Magnificient ‘water element’ helps Randels win honors
The front yard of Carolee and Larry Randel's home at 232 Elm Street has a variety of attractive flowers. Soon to be celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary, the Randels have lived on this corner most of their married life.
A southwest look with cactus, yucca, a stone bench, azaleas, a cast-iron bird house hanging from a shepherd's hook, a large elm tree, a young purple plum tree, live-for-ever, rose moss and a large planter of petunias, in pink, purple and burgundy with gold lantana, make a colorful entry along their drive-way.
A path of stepping stones leads us around the side deck where there are numerous pots of flowers filled with such plants as lantana, Mexican heather, a Hawaiian plant, hibiscus and a Mandeville. Along the side of the yard is a white fence with two fairy roses and ornamental grasses including zebra grass. As the fence continues around the yard as a property line there are plantings of red roses and the pink rose, Nearly Wild.
This area is pretty by itself, but continuing on down the path leads us to an area where there is a tear drop shaped water garden nestled in the back corner of the property. A large old maple tree shades the entry area with wind chimes hanging from its branches. There is a high fence on the east side and north side for privacy and a lower fence on the west and south with a gate so the beauty of the area can be enjoyed from the house and the streets.
The size of the pool is 17 ft. x 20 ft. x 30 inches deep. The natural fieldstone that creates this pool had been a retaining wall for years in their yard. Larry moved the stone, rolling the bigger ones, to make the outline of the pool. A roofed springhouse contains the filter system. The four-foot waterfall begins to descend into the pool from the springhouse. The bank is covered with a wide variety of sedums, creeping phlox, and water celery. A weeping Japanese maple is planted on the back hillside near the top of this area.
The pool has approximately 150 fish including orf and goldfish. Most of them are beautiful as they flash around in the water except for one buggy-eyed creature that adds a lot of character. There is water lettuce, water hyacinths, water cannas that bloom yellow, cattails, a lotus with pink buds ready to bloom, arrowhead, variegated water grass and water iris. These plants, except for the hyacinths which are floaters, are in pots buried in the water. Lights and a fogger system create a mystical beauty in the evening. A spitting frog, two frogs blowing a bubble, an alligator, owl and a big plastic snake add to the fun (decorative art, not real of course!). The snake has kept a visiting crane from eating the fish.
Around the pool are walking paths lined with round rocks. When grandchildren visit they have each painted a rock with a special design to go along the path. A 5-year-old niece calls the five-globed streetlight "the Sesame Street" light because it resembles the one on the children's television show, Sesame Street. On one side of the pool is a patio area with an umbrella, table and chairs. The opposite side has several pool side chairs with tables made from slabs of tiered rocks. A potting bench doubles as a potting area or a serving table for refreshments.
The paths lead to more flowerbeds. One area towards the back has a dragonfly water mister. There is statuary, interesting pieces of iron work such as an old glory flag, bird and butterfly houses throughout the gardens. A miniature wheelbarrow is painted with birdhouses and filled with scaevola and vinca. A sprinkler can sits on the back of the wheelbarrow. A small bench holds a charming statuary of a girl with a bouquet of flowers in her hand. There are pots of flowers along the walk contain mixtures of lantana, coleus, light and dark licorice plants, and New Guinea impatiens. In another clay pot there is a caladium plant. A small urn is artfully lying down on its side in the mulch. A pot of bright red hibiscus is beginning to bloom.
There are several large containers of geraniums near the waterfall and along the paths. An iron frog is filled with impatiens and a vine is planted in an old fashioned sculpture of a rabbit. There is a duck by Earthly Creators, a concrete basket with a handle and stepping-stones that say My Secret Place with a key and door lock that add charm to the walking paths. The various flowerbeds have lamb's ear, gay feather, Russian sage, light lavender Butterfly pentas, Pink Waving Stems, sweet potato vine, Spider Wort, spirea bushes, hosta, balloon flower, bee balm, coreopsis, (single and double) Key of Heaven, sage, variegated Wineigale, a scarlet Corcosmic, variegated lantana, Rudbeckia, iris, day lilies and phlox.
Placed along the garden paths and among the flowers are two angels, a sundial, lanterns, torches, tin fish, a little barefoot girl, two water birds of wood and tin, a large concrete swan of ivy, stepping stones that resemble tree ring stumps, a boy and girl fisherman and an iron works dragon fly. These decorative pieces add beauty to this enchanting water pool. Family and friends have given Carolee many of the additions to their pool for Christmas, birthdays and other occasions. Pine bark mulch, and small stones give a tidy look to the planting and walk ways. This type of mulch also seems to allow the rain to reach the plants and yet keep away the harshest sunrays from their roots.
Beware! This garden area is not for the lazy gardener. The upkeep of this pool area is a continual job, but Larry has added a drip system to help with the watering of the many planting areas and containers. Carolee finds it relaxing to work in her flower and pool area after being at work. They both enjoy entertaining friends and family in this unique setting. Its festive setting is reason enough for a party or simply a place to relax at the end of the day.
Gardening quote from a stepping stone along the path by the Randel's water garden:
"Bloom where God plants you."