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Local Landscaping Camp to feature butterfly gardening

By Rosie Vassollo

Oxford-Lafayette Chamber of Commerce

Spring fever is definitely contagious this time of year as one yearns to plant flowers and add color to their landscape. Even more comforting is watching butterflies dance around your flowers adding a sense of ease and comfort to a hectic day.

Carson Ellis, horticulturist for the Memphis Botanic Garden will be sharing her knowledge, tips and ideas on how to make your garden enjoyable for you and butterflies at the upcoming Landscaping Camp to be held on May 26-28 at The Inn at Ole Miss hosted by the Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Foundation Retirement Attraction Program.

Ellis, who manages two gardens at the Memphis Botanic Garden, the Anne Heard Stokes Butterfly Garden and Delta Heritage Garden, is passionate about environmental sustainability and the conservation and promotion of native plant species and communities, and practices these values in her gardens. She is currently serving on the steering committee for the newly-formed Tennessee Plant Conservation Alliance and is hoping to develop the Delta Heritage Garden into a demonstration site for small-scale sustainable agriculture while continuing the expansion and development of naturalized plantings for the Anne Heard Stokes Butterfly Garden.

Before moving to Memphis in 2015, she interned at both the Asheville Arboretum and Highlands Biological Research Station in North Carolina and has an associate’s degree in Horticulture Technology from Haywood Community College, as well as a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Mount Holyoke College.

“I enjoy working in the butterfly garden because I have a lot of creative freedom, independence to research and design the plantings, and a strong sense of connection to the space,” she said. “The work as a horticulturist is not always glamorous, but having the support to bring my ideas and vision to fruition has made it a rewarding venture. I am also excited to announce that, in 2016, we were officially certified as a Monarch Waystation.”

Among other speakers planned during the camp will be Jeff McManus, whose expertise in landscaping has gained the University of Mississippi accolades of being named “The Most Beautiful Campus” by a number of national publications as well in Newsweek 2011 and just recently in USA Today’s Readers Choice competition. A personal tour is scheduled on the first day of the camp with McManus as he shares his knowledge and secrets, followed by an Opening Dinner/Book Signing where each participant will receive two books he has written.

Educational seminars that will also take place include, “How to Prune Your Shrubs,” with Jeff McManus; “Creating a Bird-Friendly Landscape,” with Mitch Robinson from the Strawberry Plains Audubon Center; and “Talking Turf” with David Jumper with the UM Golf Course as well as receive time-saving tips for a low maintenance yard. In addition, Donna Yowell, executive director, Mississippi Urban Forest Council will speak on “Cut Flower” gardening so one can snip to their heart’s content.

To top off the weekend, three tours will take place on the popular double-decker bus to the beautifully landscaped homes of Dickie and Diane Scruggs and Sam and Mary Haskell, which are both maintained by McManus, as well as a tour of Oxford.

For more information on the Landscaping Camp visit www.oxfordms.com/retire-in-oxford/landscaping-camp/ or contact Rosie Vassallo at 662-234-4651.