NATCHEZ IS A MUST VISIT IN JULY
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Dedicated Natchez master gardeners and citizens have long invested in the town's natural beauty and each July brings a full-on show with thousands of crepe myrtle trees reaching peak bloom season.
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I'm a longtime fan of the architecture and genuine hospitality Natchez offers. But in July of 2018, I was completely caught off-guard. I was stunned by the intense array of blooms! So, I asked around to understand how this happened, and a planned effort came clear. In addition to the ongoing commitment of its citizenry, Sallie Ballard, the architect of 2000 for 2000, funded planting of well over 2000 crepe myrtles for the millennium!
Instantly, I thought there needed to be a festival to draw attention to the extraordinary beauty of Natchez. And with plenty of help, I founded it! We met with Visit Natchez, the Chamber of Commerce, Master Gardeners and other Crepe Myrtle fans.
In 2019, we held the Natchez International Crepe Myrtle Festival. We had speakers and social events, and visitors were drawn to Natchez to Celebrate the Blooms. We honored Sallie Ballard, who sadly passed away in 2017. Everyone had a fantastic experience!
I'm proud of what we accomplished in 2019 and to keep interest alive for 2020 & this year, Master Gardeners created self-guided map tours. We've particularly leaned upon our Crepe Myrtle Archivist, Elaine Gemmell. (Yes, she has archives!).
The results: a Sip & See Stroll, a downtown walking tour (worthy of 2-3 visits) along the open container route with reliable watering holes, fantastic restaurants, shops, and there're live music opportunities. The Bloom Drive takes you beyond downtown to include top area gardens, and I never tire of touring the Natchez City Cemetery's grounds, established in 1822 with over 500 Crepe Myrtles on-site. It's breathtaking!
I've already planned by trip with a few friends. We'll motor upriver in a couple weeks for 2 nights, and you bet, we'll take in all the beauty and deliciousness that Natchez represents. I encourage you to do the same.
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PRINTED MAPS AVAILABLE SOON AT AREA NATCHEZ BUSINESSES:
SIP & SEE STROLL, BLOOM DRIVE, NATCHEZ CITY CEMETERY
Thank you Sponsors!
Peter Patout/Talbot Historic Properties
Country Roads Magazine
Ellen C. English
United Mississippi Bank ● G. Douglas Adams Photography
Donna Ballard Masselli in honor of Sallie Ballard
Adams County Master Gardeners ● Monmouth Historic Inn,
Crye-Leike Stedman Realtors
Sip & See Stroll Map
Bloom Drive Map
Natchez City Cemetery Map
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