Jim Powell of Jackson Mississippi

whose cottage garden has been featured in Southern Living magazine, House and Garden magazine, and garden television programs.

Longtime friend Jim has been working most of his adult life to bring color and texture - and art and all that entails - to his double cottage garden in the inner city Jackson neighborhood where he was raised. He has heirloom "passalong" plants that were once popular, but fell by the wayside of popular culture; now many are coming back into gardens because of their beauty, durability, ease of growth, and cultural significance. His tiny front-yard collection, which also features garden art, includes flowers from his ancestors, as well as some from my own mother's, grandmother's, and great-grandmother's garden. He is always willing to try new varieties of old plants, and we share with one another and in turn with our own neighbors.

 

A TRUE black cottage and garden in Jackson, Mississippi

(it's painted black)

 

Jim's overstuffed garden is an oasis of color, art, history, and culture in an otherwise bland neighborhood - as these two houses next to Jim can attest. It offers an exhuberant ray of hope and life.

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Mirrors - which for thousands of years were thought to be useful in keeping away bad spirits - reflect color and motion and give the garden the illusion of being much larger. Some have jagged edges but deliver subtle messages open to various interpretations, including as a warning about the fragility of life.

Oddly enough, my own garden has broken mirrors near the street; in fact, Jim and I have often been surprised at the way we do the same general things in our gardens, unaware that the other was doing the same thing. We were featured together in the prestigous House and Garden magazine for the similarities in style, plants, color, art, and philosophy.

Cool front porch has welcoming chairs for his many visitors

 

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Vines help create an atmoshere for contemplation

African and South Carolina "Low Country" art surrounds Powell's home

 

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Jim is constantly tweaking, adding, editing his garden to keep it looking great in every season. I call him a "transcendent" gardener because he uses his surroundiongs to learn and to inspire others.