From the Alps to the Tropics

On June 28, 2008, the Hawai`i Ocean View Estates (HOVE), or known by many of us here as “The View,” started another garden club. Years ago, Ocean View had a garden club, but gradually people got busy with other things. We meet at 1:00 pm on the fourth Saturday of each month. On alternating months, we plan to visit home gardens. The August 23 meeting was hosted by Carole Baker and her daughter, Heather.

“Wow!” is the only word I have for what they’ve done with their two acres. Carole’s space is full of color, critters, and imagination.

The welcome sign above greets visitors pulling into the driveway. The first clue about the fun you have in store are several dozen birdhouses. Here is just a sampling of this incredible village for birds.

At the entry is a pond that Carole calls her “mosquito control.” The guppies and algae eaters help to take care of the mosquito larvae, and the moving water gives a soothing sound as you stroll through their entry. There is a beautiful stand of horsetail reed.

The ground is covered with gravel for ease of walking around, and a creative path is our guide into the backyard area.

Many of Carole’s plants were “I don’t know” plants, the kind many of us acquire. In our desire to have something – anything – growing, we take cuttings that friends give us, stick them in the ground and hope they grow.

So, rather than worry about the names of many of her plants, I focused on the creative critters and yard sculptures. Here are a few of my favorites.

I brought home some of the seeds of this lovely lilac shade of cosmos. I love all her cats. She ordered them from online, but they were all black, so she painted them in bright seductive colors.

Scattered around the yard are more critters.

Lady bugs are a welcome addition to any garden.

Garden sculptures add to the three dimensional effect and add interest to the plants.

The back fence helps to define the space, and it provides a wall for more garden art.

At one end of this fence, Carole has transitioned to a chicken wire fence covered with plants, which effectively hides her water tank.

Even the shed has a bit of whimsy.

Hazel and Charles, recent arrivals to “The View,” admire the mistletoe vine.

Velvet and I each took a cutting from this, but no one seems sure what it is. (Note: Heather sent me an email and said it is a “dauphine violet.”)

Oh, yes! There are plants as well as sculptures and critters in this garden space. There is a thick jade vine growing up over an arch.

A typical piece of fantasy is this artificial flower with a full yellow bougainvillea.

There are little patches of Johnny Jump-ups scattered about.

Carole’s husband was enamored with bonsai, which I also learned how to make in Japan. I’m inspired to start again.

I am impressed with this miniaturization of an enormous spreading banyan tree into bonsai.

After an hour of cruising around Carole’s garden, the garden club members gather before heading home with bags of seeds and cuttings.

I thought this secluded swing in the shade was a good idea, a perfect place to relax after a day’s work in the yard.

There is no doubt we were all welcome to this fantasyland.

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