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GardenSMART Episode

Show #36/6910. Garden Tour - Two Ponds

Summary of Show

Create A Lot Of Different Places
Mauree starts - When they bought the home, it was a lovely home, but it had not been loved on. Their thoughts were to CREATE A LOT OF DIFFERENT PLACES that people could gather. They wanted places one could sit and reflect on the beauty. They wanted quiet places. But they also love sound, particularly the sound of water. So they created some gorgeous water features that Mauree thinks our audience will really enjoy. They’re very peaceful, very relaxing and reflective. They had to create patios out of stones and they had to terrace some areas. It was a lot of work and it wasn't a one and done thing. It took a few years to really get to the point they're at now, and even now they're still adding things each year, some little something here or there.
For More Information Click Here

Enhance Nature’s Beauty
Hank believes the overlying theme is just to ENHANCE NATURE’S BEAUTY. When they bought this place, it was nothing like it is now. They renovated everything from the buildings to the landscape. The landscape has been almost a nine-year project so far. They wanted to enhance it and just make it as beautiful as it possibly could be. The hardscape is impressive, there's a lot of stone in this design. Hank believes that as they started this, it was like a painting, different pallets. They would lay the base down and the base was really enhancing the hardscape around the ponds, which included the patios. There are two nice water features they created.
For More Information Click Here

An Overview
Eric knows there's a lot to see and would love it if Mauree and Hank could kind of give us a little bit of a walking talking tour of the garden, AN OVERVIEW. Maureen says they wanted a sense of entering into a whole different setting, they wanted it to be private back here, so they've kept some privacy. But as one enters, you're curving around the hydrangeas which are usually beautiful but some are wrapping up the season now. However the lime lights are still pretty. As you enter at the road, then walk up the driveway it leads to an upper parking area for the guest cottage. And the guest cottage is really situated well. It's in between Lily Pond, which is the lower pond and Secret Pond, which is the upper pond.
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Lily Pond
Eric would first like to talk about the lower LILY POND and the water features that feed into it. Hank tells Eric the Lily Pond was a gorgeous pond when they bought the place. But it had an invasive Chinese lily that was growing in the pond. So over a period of years they kept cutting it back. They think they've eradicated it, so now they're going back and replacing the invasive plants with various types of lily pads with different blooms, different colors, different colored leaves, all something they can control without having to use chemicals or anything else.
For More Information Click Here

Amazing Sculptures
Eric comments, speaking of animals - throughout the garden, one of the wonderful whimsical features they have are these AMAZING SCULPTURES. He loves putting art in the garden. These sculptures have become amazing focal points. And guessing there is a great story behind these and would love to hear some of the stories behind the many wonderful little animals that we find in their garden. Hank starts with the totem poles. They have a true totem with six or seven different animals topped with an eagle. Previously they had a log home up here and had this oak tree on the side of the house. It was probably a 30 inch caliper oak tree and for whatever reason it died. So instead of cutting it down and using it for firewood, they found this old mountain man up here that was a chainsaw artist. His name was Mountain Dan. They asked him to come over and look at their tree. So he came over and he stood there and he looked at it. He said, "I think this would be a great totem." So they turned him loose and he carved this beautiful totem pole.
For More Information Click Here

Paths Wind Throughout
Eric loves the way that the PATHS WIND THROUGHOUT and around each corner. There are these little aha moments or these moments of surprise where it opens into some new vista or there's some really interesting piece of beautiful art. It’s just an amazing way of experiencing the woodland garden. Mauree there are a number of beautiful railings throughout the garden, many of them award winning. Talk to us about those. They have so many different transition areas, rock paths and rocks you can skip over water features on, that it just felt like they needed some railings, but not just any railing. Because they don't want to take anything too seriously on this property, they like to have a little whimsy, a little fun. They found a company called Heirloom Ironworks.
For More Information Click Here

