triple treat of riverside gems awaits visitors Aug. 4

Jul 30, 2017
Dr. Jan Gorton’s property at 41 Robbins Road, Belfast, with this stone walkway, softened by masses of thyme, is the first stop on the Aug. 4 Open Garden Days tour.

A triple treat of garden gems tucked onto the east bank of the Passagassawakeag River awaits visitors at the next stop in Belfast Garden Club’s Open Garden Days 2017. Three properties at 41, 44 and 52 Robbins Road will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Aug. 4. The gardens will be open rain or shine.

By adding structure and color, these neighbors have created animated gardens that look onto peaceful water views. Each garden is a testament to how to conquer gardening on a hillside.

Dr. Jan Gorton’s property at 41 Robbins Road contains stone walkways, softened by masses of thyme that meander up and along a backyard hill. Terraced slopes contain varieties of heather in the sun, and myriad hostas and lilies in the shade of a large oak tree. Along a white wooden fence, a river birch, blue spruce and other small trees are tucked in by flowering shrubs. Since she moved onto the property, Jan has dug up her own Christmas trees, put them on the porch with twinkling lights, and then replanted them.

Across the street, at 44 Robbins Road, Dennis and Chris Urick have turned their sunny cottage garden into a riot of color and whimsy. Chris’s packed flowerbeds surround a potting shed and pergola built by Dennis. Colorful pots of annuals and decorative touches abound, from a carved totem to a wooden angel hanging on the garden gate. The side yard contains a vegetable garden full of Maine standards, from chard to onions to kale. There are lots of spots to sit and relax on the Urick property, and Chris invites visitors to bring a sandwich or a sketchpad.

Farther down the street, at 52 Robbins Road, Sandy Evans and Carson Pease have turned their postage-stamp-sized yard into a perfectly put-together puzzle of stonework underlying playful plantings. Jared Grant, a certified professional dry stone waller and owner of Shangri-la Stoneworks in Belfast, laid out an inviting courtyard and strong steps down the hilly side of the house. An unwanted privet hedge that once lined the front yard has been pruned into animals not found in nature: a turkey-dragon and an elephant-fish. The steep back yard, home to two young peach trees, looks onto a sweeping view of the Passy. The rail trail on the other side of the river means that the view will stay tree-filled.

To get to Robbins Road, cross the Passy bridge on Route 1 heading north, immediately turn left at the blinking light, then take your first left onto Robbins Road. Stay left at the fork. The ticket table will be set up at 41 Robbins Road. A donation of $5 is requested. Funds go toward the club’s civic beautification programs, scholarships for local youth, and other endeavors. For more information, visit or call club member Marje Stickler at 338-5059.







Potting shed in Dennis and Chris Urick's garden at 44 Robbins Road, Belfast, open to visitors Aug. 4.
Entryway at Evans and Pease garden, 52 Robbins Road, Belfast, open for viewing Aug. 4.
Another view of the Uricks' gardens at 44 Robbins Road.
Playful head-shaped planter is surrounded by lilies in Evans and Pease garden at 52 Robbins Road, Belfast.
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