Ole Miss Musings: Spring Has Sprung On Campus


The natural beauty of the Ole Miss campus is alive and well, and this past weekend, it was blossoming out all over as these photographs depict.

One of the primary reasons so many high school students and their parents fall in love with Ole Miss can be attributed directly to this beautiful landscape and the efforts of Jeff McManus and his staff. (For those unfamiliar with Jeff, the director of Landscape Services at the University of Mississippi, and his staff have done an incredible job in enhancing the natural beauty of the campus to heights never envisioned.)

This May (26-28), Jeff will be heading up an impressive list of speakers/experts as he introduces the inaugural Landscaping Camp, which is open to the public. The camp is presented by the Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce and The Economic Development Foundation’s Retirement Attraction Program. Jeff will be “rolling out the green carpet” as he directs a personal tour of the campus among many other activities to inspire the attendees.

Interested readers can sign up by going to OxfordMS.com/retire-in-Oxford/landscaping-camp or contact Rosie Vassallo at 662-234-4651.

Jeff and his team have won numerous awards and received countless accolades as Ole Miss has been recognized as “The Most Beautiful Campus” by a number of national publications including NEWSWEEK and most recently by USA TODAY’s “Readers Choice Competition.”

During the two-and-a-half day Landscape Camp, participants will receive two books written by Jeff at the opening dinner/book signing. Attendees will learn great practices from leading experts including planting, pruning, maintaining lawns, attracting birds and a host of other topics. Joining Jeff will be Carson Ellis (Memphis Botanical Gardens) who will speak on “Butterfly Gardening,” Mitch Robinson (Strawberry Plains Audobon Center) addressing “Creating A Bird-Friendly Landscape,” and Donna Yowell (executive director of the Mississippi Urban Forest Council), who will discuss beautification of landscapes through cut flower gardening.

One of the bonus features of the camp will be three personalized tours on the Double Decker bus to the beautifully landscaped homes of Diane and Dickie Scruggs, Mary and Sam Haskell (both maintained by Jeff) as well as the City of Oxford.

The price of admission is $375; however, for the month of March, an Ole Miss family discount of $50 per person is being offered exclusive of accommodations.

The Inn at Ole Miss is the host facility for the camp and is accepting reservations by calling (888-486-7666) for $129 per night.

The magnetism of Ole Miss is due to a variety of factors; however, its natural beauty is realistically number “one” in attracting so many alums and retirees in moving to Oxford so they can experience this love of nature up close and personal!


Steve VassalloSteve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at sovassallo@gmail.com or call him at 985-852-7745.

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