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Brooks Garden Featured in Belfast Garden Club Series

August 2, 2013 @ 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Photo courtesy of the Belfast Garden Club | White Veronica contrasts with Platycodone in the Kivel Garden

Photo courtesy of the Belfast Garden Club | White Veronica contrasts with Platycodone in the Kivel Garden

Special gardens in Waldo County will be highlighted each Friday through Aug. 23, 2013, as part of  Belfast Garden Club’s Open Garden Days Series.

The Kivel Garden at 44 McTaggert Street in Brooks will be open Friday, August 2, from 10 am to 4 pm.

The cost is $4. Proceeds will benefit the Belfast Garden Club’s civic beautification projects.

Mary and Rich Kivel started their garden project with the purchase of a tractor over 10 summers ago when they moved to the property. The land surrounding the home was devoid of landscaping and had been the site of a chicken farm. The couple quickly enriched their new home with color and life by establishing a framework of trees and shrubs, crabapples and evergreens to break up the bland landscape and cozy up the house.

Today stunning red Balcon Geraniums drape from window boxes and charming pots of annuals soften edges throughout the now-brimming garden. The hillside facing the Kivel home has been transformed into a vibrant painterly landscape. A perennial garden in the English border style cuts a colorful slash across a slope of ledge. Oriental lilies, rudbeckia, phlox, lady’s mantle, leatrice, Echinacea and yarrow show in brilliant blooms. A rock garden path offers a study in texture, creeping thyme, and succulents scrawl across exposed ledge steps leading the visitors to the top of the hill to sunflowers and raised beds of vegetables, as well as apple, pear, and cherry trees and a classically charming tool shed. A creative “scare” ( half a scarecrow) planter made from a pair of jeans is a whimsical touch.

The garden features two new beds this year. The first is a swath of day lilies of all colors, many set to bloom during the Open Gardens, adjacent to the still-young rose garden many came to see last year. Roses, some of Mary’s favorites, bloom much of the summer. Blue-starred platycodone contrasts marvelously with pointy white veronica in this garden bed. “That was an accident, as are most things in my garden,” Mary laughs. Throughout the garden birdhouses peek from corners and posts, and their housemates are abundant.

The second new bed Rich calls “Plum Island”, a cluster of young plum trees have recently been planted to help with erosion on the slope to a relaxed pond (complete with paddle boat). Nearby Marsh Stream and the Kivels’ pond are an attraction for many animals, birds and amphibians. The pond trail hosts a ring of native plantings, a great excuse for an interesting short walk. Sculpture and many conveniently placed benches and sitting areas call for reflection in the peaceful surroundings.

The Kivels have created a welcoming retreat for animal and human friends alike. They welcome Open Garden Day visitors to bring a blanket and a picnic and enjoy the views. Mary and Rich will provide lemonade and cookies. The garden is handicap accessible.

Directions to the Kivel garden, 44 McTaggert Street, Brooks: Rts 7/137 (Waldo Ave. across from Camden National Bank, Belfast). Follow Rte 7 (watch for right turn as it leaves Rte 137). Note that Rte 7 will soon make a sharp left turn. Drive approximately 11 mile to just before the railroad tracks (before Brooks Center). Turn left onto Reynolds Rd, then immediate right onto McTaggert Street. Last house on the right. Look for Garden Club arrows as you get close.

The next BGC Open Garden Day will be Friday, August 9th at Seacroft Garden, 87 Bayside Road, Northport. Edible garden in place of lawn, raised beds, solar food dryer, movable chicken manure composter, perennials and a butterfly garden.

For 8 consecutive years, Belfast Garden Club has presented Open Garden Days, a Friday garden tour series, which will feature 11 gardens in the Belfast area this year. From backyard experimental plantings and ornate Master Gardens, to cooperative gardens and vegetable plots visitors can expect to see brilliant blooms, unique and rare plants, sculpture, exquisite views and ponds. Several gardens will feature special presentations by the gardeners, and at least two will have farm stands to peruse! While many of this year’s gardens are new to the tour, several of past years’ favorites are returning to Open Garden Days so that viewers will be able to see what changes have taken place! Proceeds from the 2013 Open Garden Days will benefit the Club’s civic beautification projects.

For more information about Belfast Garden Club’s Open Garden Days call
Diane Allmayer-Beck at 338-3105, email, or


August 2, 2013
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
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44 McTaggert Street
Brooks, ME United States
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Belfast Garden Club