Meet A Master Gardener: Denise Best
By MARCI MOORE, Coweta Master Gardener Extension Volunteer
If you have met a Coweta master gardener with a wonderful accent–not a typical Southern accent, but a South African accent–you have met Denise Best.
Denise graduated in the master gardener class of 2000. She and her husband, Alasdair, moved to Coweta County in 1998 when Alasdair was transferred with his job with an airfreight logistics company. In preparation for the arrival of Denise and their two Weimaraners, Alasdair purchased their first new home, and a yard in need of landscaping and a garden! They were starting with a blank canvas and had to decide what to do with their acre.
What they have accomplished astonished me on my afternoon visit. Walking the intricate paths through multiple “rooms” in their garden, each area has its own personality. The tour of their gardens was like walking through a park and taking in so many beautiful sights yet not having enough time to really sit and enjoy–but I have been promised a future visit to enjoy overlooking the back terraces and rose garden while listening to the waterfalls. Alasdair and Denise built the beautiful hillside and pond with discarded rocks from construction sites. Denise also laid the bricks to her exacting standards in her elegant rose garden.
Denise grew up spending much time working with her father in the garage and learning to be strong with her “I can do anything” attitude she was blessed with from her Mother.
Alasdair retired at the end of 2017 and has taught himself to do ironwork and has welded intricate fencing, obelisks for climbing roses, and decorative windows and door trims in what they call their “Ruined Wall”, which is a delightful addition to their gardens. Beautiful columns and blown glass pieces of art are scattered in the picturesque setting.
The Best’s gardens have been part of the Coweta MGEV Garden Tour and have been featured on the cover of Coweta Living Magazine. Denise and Alasdair’s gardens have Solomon seal, trillium, winter sweet, witch hazel, camellias, azaleas, hydrangeas, foxgloves, kerria, dogwoods, a multitude of beautiful trees and an impressive 30 ft. long evergreen clematis that covers a fence and provides privacy. When you look along the paths there is another surprise–growing between the paths are multitudes of bulbs pushing their way to the sunshine. The birds have decided this place is the “Best” sanctuary.
Denise has a wide variety of talents that she shares with other gardeners. She participates with “Ask the Master Gardener” booths, garden tours, homeowner site visits and the master gardener “help desk” at the Extension office.
Denise and I met while making live Christmas wreaths, and she is the leader of this fun fundraiser. Did I mention that she also fosters Weimaraners for the Atlanta Weimaraner Club Rescue? This is one busy lady!
In fact, Denise organized the first master gardener overseas garden tour to the United Kingdom (UK) in 2004. The tour included famous beautiful villages of the Cotswolds, the coastlines of Cornwall and the country of Scotland. As a South African with intimate knowledge of the region, Denise has guided and curated many other tours to SouthernAfrica through her business “The Best Tours.”
So if you meet a master gardener with a delightful accent, introduce yourself to Denise and pick her brain about gardening and world travel. She is a wealth of information, and we are proud that she is a part of our Coweta County community.