Gazebo
Eric thinks of all the wonderful features in this garden the GAZEBO is one of the most unique and spectacular. There's got to be a great story behind the structure. Maureen tells this story - Every time she comes up with an idea Hank would go, "Oh, no, another one." But this one he loved, because she envisioned a gazebo cantilevering over this beautiful pond, a place they could sit and relax and enjoy the garden when it's raining.
For More Information Click Here

Gazebo Foundation
The structure that this sits on, this FOUNDATION, is no small feat. Talk about the base that this is sitting on. Hank takes this question. Being an engineer he wanted to make sure that this will be here for the next 75 years. As well he wanted to make sure that they used all natural material. They chose white pine that was sourced at a local saw mill. They drained the pond down, and while they had it down decided they were going to encase the rest of the pond with stonewall, because they didn't want to lose the bank. So they completely encircled it with a stack stone wall. And while it was drained down, they put piles in, making sure they didn't break the clay layer in the bottom. The bottom line is you could put a semi truck on this, it wouldn't even move.
For More Information Click Here

Water Is Important
WATER IS SO IMPORTANT to a garden. And where we're standing we can hear the water emptying into the ponds, these little waterfalls and gurgling brooks and creek. There's not any corner of this garden where you can't either see or hear water. So it's kind of the theme of the garden. It feels like very alive, yet very tranquil at the same time. Maureen is glad Eric noticed that, because that was really what they were looking for. They wanted people to have an experience everywhere they went. And they wanted them to hear water, because water is life blood.
For More Information Click Here

Water Features
One thing he loves about these WATER FEATURES, and he thinks with any truly successful water feature, is the fact that they look like they've always been there. If Mauree and Hank hadn't told him he would just have assumed that these were native to the property and they were just lucky enough to have these 5,000 year old creeks. But no, these were all built, and he would say expertly so. Hank explains they were fortunate enough to find two gentlemen from the area that worked together to create these water features. One is a gentleman named Bob Dews the second a gentleman named Tim Brown. Extreme Ponds is the name of their company. Their whole MO is to make it look like it's been here for 10,000 years. Every rock in here was hand selected and they then hand placed the rocks. It would often take three to four hours to get it exactly where they wanted it so they could get the flow they wanted to have.
For More Information Click Here

Weeping Wall
One thing Eric wants to see before we leave is the WEEPING WALL. We’ve heard a lot about it. It's a very unique feature and was something that the two gentlemen built as well. Eric comments about the waterfall. It's just off the main residence, a wonderful array of water features that Mauree and Hank must love listening to when having dinner out on the back patio. This weeping wall is a very unique structure. We don't see many of these in the many, many gardens that we tour. And it's just such an amazing departure from the conventional water feature. Hank, since this is a bit of a feat of engineering we'll to turn this over to you. Hank confirms, there's a little bit of a story here. There was a feature adjacent to this, but it’s all one feature now, they had that feature put in originally when they bought the house. As you can tell this home and property are at the base of a series of mountains. So there is a lot of excess excess water runoff from these mountains. And water has a desire to go downhill, always. All we can do is try to channel it where we want it to go.
For More Information Click Here

Walking Stones
There are several other engineering feats in here that Tim and Bob came up with that Hank and Mauree thought were exceptional. These WALKING STONES, these large flagstones that go over the stream are cantilevered. And the only thing holding them in place are the grouted stones in between the joints. The other thing that's really cool is they designed this so that one part of the existing water feature flows underneath this section of stones, circulates all the way around, all the way underneath these stones. And the force of the water coming out of the weeping wall pushes that circulation back out and it goes out underneath this stone. It then flows back into the water feature.
For More Information Click Here

Water Feature Plants
Eric would like for Mauree to talk about THE PLANTS. How after this beautiful water feature was built did you start plugging in the little details that really made it sing? They wanted something really special. There are a lot of ponds up here, but very few have coniferous plants like they do. They started out with some pickerel plants inside of the pond. And then on the outside perimeters they have six different variations of the pitcher plant. Eric comments that many don’t know that the Venus flytrap, which is sold all over the world, is native to a little pocket of North Carolina and South Carolina.
For More Information Click Here

