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Show #10/2710. Two Beautiful Gardens In Key West

Summary of Show

History Of Key West
Tom Hambright is the MONROE COUNTY HISTORIAN. Tom joined the Navy in 1960 and was lucky enough to be stationed in Key West later in the 60's. He spent 21 years in the Navy and after retiring came back to Key West to live and got the job of Monroe County Historian at the Key West Library. The Key West motto is "One human family." Key West in many ways is not a typical Florida town. It's home to many artists and writers and that may have something to do with its rich history. Key West was founded in 1822 when the Navy established the anti-pirate squadron. That era was followed by the ship salvaging industry, ships would get stuck on reefs and people would salvage those ships.
For More Information Click here

Pat's Design Philosophy
Before they start the tour Eric asks Pat to provide a little INSIGHT INTO HIS LANDSCAPE PHILOSOPHY, how does he approach a site? Of course, the needs of the homeowner are paramount. The structure of the house comes into play, the site is important. He finds how the owners want to use the property. Pat does like great drama at the entrance, when people arrive, something that sort of takes their breath away.
For More Information Click here

1ST Home

Outdoor Room
They move to the next area. To Pat the garden is an extension of the home, an extension of the living space. In this area Pat has brought the lush tropical feel right to the edge of the OUTSIDE ROOM. One can sit here and look out onto nature. It provides an amazing connection of home and plants. He calls this the morning garden, the morning lounge.
For More Information Click here

Palms As Focal Points
Pat has used large PALMS AS FOCAL POINTS throughout the garden. They lead ones eye to different corners and each corner has its own interesting sense of design. In this garden its all about the massive trees. And, each tree is a little different. They're all palms but all different. They have some unusual specimens here.
For More Information Click here

Color And Texture
This is not a monochromatic garden there are splashes of reds and yellows throughout. Pat's gardens are different, a garden to him is almost like a tossed salad and his salads are all about COLOR AND TEXTURE. He's used crotons and variegated gingers. In the back of a garden he used massive crotons to provide a big splash of color. He's also used old Chicago brick. He didn't lay them in a straight line, rather always curved paths. It's a very tranquil garden but also a very lively garden.
For More Information Click here

Public Space
The next area is more of a public place, thus more about WALKWAYS, about views to the horizon. But he still likes to use color, particularly on the perimeter which makes it an especially intimate area. The Chenille plant is effective, crotons, hibiscus and some trees have been used as living sculptures.
For More Information Click here

Home Is Hidden By Plants
Eric likes the fact that the HOME IS LARGELY HIDDEN BY PLANTS, there is a screened sense of intimacy around the home. Pat uses the plants and trees as his little bit of icing on the cake, so to speak. The paths curve in and out providing a sort of whimsical feel. This curving forces the visitor to slow down, consider what has been planted, thus enjoy the plants. Pat has always enjoyed creating spaces with paths less traveled.
For More Information Click here

Huge Space An Intimate Garden Room
The next area is one of the more spectacular outdoor living spaces Eric has seen. This garden is different, compared to the others. Here he tried to make a huge space into a more of an INTIMATE GARDEN ROOM. But to do that he had to work with some different elements - the beautiful skyline, massive trees, they had to create a pool. So Pat made a lagoon pool. One can't really tell how deep it is. Then again he utilized fluid lines around the pool to go with the architecture of the pavilion.
For More Information Click here

2nd Home

An Historic Home
The next home is completely different from the previous home. It's AN HISTORIC HOME and was built in the 1918's for the base commander of the Naval fleet. All commanders since that time have lived here, Presidents have stayed here, many influential people that came through Key West lived or stayed in this home. And, it's a beautiful home with beautiful landscaping.
For More Information Click here

Design Philosophy
Eric notices some similarities to the previous home, Pat has used some of the same plants. Again, Pat used mass plantings, he used color, texture, he has used large columns of palms as architecture and they show off the entrance to the house. All of these were very important to his DESIGN PHILOSOPHY. The palms certainly frame the house and show off the architecture of the home. And, the plantings are beautiful. Pat receives many compliments from people not only looking at the house but from those looking out of the house.
For More Information Click here

Formal Garden With Playful Aspects
Although this is a more FORMAL GARDEN IT HAS PLAYFUL ASPECTS. There is a tremendous range of plant diversity. Pat talks about some of the plants he's used. In the front section he mixed it up a little. The beautiful frangipani looks half dead right now but in a month's time it will have beautiful flowers. The Royal Palms look like gigantic grey telephone poles but then the eye comes down to the crinum lilies, the bromeliads, the beautiful purple bush and the little banana which is delicious.
For More Information Click here

