THE CUMMER AMELIA GARDEN WALK SERIES…DOUG AND AMY WILSTERMAN GARDEN


The much anticipated Cummer Amelia Garden Walk held in April was a great success and raised funds to provide school tours for all Nassau County third- and fourth-grade students to the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, which both enriches their curriculum and broadens their worldview.

The Cummer Amelia Garden Walk  included a walking tour of four beautiful home gardens, each with its own unique charm. Art demonstrations, live music, master gardener instruction, and refreshments were provided along the tour route.

The second featured garden in The Garden Walk Tour….

Doug and Amy Wilsterman

All photos by Susan Scarborough.

Doug and Amy Wilsterman with favorite cedar tree photo by Susan Scarborouigh

The Wilsterman home, custom built in 1982, underwent a major renovation and expansion in 2004.  The original home made a cameo appearance in the 2002 film, “Sunshine State.”  Doug and Amy Wilsterman, owners since spring of 2015, have worked to maintain and enhance the property with many attractive landscape additions.  Situated on Walker’s Creek, this distinctive property offers a private setting amid the natural beauty of the Amelia Island maritime forest. 

Wilsterman giant oak in the marsh photo by Susan Scarborough

The house is nestled among intricately gnarled oak trees, as well as hickory, cedar, holly, saw palmetto, and other naturally occurring flora.  The backyard is home to a spectacular variety of birds, including cardinals, woodpeckers, hummingbirds, painted buntings, owls, and osprey-not to mention squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, and armadillos. 

Amy and Dough's shady deck among the oaks photo by Susan Scarborough

Shrubs, roses, perennials, and potted plants dot the meandering steppingstone pathways that lead to stunning and ever-changing views of the Intracoastal Waterway and salt marsh.

Wilsterman back yard with tomato plants photo by Susan Scarborough

Geraniums, ornamental ginger, and overhanging jasmine surround the inviting spa, complete with a tranquil waterfall feature.  The newly renovated deep water dock is an ideal spot for kayaking, fishing, crabbing, and viewing dramatic sunsets.

Wilsterman Spa photo by Susan Scarborough

Water feature Wilsterman spa photo by Susan Scarborough

During the past 3 years, the Wilsterman’s garden has evolved as they have strived to maintain and enhance much of what was present, while adding their own personal touches.

Doug and Amy’s first project was the addition of an outdoor shower, steps away from the often-used hot tub.  They chose IPE, an eco-friendly, durable Brazilian hardwood with an overall louvered design, which allows users to enjoy sweeping views of the marsh from inside the enclosure.  This new area presented an ideal space to landscape with sun and water loving plants and flowers, including roses, geraniums, hibiscus, dwarf oleander and giant papyrus for added privacy.

Amy Wilsterman peeking out of outdoor shower photo by Susan Scarborough

It was important to the Wilstermans to include a little something from their many years of living in the Northeast.  They have a long family tradition of growing tomatoes that began back in NJ, also known as the “Garden State.”  Aside from nostalgia they think the tomato plants add some unusual texture and color throughout the growing season, not to mention a delicious addition to summer soups and salads.  Some favorite varieties include:  Rutger Heirloom, Better Boy Hybrid, Early Girl and Sweet 100 Cherry tomatoes.

Wilsterman's tomato plants from New Jersey photo by Susan Scarborough

For the Cummer Garden Walk they concentrated on the neglected gated courtyard  they nicknamed, “The Garden of Good & Evil.”  Since it is primarily a shade garden, the plants tend to be somewhat eclectic and “evil” in nature including, Mona Lavender, Coleus & Rattlesnake plant.  In Contrast, the potted red hibiscus and jasmine covered trellis reminds them of all that is “good.”  Needless to say, this area has definitely become a conversation starter and everyone seems to have an opinion, good or evil!

courtyard entrance photo by Susan Scarborough

Wilsterman's courtyard gate black and white photo by Susan Scarborough

Wilsterman path photo by Susan Scarborough

Thank you to Amy and Doug Wilsterman for sharing their garden in the Cummer Amelia Garden Tour.

Doug and Amy Wilsterman on dock photo by Susan Scarborough

Photos courtesy of Susan Scarborough Photography smittenm.com

Styling Kathy Miller kathymillertime.com

For more on the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, visit cummermuseum.org or

to learn how to become part of the Cummer Amelia group visit cummermuseum.org/amelia

Click here to read more about the Cummer Garden Reconstruction Fund and donate if you can!

Come celebrate with me.  I’ll save you a seat in the garden.

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