Art in the Details: Elysian Gardens

HOME---OpenerWhen nature lovers of the All Saints Garden Tour arrive at the Rose Hill home of Alex Kasten, they’ll soon discover that this art lover has taken his discerning eye for line, form, and beauty and turned it into a backyard masterpiece drenched in Mediterranean appeal. He calls this deep emerald temple “Elysian Gardens.”

With landscape designer Patrick Judd, Kasten has surrounded his home with small elements of visual punch, curved walls that guide the eye from one botanical wonder to the next, and an oasis of peace and tranquility that would make the Gods jealous.  

 Part of the beauty of Elysian Gardens lies in its blending of winding bricks, architectural interest and Greek-inspired artwork against loosely laid out lush green foliage. This dichotomy is by design.

“You see those elements juxtaposed against each other and you get a comforting feeling,” Judd said. “There’s a lot of layering, a lot of textures.”

What you won’t see is a lot of color, as Rose Hill’s deer made short work of anything that wasn’t green. To combat the deer, Judd planted foxtail ferns, podocarpus, boxwoods, cardboard palm, mahonia, and papyrus, among others. 


While the garden is a creative collaboration between Kasten and Judd, its heart and soul reflects Kasten’s artistic spirit and deep abiding faith. An avid art collector, Kasten’s collections tour the world in different museums, and he’s even written a book on the subject of art appreciation. It’s a mentality he’s taken outside.  


“You can take a modern artist with 3 or 4 cans of paint, they can lay it down and skate on it and have a painting,” he said. “Then you have the artist who’s very careful in the construction so everything is in harmony. That’s the way you plan a garden.”


He points to spots where he’d like to plant a bench so the point of view lines up with a roofline and the twisting branch of a live oak, describing each with an artist’s eye.


“We’re going to design a plan so that people on the tour can have photo opportunities,” he added. “People love photos.”


You can tour Elysian Gardens, plus five other amazing gardens, during the All Saints Garden Tour, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. May 18. Tickets are $30 and include lunch, with all proceeds going to charity. Call 843-645-4111 for details.