Utilizing Light In The Garden
Eric likes THE ROLE LIGHT PLAYS IN THE GARDEN, the way Pat has strategically placed the larger plants to allow little beams of light to sneak through and highlight specific plantings. The chartreuse bromeliad is almost iridescent, the way it glows. The light hits the silverbacks of the palms and looks stunning.
For More Information Click here

Hardscape
HARDSCAPE PLAYS A FAIRLY PROMINENT ROLE in this design. The property owners frequently entertain a large number of people at any one time, thus he made the patio the staging area so it could accommodate one or two hundred people very comfortably. This patio is not just a square patio, one often sees, rather it has curving lines. It has a natural sense and fits into the landscape in a way that's not intrusive, yet accommodates the needs of the homeowner. The patio is not flat rather it kind of rolls with the terrain. Key West is on a pancake, it is flat as a board but does have undulation. This area has a very nice feel, almost like you're in a woodland area.
For More Information Click here

The Back Of The House
The guys go around THE BACK OF THE HOUSE and the view is incredible. There is an ocean liner docked not far away as well as a large Naval destroyer. There can't be many homes in the world with a view like this. Here the winding pathways have dappled shade but it opens up to a very bright, lively area. Again Pat listened to the owners requests. They wanted an open spot, clear views with lots of light coming into the home.
For More Information Click here

LINKS:

Key West

Compass Realty

Plant List


10/2710. Two Beautiful Gardens In Key West

Transcript of Show

Key West, made famous by Ernest Hemingway and Jimmy Buffet, is known for its nightlife but it also has wonderful historic homes and some amazing gardens. In this Episode GardenSMART visits 2 beautiful homes with stunning gardens.

Tom Hambright is the MONROE COUNTY HISTORIAN. Tom joined the Navy in 1960 and was lucky enough to be stationed in Key West later in the 60's. He spent 21 years in the Navy and after retiring came back to Key West to live and got the job of Monroe County Historian at the Key West Library. The Key West motto is "One human family." Key West in many ways is not a typical Florida town. It's home to many artists and writers and that may have something to do with its rich history. Key West was founded in 1822 when the Navy established the anti-pirate squadron. That era was followed by the ship salvaging industry, ships would get stuck on reefs and people would salvage those ships. That was an industry that was very lucrative and lasted until the 1850's. During the Civil War Key West was unique, the only southern city that remained in the Union throughout the civil war. After the war they had their first influx of Cubans and they brought with them the hand-rolled cigar industry which lasted until the early part of the 1900's. Flagler built the railroad all the way down to Key West and that was a major significance and improvement in that it connected the Keys to the mainland, the first time they had been accessible by anything other than ship. Flagler's idea was that the U.S. was going to trade with Cuba which had come under American influence. And, at that time the Panama Canal was being built and he felt it would be an important hub. Key West today has a very diverse population of people from Eastern Europe, Cuba, the islands, Central America and refugees from the frozen north. It is largely a tourist economy and retains one of the largest collections of 18th and 19th century houses with gardens. Many houses have gardens in the front yard. Eric is looking forward to checking out the gardens, thus thanks Tom and is on his way.

Pat Tierney is a Key West landscape designer and the man responsible for many beautiful gardens on the island. Pat tells us about himself. He was born and raised in Miami and at a young age his father said - "That's it -- no more allowance." So, he was sort of born with a shovel in his hand. So starting at the age of 12 he had jobs around the neighborhood mowing grass and taking care of plants. Ever since then he's enjoyed gardening. After college he spent 18 years in Miami starting and running a landscape business. Someone asked him to come to Key West to do a job, maybe a week job. While here he met an individual that said, "I just bought a house, come over, I could use some ideas." He went over and it turned out to be the largest, most historic home in Key West. The person asked Pat "What can you do with my yard?" Pat, inquired "How much money do you have?" The man threw out a figure, Pat thought it was hundreds but instead was thousands and his Key West career was started from that garden. There have been many gardens over the 20 years. It hasn't been all wine and roses, it's been a lot of work, but Pat has really enjoyed Key West. He always tells people he's been here 20 short years.
Top

Pat has a lot to show so off we go. The first home is hidden. When approaching the garden all you see is the wall and a few palms sticking over the top of the wall. But when walking inside the gates, it is fantastic. Before they start the tour Eric asks Pat to provide a little INSIGHT INTO HIS LANDSCAPE PHILOSOPHY, how does he approach a site? Of course, the needs of the homeowner are paramount. The structure of the house comes into play, the site is important. He finds how the owners want to use the property. Pat does like great drama at the entrance, when people arrive, something that sort of takes their breath away. He also likes to use some sort of natural stone pathway, this is oolitic limestone with Mexican beach pebbles and sets the tone for this entire garden. In Key West they have postage stamp lots. So with these little lots Pat tries to create garden rooms, the room we're visiting is surrounded with beautiful nature and lushness. When entering the garden rooms he wants one to feel intimate. Pat always begins with a piece of paper, draws the entire project, all the perimeters, where the house sits, then starts filling in all the large material. He places larger plant material on the perimeter, then steps down - large, medium and small. He's created a wonderful sense of texture and the palms provide a nice dappled shade. It's a luxurious but very cozy feeling. Pat feels happy when smothered in foliage.
Top

