Heaven on Earth

The oldest of five sisters, Kim Chi relates that she is the only one to inherit a green thumb from her mother. But, what a thumb! Her exuberant mix of colorful annuals and perennials combine harmoniously in a truly stunning garden. The health of her plants she attributes to the annual spring application of her own compost to amend her clay soil.

An emerald thumb is not the only thing Kim Chi inherited from her mother. She also received a seed from one of her mimosa tree ten years ago. This tree now stand as the centerpiece in the back garden, providing shade and height.

A cardiac ICU nurse for over 30 years, Kim Chi has a very stressful job. She regards her garden as her retreat. There are many places in the garden to decompress but this pond is my favorite.

She is enthusiastic about tall plants, joking it may be due to her own lack of height. When choosing tall plants, she looks for those that stand straight and have sturdy stems so they need no staking. I am loving this red monarda!

After visiting her garden, I was inspired to purchase the tall pink-flowering astilbe I had seen in her yard.

Besides varying the height of her plants, she adds lanterns and huge urns to create diversity. This adds interest to her garden design.

Delightful creatures throughout her garden add a touch of whimsy.

Including gargoyles

and smiling leaves. These touches make the garden as unique as the gardener.

Kim Chi is fearless in her garden. She is constantly moving her plants to make better combinations. As a result, every year the garden looks different. But, she always includes her favorite colors of red and yellow.

Even her rain barrel receives an artistic treatment.

According to Kim Chi her garden design is “free style.” It is a very personal and vibrant garden full of treasures.

Being limited in space did not hold this gardener back. Most of her vegetable gardening is done in raised beds. She grows okra, grapes, cucumbers, berries, and lettuces, to name a few.

The lettuce is planted high in an old galvanized tub to keep the bunnies out of it.
Kim Chi utilizes companion planting methods. For example, every squash plant has a nasturtium planted with it to keep the squash bugs at bay.

She packs her garden with flowers explaining she does not want to see the soil or mulch-just plants! She has even taken over her neighbor’s yard that she felt had too much mulch showing.

What a suiting garden to a lovely tudor-style home that is over 100 years old. Kim Chi and her husband have lived here for over 40 years, truly “Heaven on Earth.”