The Gardens of Beau Rivage

By: Melody Worsham
Twelve years ago, Teresa Malone had just finished her degree in Horticulture and was ready to start a new life. After 20 years of service in the Air Force, Teresa was returning to something she has loved since childhood when her mother won blue ribbons for her fuchsias and roses. Born and raised in San Diego, Teresa was brought here by the military, but what kept her here was the opportunity to be the first Horticulturist hired by a casino on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Teresa is, and always has been, the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino’s own Horticulturist. It is her full time job to keep the Resort fresh and full of beauty and color. Teresa and her team of ten gardeners, four floral designers, and her two managers, James Pendergrass and Jessica Hall, keep fresh flowers and lush green plants displayed in the long halls of the main corridor, in the hotel suites and around the spa, which Teresa called a “tropical oasis.” An indoor atrium is home for a miniature forest of fichus, Australian tree ferns, Rex Begonias and white celosia. The outdoor perimeters of the resort are adorned with oaks and perfectly trimmed shrubs.
“I love creating themes,” Teresa said. For holidays and special occasions, the floral arrangements take on the characteristics and the mood of the events for which they were created. “The casino’s President [George Corchis] let’s me express myself,” she said. This year’s Southern Gaming Summit was held in Biloxi, so Teresa and her team decided that Alice In Wonderland would be the perfect theme for the visiting casino executives and gaming officials. The arrangement began with a two-storey house with Alice’s arms and legs bursting out of the windows. There was a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, complete with a crazy rabbit that left footprints down the path guarded by 8-foot tall mushrooms. The smoking caterpillar and, of course, the Queen of Hearts were all part of the enchanting floral sculpture. This is what Teresa said she loves about her job – “working with some of the most outstanding individuals in the field and creating themes.”
Teresa said the work is rewarding and it can be a challenge sometimes to come up with new themes and fresh ideas. She said the Beau has a “European” flare and design; “heavy on the flowers, less greenery,” she said. The large arrangement of colorful blooms in the main lobby is changed out twice a week. “All of our cut flowers come from Tri-State Floral Wholesale in D’Iberville,” she said. “We do our best to buy local all the time.” Teresa said the atrium trees and plants are procured from Natchez Trace Greenhouses in Kosciusko. The outdoor gardens and landscaping is kept manicured by Turf Masters of Pascagoula.
Teresa’s “office” is a large warehouse on Caillevet Street just a block from the casino. The entire place smells of fresh flowers. The team of floral designers is busy filling vases on long work tables with perfect bouquets of lively blooms. Teresa is brainstorming for an upcoming event. “This is a very demanding field,” she said. “Horticulture and Resort Horticulture are not the same thing.” She recommends that people who are truly interested in getting into the field, pursue a college degree in Horticulture. “You have to pay attention to detail and you have to love it,” she added. To work as resort Horticulturist, “you have to think outside the box, be a good multi-tasker and pull something out of nothing at a moment’s notice,” Teresa said with a smile.
Fall is approaching. Teresa said that the colors and themes of the floral designs change to match the seasons. She shared a few suggestions for the “novice” Horticulturist or gardener. “Plant trees in the fall,” she said. Autumn is also the best time for transplanting. And it’s time to “pre-emerge,” she said. Pre-emergence is treating your garden to prevent weeds from popping up in the coming spring. These next few months are the right time to put bulbs in the ground. Teresa said daffodils are the heartiest bulbs for South Mississippi. Once winter has passed, Teresa cautioned about catching too much spring fever. It’s easy to do when there are so many ways to enjoy gardening. Teresa is not immune to spring fever either. “I get over zealous,” she said. “And then time gets away from me.”
For the beginner gardener, “start with your favorite fruit, flower or vegetable,” she said. Growing something you really love will keep you enthused. Once you master that, you can move on to other plants and flowers. But growing and caring for plants of all kinds is “a lifetime learning experience,” Teresa said. “You can never be a master of it all.” But to be a successful and happy Horticulturist, she said, “It has to be in your soul.” Teresa and her team at the Beau Rivage obviously have it in theirs.

