By GWEN SISSON
She describes it as a “pass-along garden.” Others would describe it as a cottage garden, full of charm and delight.
Emily Jones said her garden has always required “a little help from my friends.”
As the director of the Starkville Area Arts Council’s Everything Garden Expo and the new chair of SAAC’s Art in the Garden, Jones knows a lot of great garden people around town who have helped her transform her mostly-shaded lawn into a place where the infamous Deluded Diva, can relax and enjoy.
The charm and graceful elegance of the garden flow from Jones’ design aesthetic inside the older home on Montgomery Street. There is no doubt that the interior designer and the landscape designer are one in the same in this instance.
Her love for whimsy and sentimental things flows from the house to the landscape. And in keeping with her eye for design, Jones said one of her favorite plants in the garden is the old-fashion garden phlox, currently in bloom in the front lawn.
The “pass-along” aspect of the garden provides a scrapbook of stories and fond memories of friends who gave her the plant or shared a gardening tip to make that plant grow better. With great advice and plants from friends, Jones said she really didn’t begin gardening until she retired from her job as the lifestyles editor at Starkville Daily News.
She began a little at a time, working in the front first where the lawn sees a little bit of sun. Among the flowers in the front lawn, a tomato plant or two can be found.
“I can barely grow a tomato in this yard,” Jones said. “But the shade is nice and I really enjoy sitting in the backyard. When a rain shower comes through, I can sit back here and barely get wet with all the tree canopy.”
The side garden features a winding path through an arch. An old tire she has painted to serve as a garden stand at the side of the house.
But it is the tiny backyard that Jones enjoys most. The large trees and fencing provides privacy and gives an air of seclusion.
“It is like a secret garden back here,” Jones said. “It is something I really enjoy all year long. It is a fun place to escape.”
Shirley Dawkins said she finds Jones’ garden charming.
“She has a typical cottage garden and I love that look,” Dawkins said. “It is so natural.”
Dawkins said she has passed along plants to Jones and enjoys watching the plants flourishing in her garden.
Pam Jones is a friend, not a relative, who enjoys Jones’ garden throughout the year.
“I love the fact that it’s not manicured and that there are some ‘volunteers’ coming up and that she lets them thrive,” Pam Jones said. “The variety of greenery, not necessarily flowers, is also wonderful. I love passing by seeing the garden in all stages that a garden goes through as well as the seasonal decorations she adds as appropriate. Her back porch is delightful also — to sit and rock, visit with her neighbors, sip lemonade, and watch the frogs, bees, butterflies, and other activity in the garden.”