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Stories Written by Ginna Parsons

Lauren Wood | Buy at Lynn Stewart of Hickory Flat has been making her chocolate chip cookies for her children and grandchildren for as long as she can remember. They were always a favorite of her granddaughters' ball teams.

Lauren Wood | Buy at
Lynn Stewart of Hickory Flat has been making her chocolate chip cookies for her children and grandchildren for as long as she can remember. They were always a favorite of her granddaughters’ ball teams.

By Ginna Parsons

Daily Journal

HICKORY FLAT – Lynn Stewart can cook just about anything you’d ever want to eat, but her desserts, cookies and candies are what she’s known for.

“I make everything from scratch,” said Stewart, 74. “I don’t use cake mixes. I can tell a cake mix and I can tell a pudding pie.”

In fact, she has certain brands that she’s loyal to and you won’t find any impostors in her pantry or refrigerator: Crisco shortening, Gold Medal flour, Domino sugar, Land ‘O Lakes butter, Parkay margarine and Nestle Toll House chocolate chips.

“I’ve always loved to bake and I baked all my married life,” said Stewart, who lost her husband, Wendell, in 2009 after 51 years of marriage. “I always had something warm and sweet when my kids got home from school, and then my granddaughters started bringing their ballteam friends over here after school before ballgames.”

Those after-school snacks quickly turned into pre-game meals, as Stewart would fix chicken spaghetti or chicken strips or fried shrimp for the girls – and of course something sweet – before they headed to their big match.

The cookies Stewart is known for far and wide are chocolate chip, and her recipe is similar to the one on the Nestle Toll House package, but she’s made a few changes.

“I use butter and Crisco and a little more flour and I take mine out of the oven when they’re still soft,” she said. “That’s what makes them so good. Everybody calls them Nanny’s Cookies.”

Stewart was born in Illinois and her family moved to Memphis when she was in second grade. She graduated from high school there and after marriage, Wendell went into the Marine Corps, where he served two tours in Vietnam. They eventually moved to Hickory Flat in 1976.

“When I first got married, everything was trial and error,” she said. “I was the youngest of three girls, but none of us girls cooked. We didn’t do anything. Mother was a stay-at-home mom and she took care of everything.”

Stewart has two daughters, Paula and Amy, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. A son, Greg, died in 1985 at age 20 of a rare cancer.

Every year, just before Christmas, Stewart invites her four granddaughters to her house and they spend the whole day making all manner of sweet treats.

“We do about 20 different things, because they all have their favorites” she said. “Divinity, fudge, haystacks, chocolate-dipped pretzels, chocolate crackle cookies, decorated sugar cookies, turtles, cinnamon candy, Oreo balls, five-layer cookies, Penuche, Martha Washington candy. I mean, we’ve got it going on that day.”

Do you know a good cook? Send your nominations to Ginna Parsons, Cook of the Week, P.O. Box 909, Tupelo, MS 38802. Or you can fax them to (662) 842-2233 or email them to

Lauren Wood | Buy at White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake.

Lauren Wood | Buy at
White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1 stick butter, melted

5 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla

12 ounces white chocolate, melted and cooled slightly

1 cup raspberry preserves

Fresh raspberries, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter and press into the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan. Bake for 8 minutes.

Beat cream cheese at medium speed until creamy; gradually add 1 cup sugar, beating well. Add eggs one at a time. Stir in vanilla. Add melted white chocolate, beating well.

Microwave preserves for 30 seconds, until melted.

Spoon half of cream cheese batter into prepared crust and spread a little more than half of preserves over batter, leaving a 34-inch border. Spoon remaining cream cheese batter around edges of pan, spreading toward the center. Cover remaining preserves and chill.

Bake cheesecake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until cheesecake is just set and lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack. Cover and chill at least 8 hours.

Run a knife around the edge of the pan and release the sides. Reheat remaining preserves and pour over top of cheesecake, leaving a 1-inch border. Garnish with fresh raspberries.

Note: If you put a pan of water on the rack below the cheesecake while it’s cooking, it will help prevent the cake from cracking.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 stick margarine

12 cup shortening

34 cup light brown sugar

34 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

212 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1 teaspoon water

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 (12-ounce) package chocolate chips

Cream margarine, shortening and sugars. Add eggs and mix well. Add flour, salt and soda/water. Add vanilla and chocolate chips. Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Bake at 300 degrees for 9 minutes. Cookies won’t look done, but that’s what makes them soft.

