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Felder Rushing to attend grand opening at In Bloom

The garden center on Highway 27 in Crystal Springs, now known as In Bloom Garden and Gifts, has had three owners through the years. Ellen Sneddon (left) was the first owner, Mary Sills (center) was the second, and Shelly Battista (right) is the current owner.

By Tricia Nelson
Spring is right around the corner, and that means people will be ready to get outdoors and get their hands dirty. Felder Rushing, one of Mississippi’s better known gardening experts, will be in Crystal Springs Saturday for a grand opening at In Bloom Garden and Gifts. He is bringing his famous “garden bed” truck.
In Bloom is a new nursery in the old Mary’s Patio location on Highway 27.
After years of wanting to purchase the nursery, Crystal Springs resident Shelly Battista finally took the plunge this year and is excited to join the business community.
The first owner of the business, Ellen Sneddon, bought the plot of bare land in 2004. She became interested in the plant business in 2002 after her retirement from a 22-year teaching career. She began working with Deborah King at Clear Creek Gifts when it was in a metal building on Highway 27 west of Crystal Springs.
Initially, she named the new business Clear Creek Nursery but soon realized it was too similar to King’s business name and people got confused, so she changed it to Ellen’s Nursery.
With the help of Dan Rogers, she installed a portable building for a shop and fenced the land. Hurricane Katrina made a mess of the place by knocking everything down, so she took the opportunity to clear everything, pave some areas, and build a pole barn.
In 2015, Mary Sills left the banking industry and bought the business, changing the name to Mary’s Patio. She made several improvements, including the addition of a fireplace and paving the parking area. She also closed in the pole barn, built a greenhouse, and spruced up the shop.
The store did its best during the first year of the COVID pandemic. With a lot of people staying home, many were working in their yards. Sills enjoyed the business, but health issues and the needs of her family drove her decision to sell.
Battista was also in banking in 2015, and she too wanted to buy it when Sneddon had it for sale, but timing was not right. She finally decided the timing was right and took the plunge this year. She is excited to build upon what Sneddon and Sills have established.
In addition to hanging, bedding, and vegetable plants, she will also have potting and garden soil, mulch, soil amendments, trees, shrubs, roses, ferns, garden art, and a gift shop.
She is looking forward to incorporating more native plants and habitat into the community, hoping to attract more pollinators. She encourages people to stop by, shop, and even stay a while. She plans to add a swing and more seating, and is looking forward to using the outdoor fireplace.
The grand opening is 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., Saturday, March 18.