February 24, 2018
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Two tiered perennial garden on Belfast tour

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The Belfast Garden Club invites the public to visit the colorful perennial flower garden of Hester and Bill Abbuhl, 50 Shore Road, Northport. The garden will be open on Friday, August 20th from 10am-4pm as part of the club’s Open Garden Days.

The home is a recently renovated historic Cape dating to 1690, flanked at the street by stately 300-year-old maple trees. Part of the renovation of the house and grounds included a complete disruption of the back and side yards when great improvements were made to the drainage around the house and former garage-turned-guest-cottage.  The back yard had been completely overrun by Japanese knotweed or “Bamboo” when they began, but now has been transformed into a glorious stone patio and blooming perennial garden. 

The garden has been created in memory of Hester’s grandmother, Edna “Do” Wales. “Do” was a flower lover, and had roughly 4 acres of cultivated perennial flower gardens growing at her 40-acre property adjacent to the Abbuhl’s current home. As a child, Hester visited her grandmother and the gardens in Saturday Cove every summer.

Designed to bloom from spring -starting with daffodils, tulips and early flowering bushes- to October’s purple blooms of monkshood and with the interest of evergreens and stonework throughout the winter, the Abbuhl garden is a year round delight.  It begins along the driveway with a green border of large lilac bushes, an apple tree and an understory of wide-leafed hostas.  A colorful raised swath of perennials such as daylilies, roses, and phlox contained by a classical stonewall wraps gracefully around the guest cottage at the head of the driveway. Climbing hydrangea decorate each side of the door of the fully renovated garage, which now includes a full bath, comfortable amenities, and views of the bay.

In the back yard all of the knotweed has been cleared away, and in its place a lovely climbing woodbine towers up the telephone pole near a border of Rosa rugosa. Paths of flat fieldstone lead from a welcoming stone patio, to a magnificent two-tiered stone terraced garden. Colors and blooms abound. Now in their stride are late-summer highlights including white, magenta and red phlox, purple, white and yellow coneflower, black-eyed Susan, Shasta daisy, the whimsical puffs of 3 varieties of hydrangea, red astilbe and roses. Lovely non-blooming touches such as creeping groundcovers, evergreens, and the foliage of climbing vines and shrubs fill in and are a lovely backdrop to their more showy companions. The garden has enjoyed an abundance of growth since it was begun 5 years ago and has a mature and formal feel, while still maintaining a relaxing and playful ambiance. Visitors are encouraged to sit and enjoy the view from garden chairs on the patio, and the stone bench at the center of this cheerful garden.

Directions to 50 Shore Road, Northport: Leaving Belfast drive south on US Rt.1; turn left on Saturday Cove Road in Northport (just before Wentworth’s Grocery). At first stop sign turn right (Shore Road) and the house is immediately on the left.  Once you get close, follow the yellow Open Garden arrows.  

Tickets can be purchased at each garden on the day of the tour for a donation of $4. Proceeds from the 2010 Open Garden Days will benefit the Belfast Garden Club’s civic beautification projects.

The 5th annual Belfast Garden Club Open Garden Days continue with two more gardens this season.  August 27th at the Biebel Garden, 242 Fisher Road, Monroe visitors will see a large organic experimental and eclectic vegetable and flower garden created lasagna-style from packing cartons, cow manure & grass clippings never needing to be plowed or rototilled.  The final Open Garden will be Friday, September 10 at the Troy Howard Middle School garden, 173 Lincolnville Ave., Belfast. Over 100 varieties of vegetables and beautiful flowers flourish in 1 acre+ of gardens designed and grown by middle school students for wholesale & retail; see greenhouses, outdoor pizza oven, dome trellises for squash and cucumbers, farm stand and enjoy student-led tours.

For more information call: Diane Allmayer-Beck at 338-3105 or Martha Laitin at 948-2815, or visit www.belfastgardenclub.org for the full schedule.