A garden in Sleepy Hollow becomes a showcase for Asian and French art – Marin Independent Journal


Neither Terry nor Kathryn Cox had any gardening experience growing up. The experience would come later, in 2005, once they had moved from their Sausalito houseboat to a Sleepy Hollow home with an expansive backyard.

The new garden, they thought, was perfect for them. It wasn’t too big and had a lot of potential although when they first saw it it was tired with an old cracked concrete patio, weeds and shapeless shrubs overgrown. vegetation.

And they figured that once they replaced the old patio with golden Arizona flagstones and the overgrown shrubbery with neatly trimmed new trees and plants, it would make a wonderful showcase for their beloved collection of large sculptures in wood and bronze from their travels in Southeast Asia and France.

Terry Cox, maritime lawyer and for 30 years backstage liaison artist at the Monterey Jazz Festival grew up in Marin and made his first trip to Southeast Asia in 1978. Since 1988, when he met Kathryn, a native of Mercer Island in Washington who trained at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music before retiring from KGO-TV, the two have made more than a dozen trips to the region, including Thailand, but also Bali and Cambodia.

“They seem to have the most graceful and welcoming cultures, and no accident, some of the most graceful and beautiful woodcarvings,” he says. “It’s our favorite corner of the world because it’s so steeped in ancient art, culture, mystery and beauty.”

Ten intriguing sculptures now adorn the Cox Garden, with thoughtful plantings and prunings designed to complement them.

Among the couple’s favorites are two life-size stone Javanese female figures that flank the trellis at the entrance to the pool.

“We place flower offerings on the figurines every day, as is done in every house in Bali,” he says.

They also treasure their large wooden Thai Spirit House from Chiang Mai, Thailand, and a 4-foot-tall bronze Buddha from Bangkok.

“We bought each piece of art in person, in their country of origin, mainly in Thailand and Bali, and we shipped each piece in wooden crates by slow ships, with the crates arriving at our barge three to 10 months later,” she says.

Photo by Terry Cox

Among Terry and Kathryn Cox’s favorite statues are two life-size stone Javanese female figures that flank the trellis at the entrance to the pool.

Another favorite sculpture from France occupies a special place in the garden. The white stone sculpture of the couple’s hands, quarried from the Luberon in Provence and carved by a French sculptor friend, was a wedding gift when the couple married in Aix-en-Provence, France.

When it came to pairing the sculptures with the plants, he says, “Our most sensible concept was to place our new plants in such a way that they best complement and display our outdoor sculptures.

They picked the plants slowly over the years. There are trees, including citrus (the fruit of which the Coxes use in their cooking), maples, white oak, and the Breath of Heaven shrub, which they say is particularly flattering to their carvings.

Large trees along the perimeter provide privacy, provide haven for birds and give those in the garden a feeling of an oasis.

The foliage plants between the pool and the patio are drought tolerant and most of the lawn has been replaced with mini clover” which is wonderfully green and drought tolerant requiring only a fraction of the water needed for the grass. We’ll soon have the lawn completely converted to mini clover,” he says.

“We soon realized that focusing only on planting, or only on sculptures, would result in our garden not being integrated,” he says. “We came to understand that we should see our whole backyard as an artistic palace that should blend together to become cohesive.”

An artistic eye made it cohesive, but a stone pizza oven and barbecue for cooking, a sauna for relaxing and a wisteria-covered cottage for watching movies made the garden even more inviting.

“Our 10-foot-long outdoor dining table, crafted in Java from 110-year-old petrified teak wood, has been the centerpiece of countless dinner parties that lasted late into warm summer evenings,” he said. “We did this to carry on the spirit of the alfresco dinners that our French friends hosted and continued until midnight, which is commonly done in the south of France where we were married.”

Terry and Kathryn Cox's 10-foot-long outdoor dining table has been the centerpiece of many parties.  (Photo by Terry Cox)

Photo by Terry Cox

Terry and Kathryn Cox’s 10-foot-long outdoor dining table has been the centerpiece of many parties.

Guests enjoyed the talents of local musicians. “All of the above has caused our friends and loved ones to commonly refer to our backyard as ‘the resort’,” she says.

“When we spend time in our garden, we don’t just recall good memories,” she says. “We really look at the fabric of our lives together.”

Show off

If you have a beautiful or interesting Marin garden or a newly designed Marin house, I would love to hear about it.

Please send an email describing one (or both), what you like best, and a photo or two. I will publish the best in the next columns. Your name will be published and you must be over 18 and a resident of Marin.

A personal note: If you recently emailed me but haven’t received a response, please resend it. I encountered messaging problems. I would appreciate it. Thanks.

PJ Bremier writes about home, garden, design and entertainment topics every Saturday. She can be contacted at PO Box 412, Kentfield 94914, or at [email protected]


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