Rose Garden a hidden treasure near MSU

Brittany Elliott is a gardener at the Veterans Memorial Rose Garden a Mississippi State University MS Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station on Highway 182 in Starkville. (Photo by Donna Summerall, Daily Times Leader)
Staff Writer

Mississippi State University is well known for its agronomy and horticulture departments. When Brittany Elliott, of West Point, decided she wanted to study agronomy at MSU, she thought she would be eventually working with row crops.

Instead, her degree brought her to her dream job of being a gardener at the Veterans Memorial Rose Garden.

“After graduating with a degree in agronomy, I had begun working in research with corn crops and did that for two years,” Elliott said. “I really enjoyed the work, but I love working with plants. When the position of gardener opened up for the Rose Garden, I quickly applied.”

The Veterans Memorial Rose Garden was established in 2007, as a Mississippi State University MS Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. There are more than 30 types of roses growing in the garden. It has grown to include many ornamental trees and shrubbery in addition to the roses.

“I am looking forward to being here when everything is in full bloom,” Elliot said. “I’ve only been here a month and can’t wait to see all the roses in just a couple of months. They will bloom until the frost in the fall.”

The Veterans Memorial Rose Garden is open and free to the public to visit. It is a tranquil place with gazebos, arbors and benches. There is a little noise from the nearby highway, but for the most part it is a peaceful getaway near MSU in Starkville.

“People come here to read, take photographs and just enjoy the quiet,” Elliott said. “During the late spring and early summer, people come and take engagement and wedding photos. We encourage people to come and take advantage of how beautiful everything is.”

Elliott said a great deal of hard work and maintenance goes into the rose garden.

Constant diligence is the only way to keep insects from destroying the plants, treating for black spots on leaves and pruning dead blooms to insure new growth.

“A lot of people are not aware we are here,” Elliott said. “We want to change that. We would welcome people to come for picnics, day trips or to stop by and see how beautiful everything is. We ask that people do not bring pets.”

Elliott said she is proud of the garden and would love to share it with anyone who is interested. There are Daylilies planted that will be blooming soon, as well.

“We thought the extremely cold temperatures might damage the plants,” Elliott said. “That’s why I was surprised to see the pink climbing roses already blooming. There is some Elephant Ear planted that were damaged in the frost this week, but that appears to be the only plants negatively impacted.”

Elliott said there is a plan in the works to have a Facebook page soon in order to post what is going on and what is in bloom.

“For people who want to visit, but don’t know where we are, we are located across from the Mississippi Highway Patrol office,” Elliott said. “We’re on Highway 182. I hope we have a lot of visitors who come and enjoy the beautiful grounds. I love doing tours and talking about plants. I can’t imagine doing anything else.”