Local horticulturist shares passion for the indigenous beauty of Walton County

October 30, 2009

Snookie Parrish explains local flora in Point Washington State Forest.
Snookie Parrish describes the type of flora in Point Washington State Forest.

Go Native Tours with Snookie offers locals and visitors educational tours of natural habitats

Local Florida Master Gardener and Master Naturalist, Snookie Parrish has a passion for nature and the outdoors. As one of the most recent additions to the Walton County Tourist Development Council’s list of certified nature outfitters, Snookie is now sharing her love of nature by offering guided tours. Appropriately named Go Native Tours with Snookie, she provides interpretive hiking, biking and walking tours in Walton County, where outdoor enthusiasts will have the opportunity to explore natural habitats as she identifies plants and trees indigenous to the area.

Originally from Selma, Alabama, Snookie grew up fortunate enough to have both her grandmothers share with her their love of flower and vegetable gardening.

“I spent many days bent over in the summer heat helping my grandmother plant, harvest and can her vegetable crops to insure the family ate fresh all winter That was ‘eating local’ at its finest,” Snookie quipped as she explained her first appreciation for eating local food.

Flowering native salvia.
Flowering native salvia.

After spending 20 years unhappily as a dental hygienist, Snookie felt something was missing in her life. One day, during a conversation with a friend who asked her what she really wanted to do, Snookie told her she really wanted to be a gardener. Several days later she received her first gardening book with the inscription “Good luck in your new career.” She never looked back and has had her hands back in the dirt ever since.

Snookie kicked off her gardening career by starting a landscape maintenance company in Mobile, Ala. in 1995 called Earth Mother Landscape Gardening. In 1999 while working on a display garden at a nursery, she met Walton County area landscape architect, Jake Ingram. While talking with Jake, she mentioned an interest in moving to Grayton Beach. The results of that conversation led to Snookie becoming the head gardener for WaterColor from 2000-2004.

Learning the local vegetation by crawling through pocket parks and native plant areas with plant book in her hand, Snookie honed her skills on native plants and butterflies as well, eventually leading to plant selection of WaterColor’s Cerulean Park butterfly garden and had a hand in the design of the marina/amphitheater area garden.

From 2004-2006 Snookie became the site supervisor at Alys Beach, then opened her own landscape consulting business offering design, quality control and maintenance for Florida native landscapes and butterfly gardens.

Snookie provides presentations to community associations, garden clubs and Master Gardeners sharing her knowledge of native plants, wildflowers and butterflies, as well as sustainable landscape practices.  She also teaches gardening skills and the importance of eating local foods at the Seaside Neighborhood School.

Snookie resides in Panama City Beach with her two dogs, cat and native garden.

If you are interested in going on a tour with Snookie Parrish, she can be reached at (850) 685-0228 or email: gonative@knology.net

    1. What a great interview, Snookie’s pretty wonderful. Very smart, knowledgeable…..very nice story.

    1. Snookie, you are so lucky that you are still following your passion, your love of gardening. And you are still doing a beautiful job…. Keep smiling… Janice

    1. Hey Snookie! I’m your long lost cousin from Selma!You look great!Hope we can get together! Rosey Lee Hoard

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