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.
Low oxygen in the water caused by opening the gates at the Steele Bayou Control Structure is believed to be... read more