Miss. gardening community lacking – Jackson Clarion Ledger
There is a kinda sad state of garden affairs in my beloved home state.
Warning: Sour grapes ahead.
Since retirement from MSU Extension, I have been super busy traveling around and abroad, visiting and lecturing at botanic gardens and plant shows and working with talented folks who would love to bring their unique insights to Mississippi. But truth is, there are only a few somewhat small venues for garden learning — no big botanical gardens, no overall effort to bring good stuff here.
Sure, there are lots of small events here and there, brought about by garden clubs, Master Gardener groups and plant societies. These pot shots at garden education are often outstanding, but they are scattered, stand-alone affairs, rarely connected with one another like so many music or food festivals. The overall effect is distinctly incoherent.
I walked through Mynelle Gardens in Jackson this weekend with an English garden expert, one with whom I have visited many gardens around the world. And she agreed that the estate garden is nice, easy to get around and with some very good specimen plants.
Not to say the maintenance workers there aren’t doing their jobs, but she did note a few little things that could be done to make huge improvements in presentation, easily identified by anyone with an eye for this sort of thing and actually sees what they are looking at. And she said it could use more Southern artwork to bring out its soul and make it distinguishable from other estate gardens scattered around the world.
It has been clearly pointed out that this is not my business. But somebody’s got to say something. So here is the sour grapes part.
With the exception of Crosby Arboretum, we have no professional botanical garden with real credentials. No professionally-managed garden with a long term plan for exceptional plants to be displayed in a learning setting. No central place to hold regular meetings of gardeners so we can learn from one another and outside experts. No outreach, no forward movement.
It is sad that we have no great central venue for horticulture and garden education.
To email Felder Rushing, go to www.felderrushing.net.
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