LINKS:

Sapphire Valley
Home | Sapphire Valley Resort NC, Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Cashiers, North Carolina
Home - The Village Green Of Cashiers

Plant List

Show #36/6910. Garden Tour - Two Ponds

Transcript of Show

In this Episode GardenSMART takes a tour of one of the finest gardens in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Nestled in the beautiful North Carolina Mountains is little known Sapphire Valley. Teaming with wildlife and amazing views from every angle, it's a gardener's paradise. From majestic waterfalls that are fed by pristine streams and mountain peaks that frame the landscape, it's hard to imagine a more idyllic place to put down roots. Today we visit the garden of Mauree and Hank Booth, affectionately known as Two Ponds, and talk about their love of plants and how they built their little piece of heaven.

Eric welcomes Mauree and Hank to GardenSMART. Thank you so much for joining us. Maureen in turn thanks GardenSMART for visiting, it's an honor to be a part of the show and welcomes Eric and the GardenSMART audience to Two Ponds. Eric appreciates the welcome. We've heard so much about this garden, everyone told us we needed to come see Hank and Mauree's garden. So here we are. There's a tremendous amount of work that's gone into this. Very true. Mauree and Hank bought this beautiful piece of property and felt it needed some renovations, needed a little vision to bring it together. And there's a lot of work that has been done the last couple years. Eric would like for them to talk about that.

Mauree starts - When they bought the home, it was a lovely home, but it had not been loved on. Their thoughts were to CREATE A LOT OF DIFFERENT PLACES that people could gather. They wanted places one could sit and reflect on the beauty. They wanted quiet places. But they also love sound, particularly the sound of water. So they created some gorgeous water features that Mauree thinks our audience will really enjoy. They’re very peaceful, very relaxing and reflective. They had to create patios out of stones and they had to terrace some areas. It was a lot of work and it wasn't a one and done thing. It took a few years to really get to the point they're at now, and even now they're still adding things each year, some little something here or there. Mauree thinks we're going to enjoy it. Eric feels that's the way that gardening is. It's never-ending. He's never heard a gardener say, "We finally finished our garden last year. It's done." There will always be something that you're looking forward to doing, even just the evolution of the gardener with the garden. And water does play heavily into this design. There are two beautiful ponds.

Hank believes the overlying theme is just to ENHANCE NATURE’S BEAUTY. When they bought this place, it was nothing like it is now. They renovated everything from the buildings to the landscape. The landscape has been almost a nine-year project so far. They wanted to enhance it and just make it as beautiful as it possibly could be. The hardscape is impressive, there's a lot of stone in this design. Hank believes that as they started this, it was like a painting, different pallets. They would lay the base down and the base was really enhancing the hardscape around the ponds, which included the patios. There are two nice water features they created.They also created terraces which required over 200 loads of rock. Virtually every rock you see here is something they brought in. And at the end to create the patios they brought in the capstone, which was all Tennessee flagstone from Tennessee, two tractor trailer loads of it. They hand selected and placed everything exactly the way they wanted it. Even going through the details of how they were going to grout the flagstone. And have now been through several iterations of that. But once all of that was done they brought in some landscape expertise and started creating the softscapes.

Eric knows there's a lot to see and would love it if Mauree and Hank could kind of give us a little bit of a walking talking tour of the garden, AN OVERVIEW. Maureen says they wanted a sense of entering into a whole different setting, they wanted it to be private back here, so they've kept some privacy. But as one enters, you're curving around the hydrangeas which are usually beautiful but some are wrapping up the season now. However the lime lights are still pretty. As you enter at the road, then walk up the driveway, it leads to an upper parking area for the guest cottage. And the guest cottage is really situated well. It's in between Lily Pond, which is the lower pond and Secret Pond, which is the upper pond. They call it Secret Pond because it's a secret. Nobody knows it's there unless you walk out into the garden. Eric agrees when driving in, we couldn't see it from the road. It is truly a hidden gem. And Mauree thinks it's amazingly beautiful as well. They looked on this area as though they were creating an entrance, if you will, into this little special secret area. As we go down the pathway we see one of the three arbors that are on the property. All were locally handmade. 

