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Lafayette County Master Gardeners offering workshops in April

By Beckett Howorth

Are you interested in learning more about how you can get the most from your yard and garden? Gardeners and yard lovers of all experience and skill levels are invited to the Lafayette County Master Gardeners’ 10th Annual Spring Garden Series hosted by the University Museum.

Every Thursday during the month of April, a different expert will be on hand as we cover a broad group of topics ranging from growing your own vegetables to historic gardens, from good and bad bugs in the landscape to choosing and maintaining tough, low maintenance plants that work for your yard.

These free programs run from noon until 1 p.m. and conclude with drawings for garden-related door prizes. The University Museum is located at the corner of University Avenue and South Fifth Street on the eastern edge of the campus. Limited free parking will be available in the Museum lot.

The series begins on April 6 when Susan Haltom will speak on “saving your own historical garden” while discussing the experience of directing the restoration of the home garden at the Eudora Welty House and Garden in Jackson. She is the current president of the Southern Garden History Society. Haltom is also an oil and pastel artist whose other creative activities include working as curator of exhibits of the Mississippi State Historical Museum, teaching calligraphy and fine hand-sewing to adults, and teaching worm-composting to school children. She is co-author of the award-winning book, “One Writer’s Garden: Eudora Welty’s Homeplace,” University Press of Mississippi. Haltom has a degree in design from the University of Mississippi.

Dr. Blake Layton will be with us on April 13 to present, “What’s Bugging You? Insect pests on ornamental plants.” He will devote some of his time to talking about crape myrtle bark scale, an ailment now plaguing this widely grown plant. Layton is an Extension Entomology Specialist at Mississippi State University whose primary responsibilities include developing recommendations and conducting educational programs on the management and control of insect pests of ornamental crops and vegetables. He will also talk about beneficial insects. He earned his Ph.D. from LSU in 1988 and joined the MSU faculty the same year.

Dr. Jeff Wilson will be the speaker for the third program on April 20. Wilson, Regional Horticulturist with MSU Extension in Verona, brings 35 years as a horticulturist to his talk, “Eating What You Grow: Do you want to grow a vegetable garden?” Whether you are a newcomer or a veggie gardening veteran, he’s has got the answers. In addition to vegetable gardening, Wilson also has expertise with fruits, nuts, ornamentals, and greenhouses. His personal favorites in the plant world are woody ornamentals, especially those that flower and produce fruit. He has both a BS and an MS in horticulture from Auburn and a PhD in Agricultural Education from MSU.

This year’s talks will wrap up on April 27 when Nathan Lazinsky, Assistant Superintendent, Ole Miss Landscape Services, speaks on “Proven Winners: Tough, low maintenance plants that work for your yard.” Before coming to Oxford, he operated his own landscaping business for 14 years. He is a Licensed Landscape Horticulturist and an International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborist with a Tree Risk Certification. His specialty is in ornamental plants and trees; he spends a lot of his time assessing the thousands of trees on campus and scheduling their planting, pruning and maintenance.