The Arboretum at Elvis Presley’s Graceland

There’s something for everyone at Elvis Presley’s Graceland – especially if you love nature. Graceland is surrounded by beautiful trees, flowers and plants, all of which are maintained and cared for by our grounds-keeping staff. Not only do these trees and flowers make the property even prettier, but they are also educational. The Graceland Mansion was named the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council’s first corporate arboretum on June 7, 2013. It’s also the first National Historic Monument to be certified as a corporate arboretum. Here’s a video from 2013 about Graceland’s arboretum. An arboretum, for any non-nature fans in the audience, is a collection of trees cultivated for educational, scientific or aesthetic purposes and labeled with information including genus, species and common name. All of the trees at Graceland are labeled. This is especially educational when school groups visit, or when it’s Scout Day, and troops are encouraged to explore the different types of trees at Graceland. Graceland includes 20 identified species of trees, including Southern Magnolia, American Elm, Willow Oak, Red Maple, Pecan, American Holly, Tulip Poplar and Black Cherry. A recent addition to the trees at Graceland is a Somei Yoshino Cherry Tree. The tree was a gift to Memphis in appreciation  for Memphis’ relief efforts after the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. Motohiko Kato, Consul General of Japan in Nashville, and the Japanese delegation attended the tree planting ceremony at Graceland. “I hope that the cherry blossom trees at Graceland will become living reminders of our thanks and also symbolize the continued growth of the friendship between Memphis and Japan just like the cherry blossom trees in Washington D.C.,” Kato said at the ceremony. Graceland’s trees and plants make the property even more special. The next time you visit Graceland, be sure to take the time to appreciate the trees (and learn more about them, thanks to their labels!), flowers and other plants that make Elvis Presley’s home even more beautiful. Here are a few more shots of the gorgeous greenery here at Graceland and Graceland’s Chapel in the Woods. http://blog.graceland.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/giphy-instagram.mp4    ...
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An Elvis Presley Scavenger Hunt

Sunday, May 24 is National Scavenger Hunt Day, so we’re asking you: How well do you know Elvis Presley’s Graceland? Graceland is more than just the King’s castle. Graceland was Elvis’ home, his private piece of paradise in a very public world. It feels both like the home of a Southern gentleman and a rock ‘n’ roll legend. There are family portraits, cozy couches and plush carpets, but there are also lush green shag carpet (on the ceiling), a room entirely covered in gorgeous fabric (which also covers the ceiling) and mirrors, everywhere (…yes, even on a few ceilings). Elvis definitely shows off his rock ‘n’ roll style at Graceland, but the home is also just that – a home for his family. It’s truly a place that must be experienced. Below are a few beloved pieces of Graceland, from its exterior to its interior and out on the grounds. Do you know where these things can be found in and around Graceland? Play along here or on the VisitGraceland Instagram account. You can also print this blog post and bring it with you on your next trip to Graceland, and see if you can spot these items! Have fun!     Feel free to leave you guesses in the comments, or bring this blog post with you when you tour Graceland so you can find these items for yourself. Plan your visit to Elvis Presley’s Graceland today! Have fun!   Here are the answers to the Scavenger...
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Elvis Presley’s Police

If Elvis had not grown up to be the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, there’s a chance he would have been a police officer. As the world’s most recognizable celebrity, Elvis needed security almost all the time, so he spent plenty of time, and became friends with, the officers who ensured his safety. In honor of Peace Officer Memorial Day (May 15, 2015) and Police Week, we’re looking at Elvis’ fascination with police work and his friendships with officers. Elvis always had a deep respect for law enforcement.  As a teenager living at Lauderdale Courts in Memphis, he’d hang out at Fire Station #4, across the street from the Suzore Theater on Main Street. The firemen remember Elvis hanging around, often with his guitar. After he graduated from high school, Elvis saw a lot of his classmates become firefighters and officers, so their friendships carried over. He was fascinated with police work and respected the officers for their service. “I don’t care where he was, whenever he saw the police, Elvis always stopped and talked to them,” said Memphis patrolman Jim Hammers. ”He would drive up beside them in the street and get them to pull over. He would spend hours at a time talking with them in different places.” Elvis also often stopped by police stations late at night and on holidays to visit the officers who were serving the public instead of spending time with their families. One night, Elvis came up on a traffic accident and got out to help the cops direct traffic. It worked well for a while, until fans started noticing it was the one and only Elvis Presley who was directing traffic. He made friends with officers wherever he traveled, and he loved collecting badges from across the country. He often donated to Police Associations and departments across the nation. As a Memphis resident, he was especially close with Memphis Police and Shelby County Sheriff’s departments. Elvis purchased equipment and uniforms for the Memphis Police Department’s softball team. At Christmas, he gave $100 to the Memphis patrolmen who were working in the Whitehaven neighborhood, where Graceland is located. He gave a Mercedes Benz to then-Shelby County Sheriff Bill Morris, who was a close friend. Morris was the man who nominated Elvis as one of the Jaycees’ Ten Outstanding Young Men awards, the only award Elvis ever personally accepted. Morris also deputized Elvis as a member of the...
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A Mother’s Day Tribute: Gladys Presley

Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 10, so we’re celebrating the woman who gave her son to the world. Without Gladys Presley, we wouldn’t have Elvis Presley. Gladys’ best-known trait is right there in her name: Love. She was born Gladys Love Smith on April 25, 1912, in Pontotoc County, Mississippi – about 15 miles outside of Tupelo. She was one of nine children, and she loved to play basketball, dance and listen to music. As a young girl, she worked on farms to help her family make ends meet. She later began working at a garment factory as a sewing machine operator. It was in East Tupelo that she met her future husband, Vernon, at church. They quickly fell in love, and their courtship was brief – so they eloped. Vernon was just 17. Gladys was 21. On their marriage license, Vernon claimed he was 22, and Gladys said she was 19. The couple were married on June 17, 1933, by a circuit clerk. The Presleys were terribly poor during much of their marriage, but love kept them together and happy. They welcomed their son, Elvis, on January 8, 1935, but also mourned the death of his twin, Jesse, who was stillborn. Gladys couldn’t have any more children, so she was fiercely protective of her only son. Elvis’ childhood friends have recalled that Gladys was a sweet mama bear, doting on Elvis, welcoming his friends into their home, but also making sure they all stayed safe and didn’t get into trouble. After the Presleys moved to Memphis in November 1948, Gladys continued to work. Her jobs included working as a nurse’s aid at St. Joseph’s Hospital and working at Britling’s Cafeteria. Elvis wanted to give his mother, who’d given him so much, a better life. He purchased their first home on Audubon Drive, a year before purchasing Graceland. And of course, after he purchased Graceland, he welcomed his parents in with open arms. Gladys lived at Graceland until her death in 1958, which broke her son’s heart. But Gladys’ impact on her son was lifelong. He was loving and protective of his own daughter, Lisa. He loved the same music Gladys loved and recorded some of her favorite songs. He shared his love of music with the world, the way she shared her love of music with her son. Many fans may think of Graceland as the home of a rock star, but...
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