Summer blooms in Margate

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Petie Subin along with her dog, Henley, enjoy time near their backyard pond where whimsy and waterfall create a tranquil spot. Photo by Suzanne Marino

MARGATE - Beautiful gardens don’t just happen; the flow of colors and texture that change with the season come with a lot of forethought and planning not to mention hard work. The Margate residents who entered the annual garden contest sponsored by the Beautification Board have all created very special spaces around their homes that reflect that planning and hard work. Whether they are small spaces or larger expanses each garden tells a little something about the person who created and tends it.  


 Christine Hughes has managed to wonderfully use of space and create privacy with her container gardening at the Royal Palm Condominium. “I start in February, looking in gardening centers and seeing what the trend is and what is new for the year. I like to change the colors and add a different texture each season,” said Hughes. With the use of large concrete planters, Hughes manages to make the nearby parking area all but disappear when she sits on her front patio behind a façade of red Cana, ornamental grass, purple osteoporum with trailing vines. She also has managed to create a compact herb garden with lemon verbena, basil, rosemary and even a self watering tomato planter.


Purple osteoporum pop in Christine Hughes container garden

 Petie and Bill Subin live not far from the bay but they have created their own oasis just outside their back door.

“When Bill came home from the hospital after having a hip replaced I wanted to surprise him with something special, something soothing - so I made plans for this pond,” Petie Subin said. “It has really become such a wonderful and relaxing place with a sense of whimsy. And we just love it.”

 The water spills across a rock wall among the flora and fauna and into a pond with colorful koi and accented with water lilies. The look changes from every angle and clematis adds color while little frogs, dragonflies and other accents make every glance interesting. A fence keeps the Subin’s Portuguese water hound Henley from taking a dip in the pond, but also serves as interesting backdrop.

 Over on Jerome Avenue, Rose DiRenzo said her husband Louis recently retired and likes to have some fun in the garden. Their meticulously trimmed bushes and topiaries caught the judge’s eye. Look a little more carefully and the personality of the caretaker begins to pop.

“He is always adding a little something here and there,” Rose DiRenzo said as she pointed out little gnomes and animals tucked here and there. “We tease him that he has his own ark going, but it is really pretty and I love the color that we add each year with flowers,” said DiRenzo.    

 The winner in the large garden category is Carolyn and Nelson Mirsky on Fredericksburg Avenue. A covered patio at the far end of the garden gives the Mirskys a perfect perch from where they can watch their garden burst with color from early spring into fall. Their garden is nothing short of a head-turner with bright yellows, pinks and corals just popping from all over this well manicured and meticulously maintained garden. Nelson Mirsky is out there every day dead-heading his garden and pinching off all the spent blooms from the row of hibiscus, the dahlias and the dozen or more varieties of flowers that rim the large open yard.

The recent derecho did some damage; ripping one variety of hibiscus right out of the ground. But aside from debris the garden was not damaged heavily. A recent mama rabbit decided it was a lovely spot to raise a furry family, but Mirsky was able to relocate the crew and keep his garden intact.

 Carolyn Mirsky does most of her gardening in a small patch that she has tilled and turned into a prolific vegetable and herb garden. The Mirskys said they travel some distance to R and J Garden Market for plants and to pick up what the garden market owner said would show them real results: Jack’s Original. “The difference in the tomatoes is really noticeable, it made a huge difference,” Mirsky said.

 There were 32 entries in the 2012 Margate Garden Contest with the judges having the tough job of picking what they felt was the best of the bunch. The winners will be honored at the Thursday, Aug. 2 Margate City Commission meeting.

The lily pod in the Subin’s backyard pond adds pizzazz.

Koi fish enjoy a swim in Subin’s backyard pond.

Bill Subin painted his impression of the backyard pond built to surprise him several years ago when he was recovering from surgery.

Rose DiRenzo and her grandson Nicholas, 9, enjoy all the little surprises that Louis DiRenzo tucks here and there in their Jerome Avenue garden.

A variety of perennial hibiscus pops pink along Fredericksburg Avenue from the Mirsky’s garden.

Carolyn Mirsky shows off the many pinks that blend together in her Fredericksburg Avenue garden.

Hydrangeas love the sandy soil and bright sun on the island. This bright pink variety enjoys both just a block from the beach in Nelson and Carolyn Mirsky’s garden.

Mandeville love bright sun and given a trellis to climb will provide flowers all summer long.

No yard is no problem for Christine Hughes who created privacy with the use of container gardening.

Photos by Suzanne Marino


Garden contest winners:

Commercial category

            First place-Robert Silverman

            9401 Condos at Adams and Pacific avenues

            Second place-Lynne Callahan-

            Oceanview Condo (courtyard)

Large flower garden category

            First place-Nelson and Carolyn Mirsky

            16 So. Fredericksburg Ave.

            Second place-Sherry Cohen

            100 N. Sumner Ave.

            Third place-Joan Selzer

            104 So. Rumson Ave.

Medium flower garden

            First place-Joel Cooper

            13 So. Knight Ave.

            Second place-Anthony and Lenore Scola

            109 So. Exeter Ave

            Third place-Donna Greenberg

            4 So. Mansfield Ave.

Small flower garden

            First place-Harriet Cooper

            19 So. Clarendon Ave.

            Second place-Deena Whitfield

            222 N. Sumner

            Third place-Lori Merget

            306 N. Vendome Ave.

Container category

            First place-Christine Hughes

            Royal Palm Condo 3C 9711 Ventnor Ave

            Second place-Barry M. Cohen

            Madison Ave. Condo A10 (second floor)

Pool category

            First place-Petie Subin

            7 Bayshore Court

Vegetable Garden

            First place-Dave Sanders

            107 N. Clarendon

Green category

            First place-Rose DiRenzo

            121 N. Jerome Ave.

            Second place-Eleanor Silverstein

            106 N. Kenyon

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