Catherine Smith enjoys ‘playing’ in flower garden

Published 10:13 am Monday, June 19, 2017

Just four short years ago, there were only two things growing in Catherine Smith’s fenced-in backyard: confederate jasmine vines and a lonely sweet olive tree. Fast forward to 2017, and the backyard now boasts an almost staggering array of colorful flowers. The garden now consists of a variety of perennials and annuals such as camellias, azaleas, black-eyed Susan’s, veronica, cross vine and many others.

“There’s a little bit of everything,” Smith said. “Real good mix of perennials and annuals.”

At a glance, it would seem that the garden would be the piece de resistance of a professional horticulturist who studied the craft for the majority of their life. In reality, the garden is the product of Ole Miss alum that first started gardening in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1998.

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“Never planted a plant until 1998. I had bought my first house and I inherited a yard that belonged to a master gardener, so I had to learn to maintain,” Smith said. “And I just learned to garden from there.”

Despite the success of the garden, there were some failures during the growing process.

“I’ve learned from trial and error,” laughed Smith. “If I had a dime for every plant I bought that didn’t survive, I would be rich!”

It also takes a great deal of effort to achieve a garden like Catherine Smith’s.

“I probably spend 12 hours a week in my yard at least,” she said.

Smith describes her garden as an extension of her house.

“That’s how I feel about the yard; that it’s another room. I sit on the patio almost every afternoon.”

Despite her achievements in gardening, Smith remains humble. When asked if she thought she had the best garden in Oxford, she laughed.

“Oh gosh no!” she said. “I think it’s pretty but I think there are lots of beautiful yards in Oxford. I’m not a professional. I just play at it.”