Chocolate Pie

3 egg yolks

1 heaping tablespoon butter

1 cup sugar

2 heaping tablespoons cocoa

2 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup milk

1 baked pie crust

Whipped cream

Beat egg yolks; add butter, sugar, cocoa and flour. Add milk. Cook slowly until thick, stirring constantly. Pour into baked pie crust. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

Penuche (Opera Fudge)

2 sticks butter (not margarine)

8 cups sugar

1 large can evaporated milk

1 small can evaporated milk

2 cups light corn syrup

2 cups chopped pecans

3 tablespoons vanilla

Put all ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.

Reduce heat and cook to 240 degrees or the soft-ball stage. Remove from heat and beat for 5 to 6 minutes. Pour into a greased 12×16-inch pan. Cut into pieces before it cools completely.

Note: Do not make this when it’s rainy or damp outside.

Chocolate Salad Dressing Cake

1 cup sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

112 teaspoons baking soda

4 tablespoons cocoa

1 cup Miracle Whip salad dressing

1 cup water

2 teaspoons vanilla


1 cup sugar

14 cup cocoa

14 cup milk

12 stick butter

2 teaspoons vanilla

For the cake, combine sugar, flour, soda and cocoa. Add salad dressing, water and vanilla. Pour batter into greased 9×13-inch and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Let cool.

For the frosting, combine sugar, cocoa, milk, butter and vanilla in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat, beat until thick and spread over cooled cake.



A few weeks ago, I interviewed a Cook of the Week who had one of the “Kosher by Design” cookbooks on her kitchen counter. (I think there are eight in the cookbook series written by Susie Fishbein.)

“I’m not Jewish,” she said, “but this cookbook has some really amazing recipes.”

Almost 10 years ago, I received a copy of “Kosher by Design Entertains” in the mail at work and, because I’m also not Jewish, I stuck it on a bookshelf by my desk and forgot about it. I figured it was full of recipes for matzo balls and potato latkes.

I could not have been more wrong.

It is filled with delicious-sounding recipes of carefully prepared foods and beautiful photos and hundreds of tips for entertaining.

One night last week, we tried this recipe for chicken strips coated in crispy panko breadcrumbs and sweetened coconut. These strips were tasty and crunchy and best of all, baked, instead of fried. I served them with store-bought vegetable egg rolls and steamed green beans topped with sliced almonds.

Coconut Chicken Strips

3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

Salt and pepper

12 cup all-purpose flour

12 teaspoon garlic powder

12 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 medium eggs, lightly beaten

34 cup panko Japanese breadcrumbs

1 cup sweetened flaked coconut


Apricot Sauce

3 ounces apricot preserves

1 teaspoon yellow mustard

2 tablespoon teriyaki sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut each breast into long 12-inch thin strips, trimming the ends to make rectangle shapes. Season the strips with salt and pepper.

Place flour into a shallow dish. Add some salt and pepper to the flour. Add the garlic powder and cayenne. Toss to combine. Place the beaten eggs into a second shallow dish. Mix the panko and coconut in a third dish.

Lightly coat the chicken strips with flour, shaking off excess. Dip each strip into the egg, shaking off excess.

Roll into coconut mixture, pressing the coconut into the chicken to evenly coat.

Place the coated strips on a baking sheet. Lightly drizzle with honey. Bake 20 minutes, turning the strips halfway through.

Combine apricot preserves, yellow mustard, and teriyaki sauce. Stir to combine. Use as a dipping sauce.

Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.

lifestyle_foodBy Ginna Parsons

Daily Journal

TUPELO – Kathy Bailey loves animals. But she knows herself well enough to know she could never work at the Tupelo-Lee Humane Society.

“I’d want to take all the animals home, every day, all of them,” said Bailey, a new volunteer at the shelter. “But I wanted to find some way to help out.”

So about a week ago, Bailey came up with the idea to compile a cookbook as a fundraiser. She launched her idea for “Chow Time” on Facebook. The cookbook is subtitled “A collection of recipes for our furry friends and people who love them from Friends of the Tupelo-Lee Humane Society.”

“We’ve already had 20 shares and have probably collected close to 200 recipes for the cookbook,” she said. “Our goal is to have a really nice cookbook. I want it to be chock-full of good recipes and be everybody’s go-to cookbook.”

May 23 is the deadline to submit recipes for “Chow Time.” All proceeds from the sale of the cookbook will benefit the Tupelo-Lee Humane Society.

“We going to try to have the cookbook available in July,” she said. “Our goal is to have it for the July 4th picnic at Ballard Park.”

