Beauvoir Garden Plans About To Bloom - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

04/15/04

Beauvoir Garden Plans About To Bloom

The vision for a more beautiful view at Beauvoir is beginning to bloom. A multi million dollar long range improvement plan, that includes a world class botanical garden, is slowly becoming a reality.

Thursday's dedication of a nature trail boardwalk is the next step in making the Jefferson Davis shrine a more popular attraction.

A "ribbon cutting" in the ancient woods featured a muscadine vine snipped by garden shears. A winding boardwalk is part of the master plan to create the Gulf Coast Botanical Gardens at Beauvoir.'

"And this is pretty much an intact habitat at the Davises would have seen it a hundred and fifty or so years ago," said Mark Lasalle, as he invited visitors to tour the wooded trail.

Nearby Oyster Bayou will also be restored and enhanced with native plants. The Beauvoir master plan is divided into several distinct areas.

 Judy Steckler chairs the citizens advisory committee.

"An environmental zone. A historical zone. A garden zone. And phasing the gardens in, so yes, it's going to be a real exciting visitation once we can have all the gardens completed," she said.

The most impressive garden on the grounds will be located behind the Jefferson Davis home. Landscape consultants are identifying and locating native plants which will grace the garden.

The Varina Davis gardens will offer visitors a unique learning experience combining history with horticulture. Jefferson Davis was tending his rose bushes the day a delegation arrived telling him he'd just been elected President of the Confederacy.

Restoring the historic home is part of the plan. The front porch has already been renovated.

"It's always frustrating when things go slowly, but I guess anything worthwhile always goes slowly. So, we're four years into planning and now we're seeing some of the projects come to fruition. So, it's wonderful to see that," said Beauvoir board member, Phil Gunter.

Money is among the biggest challenges. Beauvior will soon unveil a capital campaign to help pay for the plans.

Grant money is helping fund several improvement projects at Beauvoir. A grant from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History helped pay for the front porch repairs. Tidelands money from the state helped with the Oyster Bayou boardwalk. 

By Steve Phillips

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