welve years ago, Teresa Malone had just finished her degree in Horticulture and was ready to start a new life. After 20 years of service in the Air Force, Teresa was returning to something she has loved since childhood when her mother won blue ribbons for her fuchsias and roses. Born and raised in San Diego, Teresa was brought here by the military, but what kept her here was the opportunity to be the first Horticulturist hired by a casino on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Teresa is, and always has been, the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino’s own Horticulturist. It is her full time job to keep the Resort fresh and full of beauty and color. Teresa and her team of ten gardeners, four floral designers, and her two managers, James Pendergrass and Jessica Hall, keep fresh flowers and lush green plants displayed in the long halls of the main corridor, in the hotel suites and around the spa, which Teresa called a “tropical oasis.” An indoor atrium is home for a miniature forest of fichus, Australian tree ferns, Rex Begonias and white celosia. The outdoor perimeters of the resort are adorned with oaks and perfectly trimmed shrubs. “I love creating themes,” Teresa said. For holidays and special occasions, the floral arrangements take on the characteristics and the mood of the events for which they were created. “The casino’s President [George Corchis] let’s me express myself,” she said. This year’s Southern Gaming Summit was held in Biloxi, so Teresa and her team decided that Alice In Wonderland would be the perfect theme for the visiting casino executives and gaming officials. The arrangement began with a two-storey house with Alice’s arms and legs bursting out of the windows. There was a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, complete with a crazy rabbit that left footprints down the path guarded by 8-foot tall mushrooms. The smoking caterpillar and, of course, the Queen of Hearts were all part of the enchanting floral sculpture. This is what Teresa said she loves about her job – “working with some of the most outstanding individuals in the field and creating themes.” Teresa said the work is rewarding and it can be a challenge sometimes to come up with new themes and fresh ideas. She said the Beau has a “European” flare and design; “heavy on the flowers, less greenery,” she said. The large arrangement of colorful blooms in the main lobby is changed out twice a week. “All of our cut flowers come from Tri-State Floral Wholesale in D’Iberville,” she said. “We do our best to buy local all the time.” Teresa said the atrium trees and plants are procured from Natchez Trace Greenhouses in Kosciusko. The outdoor gardens and landscaping is kept manicured by Turf Masters of Pascagoula. Teresa’s “office” is a large warehouse on Caillevet Street just a block from the casino. The entire place smells of fresh flowers. The team of floral designers is busy filling vases on long work tables with perfect bouquets of lively blooms. Teresa is brainstorming for an upcoming event. “This is a very demanding field,” she said. “Horticulture and Resort Horticulture are not the same thing.” She recommends that people who are truly interested in getting into the field, pursue a college degree in Horticulture. “You have to pay attention to detail and you have to love it,” she added. To work as resort Horticulturist, “you have to think outside the box, be a good multi-tasker and pull something out of nothing at a moment’s notice,” Teresa said with a smile. Fall is approaching. Teresa said that the colors and themes of the floral designs change to match the seasons. She shared a few suggestions for the “novice” Horticulturist or gardener. “Plant trees in the fall,” she said. Autumn is also the best time for transplanting. And it’s time to “pre-emerge,” she said. Pre-emergence is treating your garden to prevent weeds from popping up in the coming spring. These next few months are the right time to put bulbs in the ground. Teresa said daffodils are the heartiest bulbs for South Mississippi. Once winter has passed, Teresa cautioned about catching too much spring fever. It’s easy to do when there are so many ways to enjoy gardening. Teresa is not immune to spring fever either. “I get over zealous,” she said. “And then time gets away from me.” For the beginner gardener, “start with your favorite fruit, flower or vegetable,” she said. Growing something you really love will keep you enthused. Once you master that, you can move on to other plants and flowers. But growing and caring for plants of all kinds is “a lifetime learning experience,” Teresa said. “You can never be a master of it all.” But to be a successful and happy Horticulturist, she said, “It has to be in your soul.” Teresa and her team at the Beau Rivage obviously have it in theirs.

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