Bailey estimated the cost of the cookbook will be $12 to $15.

“We don’t want to go higher than $15 because we want these to sell,” she said. “I want everybody who loves an animal to put something in there.”

Categories are Bits and Bites (appetizers and drinks), Whisker Lickin’ Good (soups and salads), Beggin’ for Dinner (main dishes), Belly Rubbin’ (bread and rolls), Purrfect Partners (vegetables and sides), Tail Waggin’ Treats (cakes, cookies and desserts) and The Paw Patch (treats for cats and dogs).

To submit recipes, email Bailey at; mail them to Chow Time, c/o Kathy Bailey, 1152 Quail Creek Cove, Tupelo, MS 38801; or fax them to (662) 841-6501. Be sure to include your name and hometown with your recipes and a phone number in case Bailey has any questions about a recipe.

Adam Robison | Buy at Lauren Vann of Tupelo tries to prepare healthy, balanced meals for her family, which includes her husband and three small sons. Here, she's made turkey burgers, sweet potato fries and garlic mashed cauliflower.

Adam Robison | Buy at
Lauren Vann of Tupelo tries to prepare healthy, balanced meals for her family, which includes her husband and three small sons. Here, she’s made turkey burgers, sweet potato fries and garlic mashed cauliflower.

By Ginna Parsons

Daily Journal

TUPELO – Lauren Vann says she believes God gave her a husband and three sons on purpose.

“I love to cook, and now I cook for and feed four boys,” said Vann, 29. “I’ve always tried to cook healthy and now I’m trying to balance healthy with kid-friendly and budget-friendly.”

Vann and her husband, Joel, are both agents for Tommy Morgan Realtors. They have 3-year-old twin sons, Paxton and Isaac, and a 1-year-old, Luke. The couple moved to Tupelo in early 2010.

“I like to prepare healthy, whole foods, but I’m not going to be the mom who deprives my kids of all sugar,” she said. “But for the most part, they eat real food.”

Vann is from Washington and grew up in the Seattle area. She and Joel, who is a Corinth native, met at church when he was in college in Washington.

“In college I had a tiny studio apartment with a microwave and a mini-fridge, so I didn’t do much cooking,” she said. “We married three weeks after I graduated from college, so I went from not cooking at all to being a wife all of a sudden.”

Vann said Seattle is known for its health-consciousness, so she grew up eating natural, unprocessed food.

“When we first married, I cooked a lot from ‘The Maker’s Diet’ by Jordan Rubin,” she said. “Our bodies function better when we eat food we’re meant to eat. We don’t call what we do ‘paleo’ or anything like that, but we do try to eat more whole, plant-based foods.”

Vann said her cooking had evolved since she began her family.

“With the kids, we hide a lot of vegetables in their foods,” she said. “There’s a serving of zucchini in our turkey burgers and I serve mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes and they clean their plates every time.”

Vann said she Googles paleo recipes to get ideas for meals and she also uses Pinterest.

“I usually always start with a base recipe, but then I go off on my own,” she said. “I’m always tweaking and I’m not going to go out and buy something if I have a substitute for it in my cabinet.”

She said she doesn’t buy everything organic in the grocery store, but she tries to balance it as best as she can.

“I buy free-range chicken eggs and grass-fed beef,” she said. “In the summer, I love the Tupelo Farmers’ Market and buying foods that have been locally grown. I feel like Tupelo is really moving that way – localvores, is what my dad calls it.”

Do you know a good cook? Send your nominations to Ginna Parsons, Cook of the Week, P.O. Box 909, Tupelo, MS 38802. Or you can fax them to (662) 842-2233 or email them to

Adam Robison | Buy at The Best Oatmeal Raisin Cookies are Vann's most requested sweet treat.

Adam Robison | Buy at
The Best Oatmeal Raisin Cookies are Vann’s most requested sweet treat.

Green Smoothie

2 cups leafy greens, such as spinach or kale

1 cup liquid (water, coconut milk or almond milk)

1 cup plain yogurt

3 cups frozen or fresh fruit (banana, mango, berries, peach, pear, etc.)

Honey or Stevia (optional)

Protein powder (optional)

Flax seed oil (optional)

Blend leafy greens and liquids together first to avoid leafy chunks.

Add fruits and additional ingredients, if using, and blend again.

The Best Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

3 eggs, beaten

1 cup raisins

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 sticks butter

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

212 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 cups rolled oats

Combine eggs, raisins and vanilla in a small bowl; cover and let stand 1 hour (this is the secret).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars. Sift together flour, cinnamon and baking soda and stir into creamed mixture. Add raisin mixture and rolled oats.

Drop by teaspoon onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

2 large sweet potatoes

2 tablespoons olive or coconut oil

Salt and pepper

Cavender’s Greek seasoning

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel sweet potatoes and cut them into even matchstick slices.

Toss potatoes with oil, salt, pepper and Cavender’s. Place them in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, flipping the fries halfway through. Fries are done when they are lightly browned and crispy on the edges. While fries are hot, sprinkle with a little more salt.

Peanut Sauce with Honey

14 cup honey

14 cup peanut butter

3 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon sesame oil

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced ginger root

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or red pepper sauce (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

Taste and adjust flavors/consistency to your liking.

You may need to add a little honey and oil if it’s too thick.

This makes a great dipping sauce for chicken. Or make a bed of brown rice, top it with sautéed spinach and grilled chicken, and drizzle this sauce over the top.

Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

1 (32-ounce) carton chicken or beef broth

1 medium head cauliflower

3 tablespoons butter

1 clove garlic, minced

Salt and pepper

14 cup milk or cream

14 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Set a stockpot of broth over medium-high heat.

Clean cauliflower and cut into small pieces. Cook cauliflower in simmering broth until tender, about 10 minutes. Using a s lotted spoon, move cauliflower to a food processor. Puree hot cauliflower with butter, garlic, salt, pepper, milk and cheese until smooth.

Herbed Turkey Burgers with

Zucchini ‘Buns’

1 pound Italian-seasoned ground turkey

2 tablespoons fresh chopped oregano

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 egg

12 cup Italian bread crumbs (optional)

1 large zucchini, half chopped finely or grated, half cut into thick slices for “buns”

Olive oil spray

Salt and pepper

In a large bowl, combine turkey, oregano, garlic, egg, bread crumbs and grated zucchini and mix thoroughly with your hands. Form into 4 to 6 patties.Heat grill to medium-high heat.

Spray zucchini slices on both sides and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Grill zucchini 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Place turkey burgers on grill, cooking 3 to 5 minutes per side, until fully cooked.

Serve burgers between zucchini slices and add your favorite toppings and condiments.

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By Ginna Parsons

Daily Journal

BELDEN – When I was growing up in south Alabama, summers were marked by endless early-morning trips to the pea patch (where we also picked butterbeans, corn, tomatoes and okra) and afternoons bathed in steam from my mother’s canner.

I loved the days when she canned plum jelly. I didn’t care for the jelly as much as I enjoyed eating the sweet foam she’d skim off the top of the bubbling mess. It was enough to induce a sugar coma that lasted for days.

Her homemade chow-chow was legendary in our small town. She’d spend hours turning the handle of a meat-grinder that temporarily attached to the edge of the kitchen counter. On the floor beneath sat a big dishpan ready to catch minced bell peppers, green tomatoes, onions and cabbage that would go into the relish we liked to put on top of peas.

I decided last summer that I wanted to learn to make chow chow. I bought a grinding attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer and I found a recipe in Mississippi Gardener magazine that looked similar to the one Mama used.

But it used terms that went over my head, like “sterilized jars” and “hot water bath” and “headspace.” And it didn’t go into detail about what these terms meant.

So I tucked the grinder away and stashed the magazine and decided my family would have to do with store-bought chow chow.

And then in February, I saw an ad in the Daily Journal about continuing education classes at Itawamba Community College-Belden. One of them was on canning.

I signed up immediately.

I attended the class this past Thursday, along with seven other women. Some had experience canning; others were as green as I was. We were to learn how to make strawberry jam.

Janet Jolley, county coordinator in Marshall County, was the instructor. She went through a PowerPoint presentation and then showed us a 30-minute video made by some folks at the University of Georgia.

Here’s the 10-cent version of what I learned in the class. I had a ball, as did the other participants, and we each went home with two half-pint jars of delicious, if I do say so myself, strawberry jam.

The basics

• There are only three to four ingredients in homemade jam: fruit, sugar, pectin (what makes it gel) and sometimes acid (in the form of bottled lemon juice).

• The canning equipment you need includes a hot water bath canner with a lid and basket (about $20) and a canning funnel, a plastic wand for removing bubbles, a jar lifter and a magnetized lid wand for lifting hot lids out of water and setting them gently on top of filled jars (the kit that includes all this is $8 to $12).

• Tempered-glass jars produce the best results. Reputable ones will have names on them, like Kerr, Ball and Mason. Inspect them for chips, nicks and cracks. Wash them in hot, soapy water.

