A 'magic' garden: Working in the yard becomes a 'life-link' for one Destin woman

Laura Hall
Laura Hall | Special to The Log
Published: Friday, July 26, 2013 at 04:50 PM.

Marlies has won herself a fantastic husband, fashioned a joyful life and created a glorious garden.  This is a great love story of Marlies and husband, Richard Benedict, of Kelly Plantation in Destin. 

When Richard was a younger man, he swam for the military Air Force team, gathering a foot locker full of trophies.  While in Wiesbaden , Germany , he made friends with Dieter who swam for the German team.  Dieter and Richard used to visit in the home of Marlies and her sister, Carola. Marlies says, “I was only twelve at the time and when Richard would visit, I didn’t look at him, he didn’t look at me.”

I think Richard must have at least ventured a glance or two because when Marlies was 19, Richard returned to Wiesbaden , they fell in love and the two married when Marlies turned 21.  They now have been married for 50 years. 

Marlies states, “My husband and I moved to Destin in 1998.  After a life of travelling, 20 moves with the military, and raising two beautiful daughters, we built our first house in Kelly Plantation and we are finally ‘home.'  Richard designed this house, I designed the garden. Richard is truly the wind beneath my wings.  He does all the hard work and he loves to cut.  I say, ‘cut’ and Richard is out of the chair ready to go.  He does all the digging.  I just couldn’t do it without him.” 

Sounds like a joyful life to me!

Marlies says, “My parents were always gardening. The balconies on my home in Germany had flower boxes and we raised vegetables. Wherever Richard and I have lived, gardening was my hobby. Here it is so much more. Florida dictates her own rules in gardening, and I am always newly surprised and learning about growing a garden here.”

Two years ago Marlies fell and crushed her femur and spent nine months in a wheel chair.  She was working hard on walking again and says, “My garden was calling me – so much needed to be done! The challenge and joy of my garden became a life-link.  The weeds were taking over, the garden had been neglected and I wanted to bring all the beauty of our garden back to life!” 



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