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The Ivy Place named finalist in Christmas at the Mansion competition

Mississippi’s First Lady Elle Reeves wanted to honor first responders and frontline workers and in doing so decided to hold a competition to decorate the Governor’s Mansion.

The Christmas at the Mansion competition gave florists across the state the opportunity to submit ideas for the mansion with the decorating emphasis geared towards those who have put the needs of others before themselves.

Reeves received dozens of submissions, including from The Ivy Place in Vicksburg, owned by Geni Fulcher, which was later selected among the final five finalists.

“It was great to be named a finalist. This is a very big honor and I was floored,” Fulcher said. She said the competition was posted on the First Lady’s Facebook page back in the summer.

Decorations for the mansion include the exterior of the home as well as the interior.

Fulcher said she and her staff decided to compete, thinking it would “be something fun to do.”

With the focus on the frontline workers who have given tirelessly during the COVID-19 pandemic, Fulcher said she also wanted to keep in mind the reason for the season.

The Bible verse John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends,” was used as inspiration.

“This is how God shows his love to us and it is how we are to show our love to others,” Fulcher said.

And with this in mind, Fulcher and her staff put together sketches and photographs of their ideas.

Once everything was pulled together and ready to go, Fulcher said, she then had to make a presentation at the mansion.

Fulcher laughed and said, “I had to put on my Ralph Null smile and go with it.”

Null, who was the director of the Retail Floral Design program at Mississippi State University when Fulcher was a student at the school, is an internationally recognized leader in floral arts and retail floriculture. His floral creations have appeared in many national and international publications as well as White House state dinners, presidential inaugurals and windows of Saks Fifth Avenue. Fulcher said she and Null have remained friends and keep in touch regularly.

In addition to The Ivy Place, those named as finalists included The Willow Blu in Richland, Elaine Anders Designs in Brookhaven, Designs by Gail Manton in Brandon and Corinth Flowers in Corinth.

“This was such a great thing for our state to do,” Fulcher said. “And Elee is doing a wonderful job.”

In addition to the Christmas at the Mansion competition, Reeves chooses a different florist every month to provide flowers for the Governor’s Mansion. Fulcher was chosen for the month of September and for January 2021.

“This has been so good for our industry because we have all been so dependent on events and this has given us a little lift,” Fulcher said.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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