Wonders of the Water Garden
by Terry Baxter, Member Since 2002
Sometimes there actually are silver linings. In 1993, Hurricane Andrew devastated Ocean Reef. But amid the chaos and debris, the seeds of Ocean Reef as we know it were nurtured by the herculean effort of our leading citizens. They negotiated a buyout of the Club, raised the money to close the deal, established a membership structure, adopted bylaws, and put a new management system into place – all the while directing the repair of the massive hurricane damage. It is almost impossible to imagine the obstacles that were overcome as we enjoy our beautiful Club today.
A small sliver of the Andrew silver lining was brought home to me recently when we showed some visiting friends around The Reef and they made us stop at the Water Garden. In the year following Andrew, ORCA devoted considerable effort to restoring and upgrading our Ocean Reef landscape. One of the additions, championed by Alan and Vicki Goldstein, was the Water Garden that welcomes us home each year (replacing huge – and obsolete – satellite dishes). The Water Garden is an attractive reflecting pool with decorative fountains, but the “garden” part initially collided with ORCA’s exhausted landscape budget. To complete their vision, Alan and Vicki reached into their own pocket to buy the first group of palms that distinguishes the site today.
In the years since, Jeff Oeltjen, ORCA’s veteran Vice President of Public Works, has continued to enhance the plantings at every opportunity, but he struggled to establish a display of water lilies. “We could not get them to survive,” he lamented. Jeff tried changing the water source to improve the quality, still no luck. “We couldn’t get good lilies because of the motion of the water from the fountains,” he said. Apparently lilies are shy souls that require still waters. Jeff is not one to be dissuaded by some stubborn plants. He built an underwater wall across the pond to block the currents in the east end, and voilà, a crop of water lilies glorious enough to inspire Monet. My visiting friends were captivated and I think you will be too. Thanks ORCA, and thanks Alan and Vicki.