• Sterilize jars and lids that will be processed less than 10 minutes. To sterilize empty jars, put them right side up on the rack in a boiling-water canner. Fill the canner and jars with hot water to 1 inch above the tops of the jars. Boil 10 minutes. Keep the jars in hot water until they’re ready to be filled with jam.

• You can re-use the metal bands or rings that you screw on the jars multiple times, but the flat lids can be used only once.

• Foods that can be canned in a hot water canner include jams, jellies, pickles, tomatoes, pickled okra, salsas and, you heard this correctly, chow chow!

The steps

We started by washing our jars and lids and sterilizing them. Actually, instead of using a canner to sterilize them, we used a big turkey roaster filled with water heated to 180 degrees, which freed up the canner and kept the jars hot until we needed them.

Next, we washed the strawberries and took turns chopping them up and then mashing them. We put them in a heavy stockpot with the gelatin and took turns stirring the mixture over high heat until it boiled and bubbled. Then we added the sugar and continued stirring until it came back to a hard boil. After 1 minute, we removed the pot from the heat and skimmed the foam off the top. (Yes, I ate it, but I wasn’t the only one.)

We took turns lifting hot sterilized jars out of the turkey roaster and placing them on a soft towel. Using a small ladle, we filled them with the hot jam to just 1/4-inch from the top of the jar (this is called headspace). Then we took a plastic ruler-type gadget and stirred the jam to remove any air bubbles. With a damp paper towel, we carefully wiped the jars and especially the rims of the jars. If there are any food particles left behind, the hot lids won’t seal properly. After putting the lids on, we added a metal ring and tightened the jars with our fingers (not too tight).

Using tongs, we eased the filled jars into the basket of a canner filled with boiling water that covered the jars by a couple of inches. We put the top on and let them process (rolling boil) for 5 minutes. Then we turned off the heat and let them sit in the hot water for 5 minutes.

We took turns lifting the jars out of the canner and placing them on dry towels (put them on a cold counter and they’ll explode) about 1 to 2 inches apart. It wasn’t long before we heard the jars “pop,” meaning they had sealed properly. We were told to remove the rings from the jars after 24 hours or a couple of days (to reuse the rings) and store the jam in a cool, dry place.

Now that I know the basics of water bath canning, I feel totally confident about making chow chow this summer!



Easter morning, to me, is the perfect occasion for a breakfast casserole. You can prepare and eat it before church, if you’re going, and it isn’t so heavy that it ruins your appetite for the big lunch you’re planning.

Sometimes, I make breakfast casseroles that start with chunks of bread, and then incorporate eggs, cooked meat and cheese. But I’m a pushover for a good grits casserole, especially one that features cheese, bacon and fresh herbs.

This recipe, which I’ve halved, is from “Glorious Grits,” by Susan McEwen McIntosh. The original, Susan says, comes from Patsy Riley, the former first lady of Alabama.

I plan to make it Sunday morning and serve it alongside fresh fruit and my husband’s homemade biscuits. This would also make an excellent brunch dish.

Bacon and Cheddar Cheese Grits Casserole

4 cups milk, divided

11⁄2 teaspoons salt

1 cup uncooked stone-ground grits

1 stick unsalted butter

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 teaspoons dried dill, thyme or sage or a combination of the three (or 1 tablespoon fresh)

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided

3 to 4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Combine 3 cups milk and salt in a large, heavy saucepan; cook over medium-high heat just until the milk starts to boil. Gradually whisk in grits and butter. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes or until thick, stirring often.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove grits from heat; add remaining 1 cup milk, stirring to cool grits mixture. Stir in eggs, herbs and 1⁄2 cup cheese. Pour grits mixture into a greased 9×13-inch baking dish; top with remaining 1⁄2 cup cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle crumbled bacon on top of casserole. Serve immediately.

Makes 7 to 8 servings.

Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.

Adam Robison | Buy at Donna Tucker, chairman of the Lee County Master Gardeners' annual plant sale, checks out some of the plants that will be for sale Saturday at the Lee County Extension Office on Cliff Gookin Boulevard.

Adam Robison | Buy at
Donna Tucker, chairman of the Lee County Master Gardeners’ annual plant sale, checks out some of the plants that will be for sale Saturday at the Lee County Extension Office on Cliff Gookin Boulevard.

By Ginna Parsons

Daily Journal

TUPELO – Lee County Master Gardeners are hoping Saturday will bring their best spring plant sale ever.

