Ron Ernst has his ducks in a row. Nearly 10 years ago, he bought an 1891 two-story town house in Thomasville, Georgia, and converted it into A Different Drummer Gallery, an antiques store specializing in sporting art to serve the town's avid hunting and fishing community. The house came with a bonus—a beautiful little walled garden out back that he could share with his customers.
Shaped by evergreens, the garden looks good year-round.
Five evergreen trees frame the garden. Two Southern sweet bays (Magnolia virginiana australis) flank the back porch. A trio of cabbage palms (Sabal palmetto) adds a vertical dimension. Neatly clipped Japanese boxwoods with azaleas behind them border a zoysia grass lawn in the center. Confederate jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) and climbing roses beside and above a fountain in the back provide fragrance and color.
An ornate fountain and fish pond sits on axis with the French doors. Two small sheds with copper roofs and hunter green doors rest on either side. Pots of roses and dwarf butterfly bushes decorate the back steps, while white bougainvillea cascades from the balcony overhead. Stone pavers edge the tidy lawn, helping keep the zoysia in place.
To make a small area look bigger, remove the lower branches that are growing at the sides of large shrubs, up to a height of 3 to 4 feet. Leave single or multiple trunks with branches and foliage only at the top. Good candidates for this treatment include chaste tree, loropetalum, crepe myrtle, "Pee Gee" hydrangea, holly, podocarpus, tea (or sweet) olive, Japanese pittosporum, sasanqua camellia, and wax myrtle.