Carousel garden Cathy and Bob Self, of Destin, create a space that is bright and beautiful

Laura Hall
Laura Hall | Special to The Log
Published: Friday, July 5, 2013 at 03:44 PM.

I’m visiting the garden of Cathy and Bob Self on Old Bayou Trail in Destin. It is a joyful space, like looking into a kaleidoscope showing beautiful colors and ever-changing shapes with every turn of my head.

Bob was the owner of a commercial and residential construction business and when he moved his office from Niceville to Destin 12 years ago, he also built their current home here.  Cathy worked 32 years as a mortgage banker, retiring from Synovus Mortgage Corp as branch manager and vice president.

Cathy said, “When we built our house I wanted a low maintenance and natural garden. We started with this look and very soon I felt like ‘oh my goodness, this is so boring.’ You know, the garden takes on a life of its own. Annuals look so good so then you plant blooming perennials like hydrangeas, redbuds, dogwoods and things look even better.

Today Cathy spends about six hours a day in the garden.

“First thing every morning I circle the house to see what’s going on in the garden,” Cathy explains.  “What new blooms do I have, what needs my attention and there is always the weeds to pull. I work where my eyes and feet lead me. Also, this time of year I try to move with the shade. 

I ask Cathy if she had always been this interested in gardening. 

“When I was younger I piddled around with this one Satsuma bush that I babied for years,” she said. “The tree stayed at 2 ½ feet and never bore fruit.  It was called ‘Queen of the Garden’ because it consumed so much of my time.”

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