A botanical wonder | Sapphire, North Carolina

Written by: Marlène Osteen | Problem: 2021/10 – October

For Tim Galloway, his vibrant Sapphire Valley garden is a gateway to a peaceful state of mind.


Gary Walton and Tim Galloway

The garden at and Gary Walton’s house in Sapphire Valley is a most magical place.

Or maybe it’s best described as my editor Luke Osteen does, as “a botanical wonder”.

Tim and Gary fell in love with the mountain and its people on their first visit in 2013. When they moved into their home a few years later, they thought it would be an occasional retreat, but soon realized that they loved it more than their Florida home.

Since 2015, they have spent the hottest months here.

Gary retired from a career in teaching. He plays golf and Tim, a retired landscape architect, takes care of the garden.

“What’s different with us,” Tim tells me, “is that it’s a small lot, so the design of the garden is more intimate. And we were fortunate to start with an almost blank slate.

A travertine walkway was built from the top of the street to the front door so that guests could quietly explore the front yard.

As you walk up to the house, you feel like you’ve arrived at the perfect place at the perfect time.

Tim tells me that it takes forever for his guests to get to the front door because “they want to take everything”. Along the steps, a variety of lush plants of different shades and textures fill the spaces. The water flows and cascades gently among large, flat rocks. A small gazebo on a moss lawn adds tranquility, and bronze deer graze and add whimsy.

Gardens adorn all sides of the house. On the one hand, there is a garden for their dog, who likes to explore.

A flower garden on the other side of the house honors and commemorates Tim’s mother gardener.

Here, the mix of perennials – Black-Eyed Susans, Dahlias, and Daisies – adds sparkle and color. On the large patio at the back of the house, fertile ferns, ivy, and wandering Jews hang rafters, and begonias and impatiens spill over into containers.

Throughout the garden in containers and in the ground there are plenty of plants that Tim brought from Florida – Bromeliad, Foxtail, and Junipers. He likes to try different plants and advises: “Go out and plant; it will make you feel good.

And because he believes in working with nature and not against it, he warns: “If a plant does not fit perfectly, pull it out and put in another. “

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