Title page for ETD etd-11112004-121808

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Veltman, Gayna B.
Author's Email Address gveltm1@lsu.edu
URN etd-11112004-121808
Title A Louisiana Plantswoman: Margie Yates Jenkins
Degree Master of Landscape Architecture (M.L.A.)
Department Landscape Architecture
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Suzanne L. Turner Committee Chair
Bruce Sharkey Committee Member
J. Kevin Risk Committee Member
  • propagation
  • horticulture
  • landscape design
  • native plants
Date of Defense 2004-11-02
Availability unrestricted
This biographical study of the development of Marge Yates Jenkins into Louisiana's pre-eminent plantswoman examines the issues of culture and regional history, particularly the history of the horticultural industry in Louisiana. It traces how a self-taught botanist overcame the obstacles of gender and post-war depression to become an innovator in the nursery business, experimenting with native plants of the Southeast, as well as exotics imported from as far away as New Zealand. Her experiments and the plants that she introduced to the trade would eventually change the selection of plants used in the landscape industry in the Gulf Coast region.

The thesis relies primarily on the method of oral history to document Jenkins' life story and her impact on the professions of ornamental horticulture and landscape architecture. Her family history with its agricultural roots serves as a backdrop for her eventual entry into the field of horticulture. The thesis covers the development of horticulture in Louisiana from 1962 to 2004, and explains how Jenkins' work gradually changed the way plants were viewed and used in the landscape industries. Particular emphasis is placed on Jenkins' success as a plant propagator and on her introduction of new varieties of azaleas into commerce.

Finally, Jenkins' generous and open spirit is described as an important factor in her being able to bridge the gap between the nursery and horticulture industry, and landscape architecture theory and practice. The thesis calls upon these two aspects of landscape practice to embrace the model that Jenkins espouses in order to create landscape design that possesses the best of both the worlds of plants and design theory.

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