BELFAST — When Jeff and Monica Van Peski fell in love with an historic 1873 house on scenic Bayview Street in Belfast, they found it had challenges beyond the usual renovation, literally a failing foundation.
The fix for this problem, however, created an unexpected opportunity for the couple to build the garden of their dreams. The public is invited to view the Van Peskis’ meticulously planned in- town sanctuary Saturday, Aug. 12, as part of the Belfast Garden Club’s summer event series, Open Garden Days.
Visitors may tour the Van Peski garden at 9 Bayview Street in Belfast from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine. Admission is $5, helping support the club’s public service projects throughout the year. It is the eighth of nine private gardens the club is showcasing on Saturdays through Aug. 19.
Highlights of the garden, started in 2021, include water features, rock paths, stone terraces, flowers for butterflies and hummingbirds, and pollinator plants for birds and bees.
“Specific areas in the garden cater to specific clientele,” says Jeff Van Peski, a carpenter and builder who moved to Belfast in 1989. “The aim of the landscaping was, as much as possible, to make the garden a haven for nature,”
During a three-year renovation, the Van Peskis moved the house 38 feet onto a new foundation, in the process opening up the southeast side of the lot for a large garden area. The hardscaping came mostly from Maine quarries. A pond, which circulates and filters from the pond to an additional water feature near seating, provides a focal point in the garden.
“One of the primary features of this garden is that it contains many rooms and seating areas,” Van Peski says, “each with their own flavor that can be enjoyed depending on your mood and desires.”
The Van Peskis seed the garden each year with wildflowers. They have planted the tops of the front walls with spirea, catmint, astilbe and thyme. Himalayan birch and paperbark maple trees were sensitively installed so as not to block the views of the couple’s uphill neighbors.
For more on the Open Garden Days schedule, visit belfastgardenclub.org. Proceeds support the garden club’s school programs, camp scholarships, library donations, and Belfast’s public gardens.