I grew up in Starkville, Mississippi and earned a B.S. in Horticulture from Mississippi State University. After graduation I worked in the field for 6 years before accepting a teaching position at Meridian Community College. I taught Horticulture there for 26 years and received awards for my work. I was blessed to have many fine students who have gone on to become Green Industry professionals. I retired in June 2009.
During my tenure at MCC, I opened a retail mail order nursery called Flowerplace Plant Farm. The nursery specialized in native plants, perennials and tough old fashioned flowers from 1985 until 1993. We got a lot of positive press and sold tons of plants. In the end, I came to the realization that the work load was killing me and I chose to continue my teaching job and disband the nursery.
During my career, I have spoken to many regional and state conferences including Garden Clubs of Mississippi Landscape Design Seminar, Gulf Coast Native Plant Conference, Mid South Native Plant Conference, Landscaping with Native Plants (the Cullowhee Conference), Mississippi State Master Gardener’s Conference, Texas Native Plant Conference, New Orleans Old Garden Rose Society, Crosby Arboretum and New Orleans Botanical Gardens Spring Garden Festival.
I have written articles for Mississippi Gardener, Mississippi Native Plant Society Newsletter and Fine Gardening. I published a gardening newsletter called Garden Paths for three years. I was a gardening columnist for the Meridian Star for too many years to count. I am the author of a gardening book called Basic Gardening – A Guide for the Deep South and have developed a web site at www.gailbarton.com .
I am recent past President of the Mississippi Native Plant Society. I currently serve as Trips Chair for MNPS.
I live with my friend-husband, Richard Lowery, on 6 acres of land in Meridian, Mississippi. We have an intimate relationship with the land and enjoy exploring it with our six dogs. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, cooking, photography, woodworking, music, dancing and bonfires.
My biggest challenge now is to figure out how to manage my time without a boss to tell me what to do. I’ve been surprisingly busy since retirement – mostly working as a Horticulture Consultant, Gardening Coach, Landscape Designer and Contract Grower of wildflower plugs. I also continue to work as a garden writer and speaker.
My personal goal is to build my dream garden and to slow down and enjoy the process. I will use this blog to document my progress as I attempt to enjoy my garden and the natural world every day.