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Artists' Touch Makes Garden Unique

Gale and Ki Lee stand in front of a blooming vanda orchid at the far side of the pool.

There is extra and constant color in front of the home of Gale and Ki Lee home in north Brandon, especially from spectacular crotons. But it is the garden behind the house that is so unique. The pool enclosure takes up almost all of the area and connects the house with the studio where these two artists work.

About four years ago Ki built a koi pond just outside the studio complete with a waterfall and a wooden bridge. "I first planned the bridge to be shaped like a rainbow, but if I had done that, we wouldn't be able to see the waterfall from that bench in the corner," he says. That bench is where they sit to watch the fish. Two of the koi are huge and the others are large and growing. Having the pool in the enclosure removes the problem of birds and other wildlife feeding on the fish.

He also built a large potting bench that sits at the far end of the patio. This is a garden where one can work or sit enjoy night and day. It is almost a part of the house.

Gale, who is a member of the Riverview Garden Club, has over a hundred different orchids and has the shade-loving ones in clusters of orchid and other plants close to the house, the sun loving ones hanging from the framework beyond the pool, and the ones with medium light needs at the outer edge of the roofing. She combines them well. Blooming in December were Christmas cacti, Swedish ivy, begonias, and mums and several different orchids with multiple blooms. At least one pot of amaryllis was in bud. Succulents and ferns add completely different textures.

"We don't have to move things in on cold nights as a rule, but we do cover some," says Gale.

The koi pond includes a waterfall, wooden bridge, and water plants.

Succulents also respond to the artist's touch.

Orchids everywhere: Over 100 orchids are artistically arranged
with other plants according to their light needs.