MSU landscape wins top prize

A Mississippi State University experiment station recently won first place in a North American landscape design competition.

The South Mississippi Branch Experiment Station in Poplarville took top honors in the first annual All-America Selections’ Landscape Design Contest.

“We were thrilled and honored to have been selected from among several AAS display gardens in the United States and Canada,” said Gene Blythe, MSU assistant research professor of horticulture. “We used the planting beds in the station’s rose garden to more closely resemble a home garden so visitors could easily envision ways to use AAS flower and vegetable winners in their gardens.”

Blythe said the station’s design theme, “Bridging the Seasons with All-America Selections,” demonstrated an ever-changing display of color and form throughout the year.

All-America Selections opened the contest to the more than 180 AAS display gardens across the United States and Canada in honor of the organization’s 80th anniversary. Scoring criteria were based on the quality and creative use of AAS plant winners, overall attractiveness of the design, promotion of the display, photo quality and design description.

The South Mississippi Branch Experiment Station used 57 different AAS winners spanning the organization’s 80-year history, from the 1934 winner, ‘Chrysantha’ calendula, to the 2013 winners, ‘South Pacific Scarlet’ canna and ‘Cheyenne Spirit’ coneflower.

“The South Mississippi Branch Experiment Station did a fantastic job of changing their plantings of AAS winners according to the season,” AAS said in a press release announcing the winners. “The judges noted how precise Mississippi State University was in their labeling of AAS winners, the pleasing plantings, the orderly submission of contest materials, the high quality photos and the Southern Gardening video produced by the MSU Extension Service.”

The South Mississippi Branch Experiment Station is part of the Coastal Research and Extension Center and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. The station’s trial and display gardens are open to the public free of charge year-round.

Susan Collins-Smith | MSU Ag Communications

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