Beauty Baskets: Garden Lovers enhance town with flower displays

Published 11:00 am Sunday, May 16, 2021

There are 90 flower baskets hanging from the city polls on the Natchez bluff and in the downtown Natchez area.

These baskets were bought and placed approximately five years ago to enhance the beauty of the city resting on a bluff overlooking the mighty Mississippi river and give visitors and locals alike something to look at and smile about, said Garden Lovers of Natchez’s Marcia McCullough, who is the chairman of the Hanging Baskets Fund.

“I have seen this done in other places and it has always been a wish of mine to do them here,” she said of the baskets. “When I had the opportunity to do this project, the garden club and the City of Natchez were proud to support it. It has been a great project and people enjoy it so much.”

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However, in five years, the funds that support the upkeep of these baskets have been almost completely depleted, she said.

“People were very receptive and (using the funds raised) we took charge of having the baskets filled, usually three times a year. The city agreed to water them for us. That has gone on for a long time,” McCullough said. “Now the baskets themselves are in bad shape. They’re rusted and I need to replace some and our funds have about run out. It’s not cheap.”

This time of year, each of the baskets are filled with bright pink bubble-gum petunias.

The flowers are changed seasonally with a mixture of seasonal flowers and greenery, such as pansies and snap dragons in the winter, she said.

McCullough said the baskets cost $150 each. When the initial fundraiser for them took place in 2016, McCullough said the people of Natchez contributed between $15,000 and $20,000 to the fund, which has helped purchase and set up the baskets and keep them filled for the last five years.

“People have been generous. Anyone who would like to contribute to the fund, they can make a tax-deductible donation to the Garden Lovers of Natchez,” she said, adding the group is a registered non-profit organization. “We need to raise about $8,000 to $10,000 more for fixing or replacing the baskets.”

Garden Lovers of Natchez is an affiliate of Garden Club of America with approximately 60 local members, she said.

McCullough said donors can also make memorial donations to the basket fund in memory of a lost family member or loved one.

Anyone who would like to contribute to the fund can mail a check payable to the Garden Lovers of Natchez Basket Fund to the home of club member Phillis Mashburn at 58 Duncan Ave., Natchez, MS, 39120.

Receipts would be sent to the donors for tax purposes, McCullough said.