A glorious garden party

Laura Hall
Garden Club members l-r, Sara Wood, Darla Harrison, Odile Guidry, Carol Powell, Melba Cooper, Marianne Paul.

I arrive early at the home of Robert and Jane Carron of Destin. Later this evening the Kelly Plantation Home and Garden Club members will be arriving to enjoy the Carron’s French inspired garden filled with artists, art, flowers, colorful cushions and different vignettes in every corner. The evening is peaceful and quiet as the last of the setting sun dances across the water of the still bayou.

Two artists were invited in for this September garden club meeting and are busy setting up their easels in the backyard and organizing their paints. Joy Fine works in watercolor, acrylic and water mixable oil.  For commission information or pet portraits, you can reach Joy at Joyfineart.com or 654-3945. She teaches art in her home and you can find her art work at Kaleidoscopes at 211 A Main Street in Destin where 30 artists and crafters display their work. 

The second artist is Cecelia Haught, who also teaches and has her gallery work in Atlanta and Seaside.  Her web page is hotmurals.com or phone 830-3291. Cecelia enjoys painting in natural light on local subjects and scenes and having a glass of good wine now and then. She has a special, “Sole Series” which can be viewed on her website. This series is dedicated to the painting of feet and commissions are welcome. This is such a unique idea, you have to see it to believe how soulful it is.

I sense a stir in the atmosphere as laughter and talk drift across the garden. The club members drift in through the front door, through the great room, and out through the porch into the dazzling array of colors filling the garden. Several bright, hot pink umbrellas, art work from Joy, Cecelia, Jane and Jane’s granddaughter, Maggie, are placed around the garden.

Spotlights have come on to highlight two statues of the four seasons, and you take a deep breath to orient yourself to the mesmerizing sight. Jane tells me, “Your typical French garden will be laid out with a parterre of boxwood.” 

Jane has a fine example of a parterre filled with colorful roses. She says, “I knew to cut the roses back exactly 30 days ago so tonight they would be at their peak of beauty.”

One of my favorite garden vignettes is a large metal gazebo with a thatched roof. Over the past 15 years, fallen pine needles and vines of Confederate jasmine, clematis and New Dawn roses have formed a thick and natural thatch.

From inside the highest tip of the gazebo hangs a chandelier glittering in the fading light with its numerous candles flickering. On the left side of the gazebo hangs a  Claude Monet painting, “The Garden Picnic,” showing a table, hat and garden scene. From this picture, Jane reproduced as closely as possible, this same scene: table, hat, flowers and a Victorian flower stick used years ago to carry to the garden and fill with flowers.

Inside the house, the table is crowned with a magnificent flower arrangement that reaches for the heavens and leaves you breathless. Flowers surround the punch bowl, and tiers of desserts await your choice. An endless array of exotic jams, jellies and preserves shipped in from Muddy Feet Market in Chillicothe, Ohio have all been made by Jane’s daughter, Tiffany McDaniel.

A meeting was held to discuss business of the club.  For information call President Jane Carron at 269-1562.

As the meeting adjourned and I was returning home, I found myself humming...”I see trees of green, red roses too, I see them bloom for me and you, and I think to myself what a wonderful world.”

Laura Hall is a longtime gardener and Destin resident.  She explores area gardens and other local topics with her cavalier spaniel Annie.  If you would like to be profiled in a future column, contact Laura at llhall4386@gmail.com.