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Profile: Edward Martin Jr., FASLA

Mississippi's First Registered Landscape Architect


Since 1953, Edward Martin Jr. has lectured, researched and photographed historic and contemporary designs in landscape architecture, architecture and the arts. Born and reared in Albany, Ga., he was a University of Georgia landscape architecture graduate. In 1950, he was associated with an Atlanta landscape design/build firm, then with a professional LA office in Birmingham (1950-55). He taught horticulture and landscape architecture at Mississippi State University, (MSU, 1956-1993), and helped initiate the landscape architect program at MSU in 1968.

In 1985 he was one of 34 American and 13 international design professionals selected to study in the Attingham, England summer program of historic preservation of English 18th century country houses and gardens.

At the ASLA meeting in 1986 in San Francisco, Martin became the first recipient of the 'Fraser Landscape Heritage' award for "innovative horticultural research relating to landscape architecture" in his reference work Landscape Plants in Design, a Photographic Guide, Trees, Shrubs, Vines, Groundcovers, Turfgrasses (1983), a book with 1,900 captioned black and white photographs.

Martin co-authored with Pete Melby, a fellow MSU landscape architect faculty member, Home Landscapes, Planting Design and Management (1994), which featured some 200 captioned color photographs. The book received the 1996 National Garden Clubs' Helen S. Hull Literary award.

Martin originated the annual public Landscape Design Symposium at MSU (1956-2005), co-sponsored by The Garden Clubs of Mississippi. After the 50th program, he retired as chairman; the program was renamed in his honor and is still going strong.

From 1981 to 2005 he hosted and/or led garden tours in the U.S. and in Western Europe for travel companies for the National Garden Club (NGC). He was the NGC landscape design chairman (1993-97), and an instructor (1960-2005) for NGC's landscape design study courses.

Martin retired from MSU in 1993. In fall 2001, he and his wife, Roberta, moved to Black Mountain, N.C., where he led garden tours at the historic Biltmore Estate in Asheville (2003-2011), and served on a local committee that planned, planted and maintained civic planting areas downtown, at public schools and for a large public park. The committee also sponsored a downtown annual garden show and sale.

The Edward C. Martin Jr. LA Scholarship at MSU has been ongoing since 1964. He was honored by the MSU LA Student Club for 20 years of service (1956-1976), and received the Distinguished Alumni Medal from the UGA College of Environmental Design Alumni Association. He was a trustee of the Mississippi ASLA chapter (1974, 1976-81), and received its Special Achievement award, along with the National Garden Club Presidential Citation for public educational contributions in landscape design.

Martin and wife, Roberta, have two sons with families in Mississippi. He is an elder in the Presbyterian Church, USA, and Roberta is an ordained Presbyterian minister for spiritual retreats and an author. In 2016, they moved back to Starkville, Miss. to live.

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January 24, 2019, 1:35 am PST

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