A special treat was in store for the members of the Bess Jenkins Club at their recent meeting.

A special treat was in store for the members of the Bess Jenkins Club at their recent meeting.

Betty Jean Hutt introduced the speaker, Donna Pittman-King, president/owner of Pittman Nursery and Landscape, in Magnolia.

Pittman-King received a degree in landscape architecture from Louisiana State University and returned to Magnolia to work in her family’s business begun in the early 1900’s. During lunch prior to the meeting, Pittman-King and club member, Corrine Shepherd, of Shepherd Florist, had the opportunity to reminisce about their families’ longtime connections.

Pittman-King began her presentation, titled "Enhancing the Patio and Entry", with a quiz. She had placed several small specimens of landscape plants on a table. She picked up each one and allowed members to look and feel. The member who could name the plant got to take it home. Some plants were easily recognizable while others required quite a few "hints".

She continued with the interesting history of Pittman’s. In the early 1900’s, Allen Pittman and his wife, Lurline Bennett Pittman, worked and tended a fruit orchard, some ornamental plants, and grew vegetables to feed their family. Allen and young, son Donald, peddled what was not consumed by the family to small towns nearby by horse and buggy. As word spread about the quality and selection of the vegetables and fruits that they offered, demand grew. In 1918, Allen and Lurline Pittman opened Pittman Nursery. Mr. Pittman shipped sweet potato slips on the trains that ran alongside his property.

After World War II, Donald Pittman joined his parents in the small company, which had only three employees. Donald built the first glass greenhouse structure himself on a 15-acre plot in Magnolia. As the business prospered, Pittman Landscape was established in 1948. In 1950, 120 acres were purchased to accommodate the growing nursery, enabling Donald Pittman to expand his nursery business to include not only retail, but also wholesale plant production.

The Nursery and Landscape corporations were set up in 1977. Since then, the business, under the direction of Bobby and Donna King, has expanded several fold. Pittman is now recognized as a leader in the green goods industry, propagating plants in over 200 greenhouses on a 200-acre horticultural farm. Pittman Landscape installs designs within a 150-mile radius and is well-known in the region for beautiful, low-maintenance landscapes, reliability and quality workmanship.

Pittman-King showed many examples of brickwork and borders, pots and fountains, and beautiful lawns with flowered borders, all actual designs of properties in this area.

Pittman Nursery is open to the public each year on the Friday and Saturday before Mother’s Day.

Following the program, Sandy Poore, president, conducted the business meeting. She thanked hostesses Ann Thompson, Jeanne Simmons, Helen Campbell and Marjorie Jones.