Eric would first like to talk about the lower LILY POND and the water features that feed into it. Hank tells Eric the Lily Pond was a gorgeous pond when they bought the place. But it had an invasive Chinese lily that was growing in the pond. So over a period of years they kept cutting it back. They think they've eradicated it, so now they're going back and replacing the invasive plants with various types of lily pads with different blooms, different colors, different colored leaves, all something they can control without having to use chemicals or anything else. And they've nurtured the fish. But at the end of the day they wanted to make sure that that pond would thrive and be a great place for not only people to come and reflect, but also for the animals to enjoy and live.

Eric comments, speaking of animals - throughout the garden, one of the wonderful whimsical features they have are these AMAZING SCULPTURES. He loves putting art in the garden. These sculptures have become amazing focal points. And guessing there is a great story behind these and would love to hear some of the stories behind the many wonderful little animals that we find in their garden. Hank starts with the totem poles. They have a true totem with six or seven different animals topped with an eagle. Previously they had a log home up here and had this oak tree on the side of the house. It was probably a 30 inch caliper oak tree and for whatever reason it died. So instead of cutting it down and using it for firewood, they found this old mountain man up here that was a chainsaw artist. His name was Mountain Dan. They asked him to come over and look at their tree. So he came over and he stood there and he looked at it. He said, "I think this would be a great totem." So we turned him loose and he carved this beautiful totem pole. Then about two years later they had a tree right beside it, that was a maple tree, and it died. So they called Mountain Dan to come back and he said, "I'm going to carve this one into a bear pole for you." So he did. Then Mauree and Hank said, "Well, if we've got a bear pole with cub bears on it we need a mama bear." So he took this huge piece of pine and carved this 600-pound mama bear. And that's how it all started. When they sold that house and moved here, they made sure they took their totem poles. So they cut them down, brought them over here. Hank is a general contractor and mounted these things. They'll be there forever. And throughout the garden you'll see others. They have probably eight or 10 different wood-carved sculptures. They have a life-sized wooden Indian on the back deck of the house with a headdress down to the floor. And they have bird houses, they've been collecting bird houses for 20 years, and placed them throughout. They have little statues they purchased over the years and have placed them in various locations to add some whimsy and some fun to the garden. And they're all over the three and a half acres here.

Eric loves the way that the PATHS WIND THROUGHOUT and around each corner. There are these little aha moments or these moments of surprise where it opens into some new vista or there's some really interesting piece of beautiful art. It’s just an amazing way of experiencing the woodland garden. Mauree there are a number of beautiful railings throughout the garden, many of them award winning. Talk to us about those. They have so many different transition areas, rock paths and rocks you can skip over water features on, that it just felt like they needed some railings, but not just any railing. Because they don't want to take anything too seriously on this property, they like to have a little whimsy, a little fun. Additionally they wanted the railings to be bronze. They found a company called Heirloom Ironworks and James Moseley came over from Heirloom and designed some beautiful, beautiful railings. As well they have a sundial patio and James also designed the sundial. Some of the railings have won international awards for design. Eric thinks they're a beautiful personal touch. One can have just a railing, or you can use each one of those elements as an opportunity to add something that's beautiful and personal to your garden. Mauree and Hank have done a wonderful job of doing that.

