Gardening Tour Features Native Plants That Survive Cold And Drought

Native plants that thrive in South Mississippi and are easy to care for will be the highlight of the Coast Sierra Club's Wild Garden Tour Sunday, April 1 from 1 to 4 p.m. at three locations in Jackson County.

Gardens on tour include the following:

Nell and Art Kieff
16725 Thrasher Lane
Vancleave, Miss.

The Kieff's 10-acre yard has a wide variety of native plants, including some that are rare to the area. Plants of note include native orchids, pyramid magnolia, silky camellia, anise, native ginger, big leaf magnolia, buckeye, and large stands of native azaleas and mountain laurel. The Kieffs propagate native plants for the Crosby Arboretum in Picayune, and are dedicated to preserving the natural heritage of the area.


To reach the Kieff's, from Interstate 10 go up Highway 57 to Vancleave for seven miles, go across Bluff Creek and take the second right after the bridge. Go a short distance and when the road dead ends, take a left on River Road. Go four miles passing up the first River Road Loop to turn right on the second River Road Loop. Go four tenths of a mile and turn left on Thrasher Lane. Go about 1.4 miles until you see the mailbox with 16725 on the right. Follow the long driveway to the Kieff's home.

Jeanne Lebow and Steve Shepard
3515 Government St. (across the street from Magnolia Park Elementary School)
Ocean Springs, Miss.

Shepard and Lebow have specialized in collecting native Louisiana irises in a rainbow of different colors. The focal point of their yard is a water garden dug by hand that now contains a wide variety of different types of irises along with other water plant such as water lilies, pickerel weed, lotus, water plantain and arrowhead.

Becky Gillette
34 Davis Bayou Circle
Ocean Springs, Miss.

Gillette's yard is located on a hill overlooking Davis Bayou, which underwent a project last year to remove erosion fill to restore the bayou. The yard has large stands of native azalea and mountain laurel, plus other outstanding native such as fringe tree, coral honeysuckle. Gillette also grows a lot of herbs and wildflowers that are attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies.


To get to Gillette's yard, go on east on Highway 90 in Ocean Springs past Hanshaw Road and turn on Davis Bayou across the street from Madison Homes. Take the second left. Both native plants and others including those that attract hummingbirds and butterflies will be available for sale at all three yards.

A large number of the Louisiana irises will be for sale at the Shepard\Lebow yard, and the largest collections of natives will be available at the Kieff yard.

Admission is $2 per person per yard. All proceeds benefit the environmental programs. For more information, call 872-3457.