If it has to be babied, Terry Rector won’t grow it

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 6, 2009

Retiree Terry Rector helped countless people over the years as our Warren County Extension agent.

His time is now devoted to his property in Bovina, and his formal education and work experiences are coming in handy. He hosted a Master Gardeners meeting and tour recently and everyone enjoyed it.

At Louisiana State, Rector learned about crops and animal husbandry, areas county agents are expected to address. One summer course he took, however, was landscape design. He was required to draw up a formal landscape plan. Neil Odenwald, a landscape authority in the South and author of numerous books, was a demanding instructor, I would imagine. That class proved to be quite useful for Rector at work and now.

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Three green ash trees plus liriope and Asiatic jasmine left over from the shade garden developed by the Warren County Master Gardeners at Crystal Springs about 15 years ago were the first things he planted on the property. The liriope inspired what he calls a blade garden, his first flower bed in what is now his front yard. The large island bed, ringed with liriope, is planted entirely with perennials with blade shaped leaves. Ornamental grasses, Louisiana iris, bearded iris, crinum lilies, garlic, gladiolas and day lilies were planted there long before any water was hooked up. All proved to be hardy.

Rector, “stumbled into finding out how hardy roses are.”

He prefers yellow, white or red. The old-fashioned antiques don’t require the attention the more modern hybrid teas do.

Rector doesn’t grow many plants that are the rage of the moment. He prefers the tough ones. If they have to be babied, he won’t grow them.

“For me, the creative aspect of gardening and the challenges presented by mistakes and how to solve them are what keep me interested,” Rector said. “Gardening guts are important. I am strictly an amateur with some on-the-job training.”

Miriam Jabour, a Master Gardener and master flower show judge, has been active with the Vicksburg Council of Garden Clubs for more than 20 years. Write to her at 1114 Windy Lake Drive, Vicksburg, MS 39183.