Eric thinks of all the wonderful features in this garden the GAZEBO is one of the most unique and spectacular. There's got to be a great story behind the structure. Maureen tells this story - Every time she comes up with an idea Hank would go, "Oh, no, another one." But this one he loved, because she envisioned a gazebo cantilevering over this beautiful pond, a place they could sit and relax and enjoy the garden when it's raining. They had a friend draw it up and designed it, then another friend agreed to build it. So he harvested these locust trees on his own property then numbered all the pieces and then carried it over here and reassembled it kind of like Lincoln Logs, if you can imagine that. Eric is impressed, wow.

The structure that this sits on, this FOUNDATION, is no small feat. Talk about the base that this is sitting on. Hank takes this question. Being an engineer he wanted to make sure that this will be here for the next 75 years. As well he wanted to make sure that they used all natural material. They chose white pine that was sourced at a local saw mill. They drained the pond down, and while they had it down decided they were going to encase the rest of the pond with stonewall, because they didn't want to lose the bank. So they completely encircled it with a stack stone wall. And while it was drained down, they put piles in, making sure they didn't break the clay layer in the bottom. The bottom line is you could put a semi truck on this, it wouldn't even move. And the weight of this, Hank has no clue what it is but is guessing this is probably 30,000, 40,000 pounds with the locust on top of this deck. Eric says the take-home message here is that if we want a gazebo like this in our garden, we need to get Hank to do it.

WATER IS SO IMPORTANT to a garden. And where we're standing we can hear the water emptying into the ponds, these little waterfalls and gurgling brooks and creek. There's not any corner of this garden where you can't either see or hear water. So it's kind of the theme of the garden. It feels like very alive, yet very tranquil at the same time. Mauree is glad Eric noticed that, because that was really what they were looking for. They wanted people to have an experience everywhere they went. And they wanted them to hear water, because water is life blood. It's essential to life. Speaking of life, there's a lot of life that happens in and around their water features. One is flowing next to the guest cottage, as you can see it flows directly into the Lily Pond. There's a lovely little waterfall down there. You can find all kinds of plants and animal life in there.
When they were putting this in, the guys were working over there putting some rocks in. And all of a sudden Mauree heard this hooting and hollering. She happened to be close by and ran over to see what was going on. Hank was walking over too and there was a big coiled up copperhead. Not necessarily the kind of wildlife you want. So Mauree said, "Guys, I'm an animal lover, but you can lay that one to rest." They were at a wonderful craft fair called the Leaf Festival the very next year and she found this birdhouse that has a snake coming out of it. So they had to pay homage to the snake that gave its life for their water feature.
Mauree points out - As you can see their anchor plant is the Japanese maple but they have red maples as well around the property. So everywhere you look, there's a little touch of red. And this is her happy place. Eric can entirely see that.

One thing he loves about these WATER FEATURES, and he thinks with any truly successful water feature, is the fact that they look like they've always been there. If Mauree and Hank hadn't told him he would just have assumed that these were native to the property and they were just lucky enough to have these 5,000 year old creeks. But no, these were all built, and he would say expertly so. Hank explains they were fortunate enough to find two gentlemen from the area that worked together to create these water features. One is a gentleman named Bob Dews the second a gentleman named Tim Brown. Extreme Ponds is the name of their company. Their whole MO is to make it look like it's been here for 10,000 years. Every rock in here was hand selected and they then hand placed the rocks. It would often take three to four hours to get it exactly where they wanted it so they could get the flow they wanted to have. The flow over the rock was the most important thing. They didn't want it to look fake. They didn't want it to look like somebody just stacked up a bunch of boulders. They wanted this thing to look exactly perfect. And, spent five months building this. Eric can see the passion in their work. He thinks that's what makes this feature look like it's always been here and certainly was worth all of the extra time because you can't get that in a weekend. Hank agrees all the rocks they have out here these two guys put in place. They were the foundation for what they were trying to create here. And Bob and Tim did an exceptional job.

