By GWEN SISSON
Despite quite a few challenges, Pam Jones has managed to do a whole lot with little.
The tiny space and the extremely vertical backyard landscape would be a challenge for most ordinary gardeners, but Jones has created a backyard retreat that brings delight to the birds and creates a relaxing space to unwind. And with large windows in the back of the house, the landscaping creates a beautiful backdrop for her interior decor. Standing in her kitchen, visitors can look out on the waterfall and the knockout roses tucked into a retaining wall garden.
When Jones lived in Kentucky, she said the front yard was very steep and the landscaper suggested a tiered retaining wall with room for plants on three levels and she I loved the way it turned out.
Returning to Starkville and a new home, she saw the possibility for the tiered retaining wall for the backyard on a much smaller scale. She called Four Seasons and Adam Brown came over to discuss the possibilities.
“I roughly knew I wanted cut flowers on one side and herbs on the other,” Jones said. “When he saw the hillside, he insisted that I add the water feature. I told him I couldn’t afford it, and he said, you can’t afford NOT to with this setting. I am so glad he talked me into it.”
Jones’ favorite spot in the garden is now the waterfall. She can sit at her kitchen table and view the waterfall and much of the garden, as well as garden visitors such as birds and butterflies.
“I enjoy a cup of coffee first thing in the morning sitting right in front of it nearly every weekend,”Jones said. “In the afternoons, I love sitting with friends in my outdoor living room under the arbor where there is lots of shade from the arbor as well as the huge oak tree in my neighbor’s backyard. I can hear the waterfall anytime I’m in the sun room or in the backyard.”
The small pathway between her home and the neighbor showcases a variety of plantings and large pots leading to a wooden trellis with a view of the fountain.
The small front yard is highlighted by a variety of zinnias that are providing vibrant color and texture to the beds.
“I love all my plants, but the zinnia’s have been beautiful and seeing them every time I drive up makes me smile,” Jones said. “I also love the trailing pink and green variegated ivy that I have in two or three pots. My two angel wing begonias have been full and gorgeous all summer. This is their third summer and I just cut them back in the fall and put them in the sun room.”
Emily Jones, one of Jones’ best friends, said she can’t believe what she has done in such a very small space.
“The water feature and vertical planting above the retaining wall were brilliant ideas — and best of all, she is one of those gardeners who shares her plant materials,” Emily Jones said.
In 2009, Jones’ small garden was featured on the Art in the Garden Tour, sponsored by the Starkville Area Arts Council.
Wanda Thorne, former chair of AITG, said Jones’ garden was exceptionally charming.
“I love her water feature and the upper level garden,” Thorne said.