Beauvoir Unveils Master Plan For Botanical Garden - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Beauvoir Unveils Master Plan For Botanical Garden

Every year, thousands of people walk the grounds of Beauvoir to experience the serene atmosphere and rich history of the last home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Soon, visitors will see even more of Beauvoir's beauty.

The master design shows how the 52-acre historic estate will be nourished, restored and turned into a magnificent botanical garden. The project is expected to cost $21 million. It will cost another $11 million to maintain it.

Cindy Tyler is part of the designing firm Marshall-Tyler-Rausch of Pittsburg.

"The master plan for the gardens at Beauvoir is more like planting a sapling, not a seed," she said. "The seed was planted long ago, and it's already sprouted in the soil that's rich in natural and national heritage."

Preserving the shrine's history is one of the biggest priorities of the design. For example, the Memorial Zone of the garden enhances the dignity of the Confederate Cemetery and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. And behind Beauvoir House, envision a garden that's been restored with beautiful blooms and native plants. It will look much like the garden Jefferson Davis' wife once planted.

"You want to experience the history of Varina and Jefferson Davis. In the environmental zone, you want to appreciate what Mississippi's natural environment has to offer. And in the garden zone, you get excited about plants," Tyler said.

Cathye Ross, a member of the Citizens' Committee that helped plan the garden, says "I love it, you can't get any better then flowers and gardens, and just being outdoors and having a good time. There's also a kids' garden, so it's great."

Tourism officials say Mississippi is bound to benefit from having a world-class botanical garden at Beauvoir. They say it will attract people from all over the world, who want to explore the area's rich history.

"It adds the other dimension to tourism. We have the historical dimension, and the casino dimension. This adds the garden part of it, which is a very large draw," Beauvoir Board member Phillip Gunter said.

Beauvoir received three grants to start the first phase of the project. It includes building a boardwalk at the rear of the property, restoring Oyster Bayou and refurbishing the front porch of the Main House. The entire garden is expected to take eight years to complete.

By: Trang Pham-Bui

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