Pretty in Pink

The Reese Home in Coral Gables is all About the Blossoms. And the Green Walls

By Karen Buchsbaum

June 2019

Concealed behind a stately 1926 historic Gables home is a lovely hidden garden retreat. When Barbara and William (Bill) Reese moved into their home almost 30 years ago there was no artistry to the yard. From the beautiful doors and windows in the home, you could see straight through to the blank walls of surrounding neighbors’ properties.

Barbara began to work her magic, at first planting travelers’ palms for privacy and each fall putting in lots of her favorite pink impatiens. In keeping with her passion for butterflies, a butterfly garden was added, along with ginger, heliconia, and birds of paradise. Bright bougainvillea and purple clusters of ground orchids filled gaps, their color dappling the lush, dark green trees around the perimeter.

Even after the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma and then the passing of her husband, Barbara continued giving the yard loving attention. “Gardens re-grow,” explains Barbara. And grow it did, in time this past year for its next starring role as the setting for her older daughter’s wedding. It was the perfect spot for a special wedding “reveal,” when the bride and groom share their first moments before their ceremony.

At night the space is transformed with hundreds of glittering white lights, creating a magical ambiance. Whether by twinkling lights or sunshine, the garden has been a special space for hosting many community and charitable luncheons, dinners and events held by the philanthropic Reese family.

Contemplating the changes in her home over the decades, Barbara smiles and speaks of the Valentine’s Day tradition she and her late husband shared: Joe’s Stone Crabs takeout and some bubbly in their beautiful private garden, underneath the twinkling lights. Why leave the perfect oasis?