Master Gardeners love beautiful spaces

Published 12:09 am Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Adams County Master Gardeners, in partnership with the Natchez-Adams County Community Alliance, will kick off its new project to begin beautifying downtown Natchez at 9 a.m. Monday, Valentine’s Day.

We will meet at the corner of Rankin and Main streets. (This is the original site of the First Baptist Church, and now, through the efforts of the Master Gardeners, the newly planted Basilica Park.) We will begin the morning with a brief overview of the work to be accomplished and then set out with our clippers, rakes and trash bags to demonstrate what can be done in a few hours to spruce up downtown. We invite interested citizens to join us and show how much we love our beautiful town.

The purpose of the Adams County Master Gardeners is to promote gardening education, to encourage responsible horticultural practices, and to give service to the community.

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Therefore, not only will we be doing general maintenance work, but we will also instruct interested individuals in the proper pruning techniques to be used on several varieties of street trees. We will be working on crape myrtles, Buford hollies, cherry laurels, Japanese maples and Bradford pears.

These are all approved varieties of trees that have been planted in our downtown area. We will also be pruning some other varieties of shrubs and bushes that well-meaning business owners have planted in the tree spaces of Main Street.

With the cleanup and survey phase of the downtown plantings completed, the Master Gardeners can get on with the “heart” of their project.

We would like to enhance the beauty of downtown Natchez. This can be done with a renewed interest and care for the existing trees along our streets, as well as the replanting of trees that have been removed or otherwise damaged. We plan to plant, where possible, flowering annual and perennial varieties of Mississippi Medallion plants that have been proven to grow well in this climate. We would like to place large hanging baskets of flowers from the gas lamp light poles where appropriate.

When the Main Street phase of our project if finished, we plan to move on to Franklin Street, then to the cross streets, and finally follow the Trails Project out St. Catherine Street to the Forks of the Road.

Some are familiar or have visited cities such as Fairhope, Ala., and Natchitoches, La., where flower beds and baskets lend much to the beauty and ambience of downtown.

Ferriday was voted the Cleanest City of its size in Louisiana last year. We applaud that accomplishment and wish to do the same for downtown Natchez.

Surely we can partner together and make our downtown a more beautiful place.

On Valentine’s Day, put your “heart” into it and come out and show that you love Natchez and want to support what the Community Alliance and the Master Gardeners are trying to accomplish downtown.

Elaine Gemmell is a Master Gardener.