Decking the Halls *– Southern Style

TUPELO – Renowned floral designer Ralph Null will headline the Tupelo Garden Club and Jody’s “Holiday Design Show” on Tuesday.
Null will create eight to 10 arrangements at each of two sessions that day – 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. – at All Saints’ Episcopal Church on Jefferson Street in downtown Tupelo. Each session will last about an hour, with time for questions and answers afterward.
Tickets are $10 each and are available from any Tupelo Garden Club member or from Jody’s, Reed’s, Flowerdale Marketplace, Philips Garden Center, MidSouth Nursery and Keep It Casual.
“I enjoy working with a lot of native materials,” said Null, who lives in Columbus. “We’ll be using stuff from the garden, some traditional commercial flowers and some stems of permanent botanicals that are so popular now.”
All of the arrangements will have a holiday theme.
“We’re going to be doing some things to get ready for the holidays,” he said. “Things that can go from Thanksgiving to Christmas – trans-seasonal adaptations.”
Null, a native of Mississippi, is well known for his Southern style of garden design. For 25 years, he directed the Retail Floral Design program at Mississippi State University. In 1992, he retired and was awarded professor emeritus.
His floral creations have graced White House state dinners, presidential inaugurals, and the windows of Saks Fifth Avenue and Macy’s as well as Neiman Marcus catalogs. He has served as president of the American Institute of Floral Designers and is the immediate past CFO of the AIFD Foundation.
“We’re very proud he could come to Tupelo. We feel like we have a real feather in our cap,” said Nancy Diffee, chairman of the event.
“Mr. Null was here several years ago and was very well received,” said Lee Pryor Caldwell, co-chairman of the event. “His style is something we can do in our own homes. He’s not way out there.”

Colors of Christmas
Rosemary Gaines, owner of Jody’s, which co-hosts the event, said Null had put in a request for a variety of materials to be used in his arrangements.
“He wants to use McCarty pottery as one of the containers,” she said. “He’s asked for Southern magnolias, Little Jem magnolias, cedar and pine, rosemary, elaeagnus, berried cedar, junipers and boxwoods – lots of naturally grown elements.”
In keeping with the Christmas theme, he’s also asked for red roses and gerbera daisies, as well as white tulips, hydrangeas, Star of Bethlehem, ranunculus and calla lilies.
“He’ll be using things like pine cones and ivy – naturalistic things – and then throw in a pop of color with flowers or permanent botanicals, like berries,” Gaines said.
Light refreshments will be served at each session and $1 raffle tickets can be purchased toward drawings for gift certificates to area shops that feature holiday decor and gifts.
All proceeds from the day go toward funding Tupelo Garden Club projects and for maintaining the grounds of the Pvt. John Allen Fish Hatchery in Tupelo.
For more information, call (662) 842-4101 or (662) 841-1746.

Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal