The Northeast Mississippi Rose Society recently celebrated its 15th successful rose show, however, there was definitely a lingering sadness among the participants with the recent loss of its founder, Tommie Bourland. An avid Rosarian, she founded the Northeast Mississippi Rose Society in Tupelo, serving as its capable President for many years, and also organized the annual rose show. Mrs. Bourland’s life was remarkable, and was hallmarked by her servant’s heart and outreach that extended far beyond the Tupelo community. She and her late husband, Dr. Walter Bourland, served as medical missionaries on trips to Africa. Instrumental in establishing Tupelo’s first dialysis clinic many years ago, she was very civic minded and active in numerous organizations, even initiating a jail ministry while well into her 80’s! What a legacy Tommie Bourland left to her family, community, and her fellow members of the Northeast Mississippi Rose Society.
Tommie passed away just four days before the rose show, however, her garden was filled with majestic rose blooms. Pictured below is a memorial display at the rose show incorporating her garden roses.
Kevin Ball has very capably led the society as president this year, and was so kind to send photographs of the show to me since I was unable to attend. Tracy Kramer, a rose society member, pointed out that there was a wonderful variety and number of entries this year. Her prize winning design is pictured below.
This year’s show was dedicated to the memory of Tommie Bourland, the founder of Northeast Mississippi Rose Society and the Co-Chairman of this year’s show.
The arrangement category featured unique and creative artistry.
More show stopping blooms are shown below.
Tommie and Walter Bourland are pictured below with my parents, Maxine and John Patterson, at a rose show from around ten years ago. Their passion for growing and sharing their roses is being cultivated in a new generation of Rosarians.
“A person learns patience, for the rewards of one’s work do not occur overnight. A person deepens their faith, for one cannot control harsh winters or parched summers. Most of all, one’s relationship with the Creator of all this beauty is deepened and enhanced, for one cannot possibly touch the petals of a rose without being in awe of God’s greatness”.
(from an article that appeared in the Tupelo Daily Journal by Mary Farrell Thomas about my Mother years ago)