One thing Eric wants to see before we leave is the WEEPING WALL. We’ve heard a lot about it. It's a very unique feature and was something that the two gentlemen built as well. Eric comments about the waterfall. It's just off the main residence, a wonderful array of water features that Mauree and Hank must love listening to when having dinner out on the back patio. This weeping wall is a very unique structure. We don't see many of these in the many, many gardens that we tour. And it's just such an amazing departure from the conventional water feature. Hank, since this is a bit of a feat of engineering we'll to turn this over to you. Hank confirms, there's a little bit of a story here. There was a feature adjacent to this, but it’s all one feature now, they had that feature put in originally when they bought the house. As you can tell this home and property are at the base of a series of mountains. So there is a lot of excess excess water runoff from these mountains. And water has a desire to go downhill, always. All we can do is try to channel it where we want it to go. When they bought this house, the area behind, that now has a pergola and looks like it's always been there was basically a two-car garage. And this wall was not here. The driveway came down and went into this two-car garage. And 20 feet down they had two drain pipes that actually flowed from the street all the way into the pond. And over the 50 years that this home had been here, those drain pipes eroded away. They didn't realize that they had eroded, because they're buried 20 feet deep. Unfortunately, they had a collapse of this water feature. Half of it dropped four feet, so had to fix that. They called Tim and Bob Dews, but in order to fix it, they needed to dig it up, figure out exactly what went wrong. And they did that and came back and said, "Well, the pipes are gone, the bottom's rusted out of both pipes. And by the way, you've got five springs that intersect each other right under this water feature." They decided instead of just putting in more pipe and spending a ton of money to create a drainage system that nobody could see, let's make it beautiful. So they used that opportunity to build a retaining wall, to flatten out the driveway that was there and told Bob and Tim, "Just make it into something gorgeous.” So they decided they were going to do a weeping wall. And what is a weeping wall? It's a retaining wall with stack stone. And buried in this wall are three horizontal PVC pipes that about every 12 inches have drilled holes. And they hooked them all into the water system they have, the circulating system here, hence the weep.
But the other thing that's really cool about this is that underneath all of this feature is a heavy layer of rubber. It's a rubber mat and that mat goes all the way up to the house. So this whole thing, all these rocks that we're standing on, everything here is on top of a rubber mat.

There are several other engineering feats in here that Tim and Bob came up with that Hank and Mauree thought were exceptional. These WALKING STONES, these large flagstones that go over the stream are cantilevered. And the only thing holding them in place are the grouted stones in between the joints. The other thing that's really cool is they designed this so that one part of the existing water feature flows underneath this section of stones, circulates all the way around, all the way underneath these stones. And the force of the water coming out of the weeping wall pushes that circulation back out and it goes out underneath this stone. It flows back into the water feature. So you have a constant flow of circulation. The water stays nice and clean and clear. I's just, it's awesome. Mauree agrees, and the frogs love it. They have a frog symphony every night.

Eric would like for Mauree to talk about THE PLANTS. How after this beautiful water feature was built did you start plugging in the little details that really made it sing? They wanted something really special. There are a lot of ponds up here, but very few have coniferous plants like they do. They started out with some pickerel plants inside of the pond. And then on the outside perimeters they have six different variations of the pitcher plant. Eric comments that many don’t know that the Venus flytrap, which is sold all over the world, is native to a little pocket of North Carolina and South Carolina. Maureen adds they then placed various additional plants native to this area like hostas and ferns. They wanted it to be soft, didn't want it to be formal. They didn't want it to be perfect. As well they have three bronze sculptures paying homage to their three sons. Much like the three bears on their bear pole, their three sons.

Eric thanks Mauree and Hank, what a wonderful place. Thank you so much for spending the day with us. Mauree and Hank in turn thank Eric and GardenSMART for visiting, come back anytime. Eric agrees to come back for a visit, it’s been an amazing day. He loves the way that gardens transport us into magical spaces of beauty and tranquility.

LINKS:

Sapphire Valley
Home | Sapphire Valley Resort NC, Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Cashiers, North Carolina
Home - The Village Green Of Cashiers

Plant List


   
 
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