They move to the next area. To Pat the garden is an extension of the home, an extension of the living space. In this area Pat has brought the lush tropical feel right to the edge of the OUTSIDE ROOM. One can sit here and look out onto nature. It provides an amazing connection of home and plants. He calls this the morning garden, the morning lounge. One can sit here and feel one with nature, you feel awake, the leaves are moving, the light is hitting the gingers and heliconias. It's fresh, natural yet a very intentional part of the design. Every room is different.
Top

Pat has used large PALMS AS FOCAL POINTS throughout the garden. They lead ones eye to different corners and each corner has its own interesting sense of design. In this garden its all about the massive trees. And, each tree is a little different. They're all palms but all different. They have some unusual specimens here. One is a very rare tree, a native of Cuba called Old Man Palm. It grows well here which is understandable because Cuba is almost the same latitude and only 90 miles away. So a lot of Cuban palms do well here.
Top

This is not a monochromatic garden there are splashes of reds and yellows throughout. Pat's gardens are different, a garden to him is almost like a tossed salad and his salads are all about COLOR AND TEXTURE. He's used crotons and variegated gingers. In the back of a garden he used massive crotons to provide a big splash of color. He's also used old Chicago brick. He didn't lay them in a straight line, rather always curved paths. It's a very tranquil garden but also a very lively garden. There is always something leading the eye throughout every bit of the design. It's an intricate garden with literally thousands of points of interest. This is an ambitious design.
Top

The next area is more of a public place, thus more about WALKWAYS, about views to the horizon. But he still likes to use color, particularly on the perimeter which makes it an especially intimate area. The Chenille plant is effective, crotons, hibiscus and some trees have been used as living sculptures. The triangle palm and the grasses and the foundation blocks all add to the feel. Since it's a public space it's nice and wide. This area showplaces a cascade of his favorite plants.
Top

Eric likes the fact that the HOME IS LARGELY HIDDEN BY PLANTS, there is a screened sense of intimacy around the home. Pat uses the plants and trees as his little bit of icing on the cake, so to speak. The paths curve in and out providing a sort of whimsical feel. This curving forces the visitor to slow down, consider what has been planted, thus enjoy the plants. Pat has always enjoyed creating spaces with paths less traveled. Eric sees the irony commenting that it has been said there is no Frost in Key West. They both get a laugh out of that.
Top

The next area is one of the more spectacular outdoor living spaces Eric has seen. This garden is different, compared to the others. Here he tried to make a huge space into a more of an INTIMATE GARDEN ROOM. But to do that he had to work with some different elements - the beautiful skyline, massive trees, they had to create a pool. So Pat made a lagoon pool. One can't really tell how deep it is. Then again he utilized fluid lines around the pool to go with the architecture of the pavilion. There is about a 3 foot path leading into it. He's created textures and layers. Trees are 30 or 40 feet tall, then intermediate layers, then ground level plants. Eric notices immediately the zoysia grass, it's a common turf grass but used in an uncommon way. It's just zoysia that hasn't been cut. It's like walking on sponges. Pat has allowed it to grow, thus it has a very soft, luxurious, pillowy effect. It's phenomenal, very textural.

This has been a wonderful experience but Eric knows they have another home to visit so they're off.
Top

The next home is completely different from the previous home. It's AN HISTORIC HOME and was built in the 1918's for the base commander of the Naval fleet. All commanders since that time have lived here, Presidents have stayed here, many influential people that came through Key West lived or stayed in this home. And, it's a beautiful home with beautiful landscaping.
Top

Eric notices some similarities to the previous home, Pat has used some of the same plants. Again, Pat used mass plantings, he used color, texture, he has used large columns of palms as architecture and they show off the entrance to the house. All of these were very important to his DESIGN PHILOSOPHY. The palms certainly frame the house and show off the architecture of the home. And, the plantings are beautiful. Pat receives many compliments from people not only looking at the house but from those looking out of the house. They look closer. Eric feels we most likely have many viewers that have homes that they want to show off in the same way the Captain's Quarters is shown off. Pat walks us through his garden design philosophy. This is a very historic home and a public house so he wanted to show off the house and architecture and Key West. So he kept the plants low, using bands of color to sort of make it flow, to give formality on both sides. This is a formal design but by no means a boring design. To accomplish that he has used many, many different colors in the foliage. He has everything from bright pinks, splashes of yellow, burgundy, plus every conceivable shade and texture of green. The bright silver trunks of the palm trees also provide year round interest. Gardeners should be aware that if one designs a garden around flowering plants, they will bloom for only a very small window of time. When the flowering plants aren't flowering the garden can be very uninteresting. But the color here is mostly year round. it doesn't matter what time of year one visits this property looks fantastic. In Key West they're a little spoiled, things grow here 365 days a year. They have wonderful weather, their plantings don't fade away.