“In the past we had some plants that were tiny and just didn’t sell, but this year, we’ve got the healthiest plants ever,” said Carl Oglesby, a Master Gardener volunteer.

The plant sale will be from 8 a.m. to noon at the Lee County Extension Office on Cliff Gookin Boulevard in Tupelo.

“We’ll have coffee and breakfast items for sale for people waiting in line, because there will be a crowd here long before the gates are opened,” said Donna Tucker, chairman of the event.

This year, the group will be offering annuals, perennials, vines, shrubs, trees and herbs as well as gardening books, Quick Crete pots and raffle items.

Adam Robison | Buy at Butterfly weed is a host plant for the Monarch butterfly.

Adam Robison | Buy at
Butterfly weed is a host plant for the Monarch butterfly.

The plants are too numerous to name, but here’s a sampling: Japanese maples, coleus, butterfly weed, ornamental peppers, petunias, zinnias, umbrella plants, salvia, begonias, angel trumpets, ivy, datura, rose campion, peach cockscomb, Shasta daisies, trillium, roses, hydrangeas and curly willows.

They will also have moonflower, hyacinth bean, morning glory, mina lobata, black-eyed Susan and sweet potato vines. Herbs include fennel, cilantro and basil, and there will be some cherry tomato plants along with jalapeño peppers.

“A lot of our stuff comes from people’s yards, so we don’t know just what all we’ll have,” Tucker said. “I’m bringing some natives like wild geraniums and woodland phlox. We’ll just have a little bit of everything.”

There will be three raffle items offered. One is a fairy garden, complete with sedums, bacopa, yarrow and a cedar tree along with a gazebo, swing, bench and bridge made from twigs. Another is a pot planted with butterfly weed, asparagus fern, purple and red salvia, bacopa, sweet potato vine and zinnias. The third is a Briggs & Stratton tiller with 12-inch tines.

Raffle tickets are $2 each or three for $5. They are available at the Extension Office and the day of the sale. The winner will be announced Thursday.

Because the gardening group realizes that not everyone can make the Saturday sale, they are extending it into next week. On Monday and Tuesday, plants will be for sale from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at full price. On Wednesday and Thursday, plants will be for sale from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at half price.

“We’re calling it an after-plant sale for the remaining plants,” Tucker said.

Most plants will in the $2 to $10 price range, although some, like tomatoes, will be $1.50 and others, like trees, may fetch $30.

The annual plant sale is the Master Gardeners’ only fundraiser. Some of the projects it helps fund are the Help Center, Junior Master Gardener classes and workshops, adult education, demonstration gardens, and gardens at Sanctuary Hospice House and Ashbury Courts.

For more information, call (662) 841-9000 or (662) 620-8280 or visit



Who: Lee County Master Gardeners’ Spring Plant Sale.

When: Saturday, April 12, 8 a.m. until noon.

Where: Lee County Extension Office, 5338 Cliff Gookin Blvd.

What: A variety of annuals, perennials, vines, shrubs, herbs and trees will be for sale at affordable prices.

Info: Call (662) 620-8280 or visit



By Ginna Parsons

Daily Journal

TUPELO – Patty Roper, editorial director for Mississippi Magazine, will be the guest speaker at the GumTree Museum of Art Guild of Volunteers’ spring fundraiser, “Hats in the Garden Luncheon.”

The event will be Tuesday, April 22, at the home of Doyce Deas, 645 Highland Circle in Tupelo. Champagne will be served at 11:30 a.m. followed by the luncheon at noon.

“We were trying to think of something for the springtime and my family is good friends with Patty, so I took a chance and checked to see if she was available and she was,” said Liz McIntosh, director of the GumTree Museum of Art.

Roper’s topic will be fun and easy ways to entertain family and friends.

“But you don’t have to love entertaining to want to hear her,” McIntosh said. “She’s really a great speaker.”

The menu for the luncheon will consist of recipes from Roper’s many cookbooks and the dishes will be prepared by guild members. Lunch will feature Tomato Tartlets, Brie and Pepper Jelly Tartlets, Pimiento Cheese, Chicken Salad with Cranberries and Pecans, Hospitality Fruit Dip, Coconut Pie, Butter Cookies, Praline Muffins and Blueberry Bars.

Roper will also be selling and signing copies of her books at the luncheon.

Tickets are $30 person and seating is limited to 100. Reservations must be made by April 18. To reserve tickets, call Betty Harris at (662) 790-4313.

In case of rain, the outdoor event will be moved indoors to the GumTree Museum of Art.