Mix of sun, shade and whimsy at Frees’ Garden, July 20 with Belfast Garden Club Open Garden Days

Posted July 13, 2012, at 9:06 p.m.
Last modified July 13, 2012, at 10:04 p.m.
LewLou | BDN
LewLou | BDN
LewLou | BDN
LewLou | BDN

Friday, July 20, 2012 10 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Location: Frees' Garden, 425 Muzzy Ridge Road, Searsmont, ME

For more information: Diane Allmayer-Beck; 207 338-3105; belfastgardenclub.org

Belfast Garden Club’s Open Garden Days series travels to Peg Frees’ Garden, 425 Muzzy Ridge Road, Searsmont, Friday July 20 from 10am to 4pm. Tickets can be purchased at the garden for $4 or $15 for a 5 garden ticket. Proceeds benefit Belfast Garden Club’s civic beautification projects.

A decade in the making the Frees garden features elegant arrangements of perennials and edibles combined with frequent touches of humor, and sculptural items. Everywhere you look is an intriguing spot to explore. A ring of gardens harboring ferns, grasses, and summer flowers such as dahlias and lilies are nestled along the edges of the woods, home to a colony of colorful birdhouses. A stone walkway climbs through a cheerful hillside garden of favorites such as astilbe and geranium creating a pleasant visual break under a tall shade tree, in the center of a broad green lawn.

“I’m a collector of fun things,” Frees says. Her collections within the house have begun to merge with the plants outside. It would be an excellent location for a scavenger hunt; clusters of items such as ceramic and metal figures, fireplace irons, sculptural pots, and fencepost toppers are carefully placed, peeking from behind plants and resting on rocks throughout the landscape. See if you can find her collection of Barbie Dolls, planned to be sunning themselves on the day of the tour. Frees’ rock collection, saved from travels over the years, spill from pots in their own flowerbed which is ringed with a fieldstone wall. The rock theme has been extended to include a garden of rock towers, which creatively solve the “what-to-plant-over-the-leech-field” problem.

A winding woodland path through the forest ends at a secret garden cut out of the woods on a deer trail. The dappled light is ideal for native ferns and grasses, low-bush blueberries, and many shade loving hostas. Peg Frees’ garden includes a collection of at least 30 varieties, which can be seen throughout the garden. “People who don’t know hostas and only see them planted in a straight line up driveways don’t understand what there is to love about them” she explains. Her selection includes plants with colors ranging from dark grey to pale green, and spotted, single colored or variegated leaves. Leaf shapes include round and short to long and narrow with textures ranging from smooth to grooved. Their size is also highly individual, Frees’ garden includes the large broad-leafed “Sum and Substance” in the Secret Garden and the tiny “Blue Mouse Ear” in a driveway miniature hosta garden bed.

The exploration continues with a Japanese-inspired garden overlooking a large vegetable plot which features raised beds, high bush blueberries and a cutting garden. A hot house of tomatoes and peppers, and a lovely garden shed (built by Peg’s husband) are backed by her wild Darwinian Garden, where cast offs from other areas and wildflowers are allowed to grow as they will. “It is survival of the fittest here,” Peg smiles watching Black-Eyed Susan and poppies jostle in the breeze. The Frees’ garden is a full garden with lots of variety, worth a visit on July 20!

Directions: From Belfast’s downtown take Main St./Rte 3 west. Turn left on Rte 131 south staying on the road on the right side of the fork. Continue on Route 131 south, before Village turn left on Moody Mountain Road, and then a quick left on Muzzy Ridge Rd. Drive about 2.5 miles up Muzzy Ridge; house is on right (not visible from road). Watch for yellow Open Garden arrows as you get close. There is a limited amount of parking by the house. If walking is not an issue please park alongside the road and walk up, leaving the close-by parking for those who need it.

Belfast Garden Club’s next Open Garden Day is Friday July 27 at Greg Larson’s garden surrounding the Tuva Bakery in Lincolnville. A four season landscaped mature woodland garden with a Japanese influence, multiple specimen ornamental trees, shrubs, a rock garden, sauna, wildflower meadow, and pond with water lilies and totem pole.

For 7 consecutive years, Belfast Garden Club has presented Open Garden

Days, a garden tour series, this year will featuring 13 gardens in the Belfast area. From backyard experimental plantings and ornate Master Gardens, to plant nurseries and vegetable plots visitors can expect to see brilliant blooms, unique and rare plants, sculpture, exquisite views and even an outdoor pizza oven. One garden will be open to the public each Friday, 10am-4pm, through August 24th plus the first Fridays of September and October.

For more information about Belfast Garden Club’s Open Garden Days call

Diane Allmayer-Beck at 338-3105, email belfastgardenclub@gmail.com, or visit www.belfastgardenclub.org .