Eric likes the fact that the plants in front are low growing, so when walking by one gets a very good view of the house. And, that's a good design tip. Pat likes to emphasize - keep it low, keep it green and keep it happy.
Top

Although this is a more FORMAL GARDEN IT HAS PLAYFUL ASPECTS. There is a tremendous range of plant diversity. Pat talks about some of the plants he's used. In the front section he mixed it up a little. The beautiful frangipani looks half dead right now but in a month's time it will have beautiful flowers. The Royal Palms look like gigantic grey telephone poles but then the eye comes down to the crinum lilies, the bromeliads, the beautiful purple bush and the little banana which is delicious. The Dwarf Cavendish Banana is becoming a popular container plant further north, it has beautiful purple leaves with little flecks throughout. In keeping with Pat's objective of lower design at the street level, these plants will only grow to about 5 feet tall. Some of the other plants are more unusual. One is a palm, one a cycad. Both look like palms but the smaller is a true cycad. Cycad is one of the oldest plant species, it was food for the dinosaurs.
Top

Eric likes THE ROLE LIGHT PLAYS IN THE GARDEN, the way Pat has strategically placed the larger plants to allow little beams of light to sneak through and highlight specific plantings. The chartreuse bromeliad is almost iridescent, the way it glows. The light hits the silverbacks of the palms and looks stunning. There is an embankment of ferns and the trees have been placed to allow little rays of light to shine through and highlight the plants.
Top

HARDSCAPE PLAYS A FAIRLY PROMINENT ROLE in this design. The property owners frequently entertain a large number of people at any one time, thus he made the patio the staging area so it could accommodate one or two hundred people very comfortably. This patio is not just a square patio, one often sees, rather it has curving lines. It has a natural sense and fits into the landscape in a way that's not intrusive, yet accommodates the needs of the homeowner. The patio is not flat rather it kind of rolls with the terrain. Key West is on a pancake, it is flat as a board but does have undulation. This area has a very nice feel, almost like you're in a woodland area. And, there are little focal points throughout. Pat used organic boulders, providing a sort of natural rock look. The bolder outcroppings provide a wonderful sense of elevation because the plantings are bermed up behind them. With the green foliage on the perimeter one doesn't know there is a fence, a perimeter to the area, on the other side. So when in this space it's very intimate, very enjoyable. In amongst all of the green Pat wanted to bring in color and texture. The leaves of the aroids provide interesting texture and the salmon orange of the hibiscus, Dwarf Rio, provide interesting spots of color. The Angel's Trumpet is flowering and very colorful. All of these things make up Pat's palette and make great focal points.
Top

The guys go around THE BACK OF THE HOUSE and the view is incredible. There is an ocean liner docked not far away as well as a large Naval destroyer. There can't be many homes in the world with a view like this. Here the winding pathways have dappled shade but it opens up to a very bright, lively area. Again Pat listened to the owners requests. They wanted an open spot, clear views with lots of light coming into the home. In their pool and lounge area Pat has incorporated a few of his specimen trees or as he calls them living architecture. They are beautiful, they really are sculpture. The Bottle Palm, a native of Madagascar is spectacular. It's spiky, the blooms look like armaments. The Paurotis Palm is a native of the Everglades. It hides the corner, providing a little green space and a small amount of shade and helps gel the entire backyard together. It's very playful and vibrant, a very bright area.

Eric feels Pat has done an excellent job of accommodating the needs of the homeowner, but also creating a wonderful space. Again, it's all about textures. The bricks, the pebbles, the coping on the pool and furniture all add spots of color. Eric could definitely see himself spending the evening here.

Pat has several parting thoughts. The most important thing he could convey is - Don't over plant, plant things according to your space, don't cram them in, let the plants fill out, you can always put more plants in later. Also, use specimen plantings - small, medium and large. Scale is very important.

Pat you're a wonderful designer, these have been beautiful gardens. Thanks for sharing the day with us. Eric feels it's always great to visit different parts of the country and see unique palettes of plants and to meet the very talented designers that build these beautiful gardens. Pat appreciates the compliment and feels honored that GardenSMART would visit.

LINKS:

Key West

Compass Realty

Plant List

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