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MSU landscape symposium plants seeds of inspiration
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Gardeners with landscape challenges walked away with wheelbarrows full of ideas after three landscape designers shared tips at the nation’s oldest symposium of its kind.
The 58th Edward C. Martin Jr. Landscape Symposium drew more than 100 garden club members, Master Gardeners, students and design professionals to Mississippi State University Oct. 16.
Bob Brzuszek, associate Extension professor of landscape architecture brought a no-nonsense approach to selecting landscape plants. He introduced attendees to some of the hardiest plants suited to Mississippi landscapes.
“These are low-maintenance plants that you can use and abuse, but you still get terrific textures, contrasts and combinations,” Brzuszek said. “You don’t have to special order them, either. They are available at Mississippi garden centers.”
To give attendees a chance to see the plants in person, Brzuszek brought examples of several plants, such as fiber optic plant, Blue Mohawk rush, Little bluestem and Hawaiian Angel’s trumpet.
Pat Drackett, director of The Crosby Arboretum in Picayune, presented a series of solutions to common problems, such as poor drainage, limited space for entertaining and unsightly views.
“When you begin a landscape project, decide what stays and what goes,” Drackett said. “Look at what works, what you want to change and how much time and effort you want to invest in installing and maintaining your landscape. Every plant has a purpose, and I encourage you to choose plants that will improve your life, whether through their beauty, fragrance, ability to screen what you don’t want to see or to attract wildlife.”
Keynote speaker Mary Palmer Dargan inspired attendees with her vision of the landscape as a personal paradise.
“It’s time to turbocharge your landscape and create a garden you love,” Dargan said. “Everyone needs a stress-free zone at home, a utopia where your family can thrive. You can effect a transformation on your property by discovering the unique fingerprint of your garden. You can harmonize your home and land to create a special spirit of place.”
Dargan advised attendees to lay out plans for landscape changes using raw, biodegradable grits instead of paint, so they could see if their ideas would work before investing in the renovation.
She also encouraged participants to consider the health benefits of gardening, both to themselves and for native wildlife.
“We all need places to live and connect sustainably,” she said.
The event is sponsored by the MSU Department of Landscape Architecture and the Garden Clubs of Mississippi to teach the public about landscape architecture and gardening.