The Calming Welcome of a Garden

The Kiblers create a haven in Heathwood

By Margaret Clay

Photography by Emily Clay

“I am SO bored!” was the fatal complaint. It was the beginning of summer after Beth Kibler’s first grade year, and she recalls her mother and grandmother smiling at each other and finding a quick remedy to her alleged boredom.

“That summer, I learned how to weed, read and needlepoint,” Beth laughs, “and after that, I was hooked on gardening.”

Beth Kibler welcomes visitors to her garden.


Beth and Bud Kibler now live in a beautiful 1939 brick home nestled in Heathwood. While making considerable renovations, they felt it was imperative to preserve the integrity of the house. The Kiblers were even able to find old bricks that match the original for adding another room adjacent to the terrace. An outdoor fireplace gives the limestone terrace a snug feel, and comfortable outdoor furniture completes the inviting atmosphere. Potted boxwoods and tea olives, a personal favorite plant of Bud’s, ornament the space around the fireplace and brick wall.

The limestone terrace offers an inviting ambiance with tea olives against the brick wall on either side of the fireplace. 

“Bud is a closet architect,” Beth explains. “He drew out the basic plans for the terrace, the porch and the greenhouse and handed it to George Betsill who took it from there.”

George Betsill designed the landscaping and hardscaping, and Robert Kennedy designed the architectural additions to the home. The previous families had left great bones for the Kiblers to embellish upon, such as the large variety of camellias. One such camellia is a very tall Sasanqua with beautiful pink buds.
“We are outdoors people, and we wanted our garden to have more of a country feel as opposed to urban. Both of us love working in it.”

For learning about varieties of perennials, Beth sought the advice of garden designer Ruthie Lacey. Ruthie’s influence is evident as many types of Hastas and Hydrangeas now adorn the yard. “You could call me a collector!” laughs Beth.

Ruthie also arranges beautiful, exotic potted plants that bring a true “wow-factor” to the garden. Splashing colors of violet, red, green, yellow and orange in a large urn container, perennials burst forth from their pot. Ferns give the arrangement a lush feeling while Bougainvillea and ivy cascade down the sides, and Lantanas add a little zest.

Garden designeer Ruthie Lacey’s urn bursts forth with vibrant colors of exotic flowers, adding extra zest to the garden.

For Bud, one of his favorite areas is in his greenhouse that also serves as his retreat. Here he enjoys cultivating house plants and relaxing after a day in the office.
“At one of our former houses, Bud had a garden that would have put Martha Stewart to shame, but the soil and sunlight in this spot just haven’t been conducive for his vegetables. However, his potted lemon and lime trees have been very successful,” notes Beth.

Bud Kibler’s loveable hunting buddy, Hank, sits amid geraniums and ivy on one of the garden’s footpaths.

For Beth, her pride and joy is in her Old Garden Roses, of which she keeps many varieties. In fact, her 1939 Buff Beauty, a hybrid musk, won Best in Show at the State Fair this year! The greenhouse wall is adorned with many such ribbons from years of love and dedication to these roses.

This 1939 Buff Beauty, one of many varities of Old Garden Roses Beth cultivates, won Best in Show at this year’s State Fair.

“It really is a hobby as they are quite different from hybrid tea roses, and to qualify for the ‘Old Rose Exhibit,’ they must date before 1950,” Beth explains.
She has several Noisettes that date back to as early as 1802. The original variety is “Champneys’ Pink Cluster” or Champneys’ Rose, developed in Charleston. It blooms all summer and into the fall.

“Pat Henry and Bill Patterson with Roses Unlimited in Laurens have both taught me about growing Old Garden Roses,” says Beth. “They just have greenhouse after greenhouse with thousands of different varieties in roses. Every year I attend a Rose Study Day at the nursery.”

For the Kiblers, the garden offers a calming and welcoming space. Every entry of the home leads to a part of the garden — the indoor and outdoor space is all very connected.

“From every window and door, we can look out, see and enjoy. We live outside as well as inside, and each reflects the other. It is easy to become too busy to spend much time outdoors. We have made an effort to make the outdoors a part of our home,” says Beth.

One of garden designer Ruthie Lacey’s pots, full of caladium, million bella and ivy.


The Kiblers Tips for Gardening Success

• Dead-heading and pruning
• Mosquito control
• Beware of over-watering! For example, Old Garden Roses don’t need as much water as the hybrids do. Keeping irrigation balanced with Columbia’s summer heat is the most important aspect of keeping the garden healthy.
• There is no fertilizer in the world like fresh horse manure! Beth attributes much of her success to its effectiveness.
• Making time with family and friends to slow down and enjoy it!

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