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Marion Emily Deane Drummond

Written by Cole Williams on . Posted in Obituaries

A longtime resident of Baton Rouge and a widely acknowledged plant wizard extraordinaire throughout the Southeast, Marion died peacefully at home on her 83rd birthday, Saturday, August 24, 2013, after a two-year battle with metastatic malignant melanoma.

She is survived by her daughter Laurie Lynn Drummond; son Finlay Drummond; son Carter Drummond and his wife, Misty; and two grandsons, Chase and Cole. Born in San Francisco, Marion grew up in the Los Angeles area and earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from Stanford University. Thirty-three years later, she returned to college "for a few plant classes" and earned her Master's in Landscape Architecture from LSU in 1992. She worked as a volunteer at Hilltop Arboretum, served on its board, and then was hired as its first site director in 1992 where she was instrumental for her work at PlantFest! and with Hodge Podge and for initiating the Annual Symposium and the Cooking Series, as well as organizing and leading numerous popular in-state, out-of-state, and international Garden Tours. She was also very involved with the Master Gardeners Program, the Herb Society of America, Louisiana Native Plant Society, the Southern Garden History Society, Project Wildflower, the Gulf Coast Regional Plant Conference, and the Battered Women's Shelter. In 2002, at the age of 72, Marion was hired as the Executive Director of the Mobile Botanical Gardens, where she worked until 2009. Until a few weeks before her death, Marion continued her work as landscape manager at Boisvert Farms in Erwinville, LA; as a plant purveyor for Hilltop and many gardening friends and professionals; and with Hilltop's Hodge Podge plant propagation and sales events. Among her numerous awards are the YMCA's Woman of Achievement Award, the Robert S. Reich Service to the Profession Award by the American Society of Landscape Architects, and the Southern Garden History Society's Merit Award. One of Marion's signature talents was gathering people and using her wiles to persuade them to take on tasks they never knew they could or wanted to do. The world will be a bit duller without her presence. Marion's children would like to thank Hospice Compassus, especially her wonderful nurse, David Waite, and Dr. Fredrick Billings at Mary Byrd Perkins for their compassion, care, and support. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to "Marion's Greenhouse Project" at Hilltop Arboretum, c/o Janet Forbes ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ). An informal gathering will be held on Saturday, September 7, 2013, from 10:30am to 1:00pm in Marion's garden at the Drummond residence. 

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