gardening hits and misses

If you live in central #Mississippi and are thinking of working on or creating a garden, I say go for it. The soil here seems conducive for all kinds of plants and flowers. Here are my hits and misses.

The winners:

  • In the fall and winter, pansies and violas. I planted some last October that are still buzzing along.
  • In any season, liriope/lily turf/monkey grass. This might be my favorite clumping grass. When the plant matures, you can divide it and rehome the divided section just about anywhere. It’s like a BOGO plant. Buy one now, get one (free) later. Also, these grasses require little to no maintenance. It’s the plant gift that keeps on giving.

  • In the summer, impatiens, colocasia (Elephant Ears), and Boston ferns for shady areas.

  • In sunnier areas, impatiens, begonias, coleus, and crotons. Also Kimberly Queen ferns and knockout roses.

The misses:

  • Mums. Really love how full and bushy these flowers look, but they conked out pretty quickly. I ended replacing them with pansies and violas.
  • Hydrangeas. Terribly smitten with the pink color that hydrangeas can impart with the correct acidity levels, but these annuals did not thrive in my back yard. (Perhaps because the back yard was just too shady.)

moving is

Moving is an intriguing, in-between kind of journey. I spent yesterday packing up my belongings and somehow my lovely, much loved home is now a property.

A structure with painted walls, hardwood floors, appliances, lighting, and mechanical systems. Also pipes and functional faucets. But the feel of my now house? All the cute is packed up for a different place and hopefully brighter days–fingers and toes crossed.

the idiosyncratic architecture of belhaven

If real estate sparks your interest (it sure does mine), Jackson, Mississippi’s #Belhaven neighborhood is an endless trove of Southern architecture where no two houses are the same, as far as I can tell. Sidewalks start and stop, for no reason I’m able to summon. And the houses are so wonderfully different.

There is this stately Spanish Eclectic beauty on Gillespie Street.

Belhaven 1

And this bungalow a little further down Gillespie.

Belhaven 2

This traditional home on Manship is nestled in leafy spaces.

Belhaven 3

And then this Neoclassival Revival property–Kennington’s Mansion on Carlisle–boasts a broad, grassy lawn.

Belhaven 4

If you’re thinking about calling Belhaven home, be advised that Belhaven is a historic district and subject to design guidelines, which you can access here.


a visit to greenwood in the delta

The Mississippi Delta is a big place. It encompasses more than 7,000 square miles of alluvial floodplain, stretching from Tunica in the north to Vicksburg at its southwest corner. The Delta contains some of the earth’s most fertile soil. And it’s a fertile place for the imagination if you’re the visiting type.

I like accessing the Delta through Greenwood. It’s an easy drive from Jackson, about an hour and 40 minutes. As you thread your way through Lexington and Tchula, Route 49 becomes quite flat. Cotton fields to your left and right. And then you find yourself in Greenwood. In many ways, it’s like time has stood still.

There’s Delta Feed on Main Street.

Architecture from the late 1800s persists and evolves, as this structure on Howard Street does.

If you plan on visiting Greenwood, I would aim for September when the cotton is high. To see cotton fields in the cotton capital of the world is a pretty cool experience.


bloom on, azaleas

March 2019 marks the end of my third winter in central Mississippi, and I’m embarrassed to admit this is the first time I’ve noticed all the beautiful azaleas.

This shrub produces some fantastic flowers in the most saturated colors. A bright pink, as observed on Quinn Street in #Belhaven:

And vibrant red on Whitworth Street:

And even fuchsia at the Mississippi State Capitol in downtown Jackson:

How magnificent.

jill conner browne and the sweet potato queens

Jackson is counting down to St. Patrick’s Day, or St. Paddy’s Day as it is known here. And the 2019 St. Paddy’s Day Parade on March 23 is expected to draw 75,000 visitors–pretty massive for a city of 167,000 people. Central to the St. Paddy’s Day Parade is a little somethin’ called the Sweet Potato Queens. You might be thinking, Sweet Potato Queens? Read on.

In 1983, Malcolm White (of Hal and Mal’s fame) decided a St. Paddy’s Day Parade would be fun to produce, so he did. And Jill Conner Browne, a local Jacksonian, decided to be the parade’s Sweet Potato Queen. As Browne explained to the Houston Chronicle:

You know, in the South we’ve got a beauty queen for every event, every organization, every day of the week, every food group. I was pretty far removed from the beauty queen circuit, but I just declared it [being the Sweet Potato Queen] to be so. I just found it funny, and still do.

Sweet Potato Queen

Source: Natalie Maynor via Flickr

The Sweet Potato Queens have a reputation of adding bawdy fun to the parade and since that first parade have mushroomed as a network of 6,400 chapters in 37 countries. No joking. Can’t make it to the parade next Saturday? Consider checking out New Stage Theatre’s Sweet Potato Queens: The Musical, which is based on Browne’s best-selling books and is appropriate for ages 18 plus.

boots & more on high street in jackson, mississippi

As a consumer, there are a few purchases where you might benefit from being expertly fitted. Buying cowboy boots seems to be one.

Last September I was itching for a pair of cowboy boots. I headed to the only place I could think of–Boots & More on High Street just east of downtown Jackson.


You could easily get lost in this store (big selection), but one of the staff members found me and I found these beauties, which I absolutely love. The turquoise bluebirds seem to dance across the leather. And the tiny red hearts here and there? Love.

Having never purchased cowboy boots before, I was impressed with the variety of choices. Boots are available in snip toe, rounded toe, and box toe as well as in different leathers. Think cowhide, goat, snake, ostrich, alligator. Prices also vary considerably–from a few hundred dollars to several thousand. Goodness.

Andrew Evans wrote a great article for National Geographic on what to look for when buying cowboy boots. You can access his advice here.