JCJC Gardening Symposium features Southern Gardener Felder Rushing

Written By: Rebecca Patrick
Email Address: rebecca.patrick@jcjc.edu
Date Submitted: 2011-04-11 14:26:26

ELLISVILLE – South Mississippi has enjoyed several weeks of unseasonably warm spring weather, which has allowed many Southern gardeners to get a head start on their lawn and garden chores.

To help everyone continue to enjoy the fruits of their labors, the Jones County Junior College Foundation, Inc. is hosting its fifth annual Gardening Symposium Thursday, April 28, from 8 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. in the Ronald E. Whitehead Advanced Technology Center. The cost for those registering by April 20 is $50 ($60 thereafter) and includes workshops, lectures and lunch.  
All proceeds from the symposium will go towards scholarships and other needs of the JCJC Horticulture Program.
“Gardens these days come in all shapes, sizes and types,” explained Caroline Ramagos, executive director of the JCJC Foundation. “People have flower gardens, vegetable gardens and even water gardens. Our symposium will offer handy, practical tips on all of these and much more.”
William Brewer, owner and lead designer of Cardinal Flowers, Inc. in Gulfport, will open the symposium, while the afternoon’s keynote speaker will be Felder Rushing who recently retired from the Mississippi Extension Service as the state’s leading consumer horticulturist.
“We are pleased to have two men who are considered experts in the field of gardening scheduled to inspire us with their unique and innovative ideas,” Ramagos said.
Designed to help gardening enthusiasts enjoy this pastime even more, the symposium features five breakout sessions. Participants may choose to attend four of the five.
Topics and the presenters for each are as follows: “Homeowner’s Guide to Landscape Maintenance” by Paula Pettis of Prissy Pots in Gulfport; “Native Plants for the Landscape” by Tommy Dodd of Dodd & Dodd Nursery, Inc. in Semmes, AL; “Changing Vegetable Garden Paradigm” by Dr. Gary Bachman of the Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi; “Water Features” by Nick Altmyer of Blooms & Bushes in Hattiesburg; and “Home Vegetable Gardening in Small Spaces” by Gene and Jan Harlow who are home gardeners in Laurel.
“These speakers all bring a tremendous amount of experience and information to the symposium,” said Ramagos. “I believe that, once again, participants will find that we are offering a little something for everyone.” 
To open the event, Brewer will discuss “Southern Garden Designs.” The three-time Mississippi Florist Association Designer of the Year has been designing for 30 years. Brewer is a two-time winner of the America’s Cup sponsored by FTD District 11-M. His projects show a particular passion for floral designs that replicate nature. He also features a design influence of Ikebana blended with the Southern gardens of the true South.
Following Brewer’s talk, participants will move to the various breakout sessions. After lunch all participants will gather back in the main auditorium to listen to Rushing’s keynote presentation, “Whimsical Gardening in the South.”
This is a subject near and dear to his heart as Rushing’s quirky, overstuffed cottage garden in Jackson has been featured in many magazines including “Southern Living,” “Garden Design,” “Horticulture,” “Landscape Architecture,” “House and Garden,” “Better Homes and Gardens” and “The New York Times.”
Believing that too many of his fellow horticulturists complicate things unnecessarily, Rushing says that we are “daunted, not dumb.” As a result, he has spent a lifetime trying to make gardening as easy as it is fun.
Rushing has appeared on HGTV, Mississippi Public Broadcasting and The Discovery Channel. He pens gardening columns in the Jackson “Clarion-Ledger” and the Memphis “Commercial Appeal.”
Additionally, he has studied gardens all around the world and lectures in 20 or more states each year. His articles and photographs have appeared in hundreds of issues of more than 20 magazines including “National Geographic,” “Country Living Gardening,” “Fine Gardening” and “Garden Design.”
At the conclusion of Rushing’s presentation, the JCJC Horticulture Department will hold a plant sale on the front sidewalk of the Whitehead ATC.
For registration information or special accommodations, call 601-477-4145 or e-mail foundation@jcjc.edu. Registration forms are also available on the JCJC web site, www.jcjc.edu.
***DIRECTIONS: The Whitehead Advanced Technology Center is located 17 miles north of Hattiesburg, MS and 15 miles south of Laurel, MS just off Interstate 59 at Exit 85. From Hattiesburg, take Exit 85 turn right and take the first right. From Laurel, take Exit 85, turn left, go across the interstate and take the first right. The ATC is approximately one-quarter mile on the right.


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