If the crimson and yellow mums planted on campus this fall caught your eye and brightened your day, Calvin King and Rigoberto Rodriguez count themselves successful.
King and Rodriguez, co-owners of Immaculate Landscaping, a Memphis business with an office in Olive Branch, Mississippi, have been the contractors behind much of the beautiful seasonal color at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) for about a year.
“Our goal is to be immaculate in all we do,” King, chief executive officer of the company, said during a recent visit to campus to survey their work. “It makes you feel gratified when people say you have done a great job.”
Remember the large orange-and-white pots spilling with flowers that brought UT colors to the bed beside the Hyman Building on Union Avenue last winter? Surely the dainty purple, white and pink tulips, along with their bright purple, yellow and red cousins made an impression in the spring. And this fall, the colorful mounded mums have drawn plenty of attention.
“We couldn’t get orange mums, so we tried to get colors that would go well together for curb appeal,” King said.
“The goal and intent in mind is to say, ‘We’re here, we’re the UT Health Science Center campus,’ and to add beauty to the university and the surrounding area,” King said. He and Rodriguez started the company in 2003, first doing apartment complexes, and progressing to corporate campuses. Rodriguez is from California. King grew up in Mississippi, and for 20 years was a minister with World Overcomers Church. He currently is pastor of Repairers of the Breach Ministries in Olive Branch.
The Immaculate Landscaping crew works closely with the UTHSC facilities landscaping staff to make the campus look its best in all seasons.
Ken Brown, JD, MPA, PhD, FACHE, executive vice chancellor and chief operations officer for UTHSC, sees the landscaping as a way to define the campus and make it look cohesive, despite varied architecture and an urban setting. The well-maintained and attractive campus also aids in recruitment, boosts the image of the university and demonstrates that UTHSC is committed to being a good neighbor in the Memphis Medical District, he said.
“I get a lot of emails from students, faculty and staff saying the flowers are beautiful,” Dr. Brown said, adding that he often sees people stop to photograph the flowers. “The impact of this is much greater than I anticipated.”
Coming soon, King said, will be winter flowers – pansies and violas — and possibly some combination of red, white and green foliage, just in time for the holidays.