Native pines, scrub brush, and some unusual favorites survived Koon’s surgical eye. “An important aspect of my woodland garden is the poison ivy. Lots of poison ivy,” says Koon. “It is a beautiful glossy green in summer and yellowish gold and crimson in the fall. There are a few paths that can’t be walked in the summer because of the abundant poison ivy. But in the winter, after a snow fall, you’d think you were in Siberia.”
Koon always works to create year-round visual interest in his woodland. “I get excited by each element and how it contributes to the overall experience,” he says. “A recent revelation was opening up the flowering dogwoods, which I never really saw until I cleared out that portion of the property.”
The digging of a koi pond was in keeping with the couple’s urge to try new things and enjoy the fun of unexpected discoveries. The pond was a major effort, shoveling and cutting through a deep tangle of roots and vines. About a foot below the surface, Koon, Cosgrove, and Browning came upon a layer of pure white sand. Rather than cart it away, they deposited it along the edge of the pond, creating their own private beach. “On a hot summer day, we’d set up beach umbrellas, dig our toes in the sand, and drink cocktails,” says Koon.
As is the case with all koi ponds on Nantucket, this one is a magnet for blue herons. Even with a six-foot depth, it is a favorite fast food stop for the huge wading birds. Other uninvited poolside guests include deer, an issue for many island gardeners.
For years, the deer would forage at Moor’s End Farm, across the street from Koon’s garden for dinner, and then amble over to the woodland for a little dessert.