Buddhist statuary brings calm to this award-winning garden.

Image: Gene Pollux

How do you earn a Great Landscape Award from Venice Area Beautification? For recent award winners Peter Cartwright and Parichat Yanpreechawong, it meant transforming their circa-1971 ranch-style home on the island of Venice into a serene tropical oasis anchored by fountains, spirit houses and statuary of Buddhist and Hindu gods reflective of Parichat’s Thai upbringing.

Parichat, who owns Parichat House, an art and women’s clothing boutique in downtown Venice, is the gardens’ designer. Also a painter and flower arranger, she uses her artist’s eye to compose vignettes, concentrating on the shapes and colors of plants’ leaves.    

“I wanted it to look like a vacation resort, very lush,” she says. “Everything you see you can get at area garden shops, or friends give us cuttings, or we pick up along the way. I don’t remember the names of the plants, I just see some that I want.”

The couple’s garden was twice featured in the Venice Area Garden Club’s Home & Garden Tour. It’s received international acclaim, too, as the only garden outside Thailand to win an annual DIY garden contest sponsored by Bangkok-based Baan Lae Suan magazine.

A riot of plants chosen for their shapes and colors fills the garden.

Gardens like these require loving care, and the homeowners spend several hours daily and all day most Sundays pruning and replanting. They say it’s worth it for the pleasure it brings their friends and neighbors.

Cartwright says garden club members from across the region visit their home, “as well as those too numerous to count who walk, bike or drive by and start asking questions. [They] often ask if they can send their landscape contractor to view our garden for ideas.”

“You have to be fearless about throwing plants away,” says Parichat. Every year she replaces plants that have aged or lost their beauty.

“Many of our plants are in pots,” says Parichat. That allows for seasonal rotation and restaging. The sun changes all the time, and things burn up or get too much water.

The Venice Area Garden Club’s 30th Annual Home and Garden Tour is scheduled for March 8 and 9, 2019. Info: venicegardenclub.com

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