The Mills family garden. Courtesy of the Belfast Garden Club

BELFAST – The Belfast Garden Club’s seasonal celebration of area gardens continues Friday, July 22, with two distinctly creative and different neighboring gardens near downtown Belfast.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine, the public may visit the house-framing perennial gardens of Carl and Claudia Mills at 37 Franklin Street and the rock-rimmed beds of Walt and Lianne Harris at 9 James St. Admission to both is $5. They are among the 10 private gardens the club is showcasing this summer during its Open Garden Days Fridays through Aug. 26.

Begin the tour at the Mills’ home and then walk just three minutes to the Harris property, where lemonade and cookies will be offered on a large outdoor patio crafted from Maine granite.

The Mills gardens at Franklin and Charles streets skirt the couple’s 1898 Dutch Colonial home on dramatic slopes. The beds feature a variety of irises, lilies and hostas, among other perennials, as well as boulders chosen for both interest and the job of holding the hill during rainstorms.

Selections provide for blooms in phases throughout the summer. “I like being outside and being in the garden, and so the whole thing excites me,” says Carl Mills, a retired pharmacist from Virginia.

On James Street, the Harrises – who retired to Belfast in 2014 after more than 40 years in Orono – redesigned the front entrance of their home for both livability and curb appeal. Large pieces of granite from an old home foundation were repurposed as patio benches and raised flower beds currently planted with annuals, wisteria, yellow roses and clematis.

Three ground-level perennial gardens “are continually in process,” says Lianne Harris. A garden muse sculpted by the late Belfast artist Ron Cowan whimsically surveys the Harris yard.

For details and the complete Open Garden Days schedule, visit