Landscaping Camp draws enthusiasts from across Southeast

Published 2:55 pm Monday, June 5, 2023

Jeff McManus gives tours, copies of books to participants

The 6th annual award-winning Landscaping Camp finale was a spectacular success with 55 enthusiastic campers from nine diverse states. They came from Texas, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, Georgia, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Florida and Mississippi to learn from the experts and enjoy the splendor of Oxford and the Ole Miss campus.

The camp, hosted by the Oxford-Lafayette County Economic Development Foundation’s Retiree Attraction Program, started with a scenic bus ride to the magnificent home of Dickie and Diane Scruggs. There, Jeff McManus, the acclaimed director of landscaping for the University of Mississippi, gave a fascinating tour and shared his invaluable tips on how to cope with the brutal winter, much like the one Oxford experienced as it killed many plants.

Email newsletter signup

McManus was also the keynote speaker at the opening dinner, where he talked about how he and his dedicated team maintain the campus landscape with low maintenance planting and how they collaborate with nonprofit organizations to clean up the trash after football games.

“The next day, the campers got to see the campus for themselves, as McManus led them on a personal tour of the Grove, the Lyceum and other landmarks,” said Camp Director Rosie Vassallo. “He explained how they restore the Grove after each football season and make it look stunning again.”

The camp also featured other speakers who shared their knowledge and passion for gardening. Blann Britton, a rose connoisseur from Crawfordsville, Ark., taught “how to raise roses without losing their mind,” giving various recipes for keeping roses healthy and gorgeous, including the importance of a proper watering schedule.

Zach Adamz, an international studies professor at Ole Miss and owner and executive bonsai artist at Komorebi Gardens and Bonsai, spoke about exploring the art of bonsai and showed them a large assortment of bonsai plants from his personal collection.

His wife, Lauren Adamz, a consultant for her business “Hearth and Garden,” showed them how to design a blank yard and transform it into a beautiful garden with kitchen garden boxes and lovely borders.

McManus concluded the camp with his “Prune Like a Pro” lesson, demonstrating the difference between hand pruning and using electric shears.

The campers left with gardening goodies, two books written by McManus and a lot of inspiration for their own gardens. They also expressed their gratitude to McManus for holding off on his retirement, making this finale not so final.

Presenting sponsors were The University of Mississippi, The Inn at Ole Miss, The Dabney Group, Beau Ridge, Grace Realty Group, Stages Mississippi Magazine, At Home Memphis and Mid South Magazine and Mississippi Federal Credit Union.

Hospitality sponsors providing gifts were Action Pest Control, Argent, B&B Concrete,, Oxford Eye Clinic & Optical, Michelle Mason Mortgage Advisor powered by First Commercial Bank, Shaw Hardware, Stouts Carpet & Flooring and MaxxSouth.