Work Begins On Botanical Gardens At Beauvoir

With an electric saw and a lot of sweat, volunteers slowly began cutting away the vegetation that doesn't belong on the grounds of Beauvoir.

Mark LaSalle is a Marine Resource Specialist who is helping with the project. He said "Over the years, there have been a couple of exotic species that have made their way in there. So, we're trying to remove them".

Exotic species like Popcorn Trees, Elephant Ears and ornamental Azaleas are coming down to reveal the native plants of the Ancient Forest. The landscaping project will eventually blossom into the "Gulf Coast Botanical Gardens at Beauvoir".

Judy Steckler is the Chairwoman of the Citizens Advisory Committee. She said "This will provide for the public a natural area that they can visit and see a Bayhead Swamp, and the Ancient Forest. There's a bay tree in the Ancient Forest that we had nominated to see if it would be the largest tree in Mississippi".

Phase one also includes building a boardwalk through the Ancient Forest, restoring Oyster Bayou that runs through the middle of the property to its natural habitat, and renovating the front porch of the House Museum. The Botanical Gardens will showcase the undiscovered beauty of Beauvoir.

Steckler said "When we brought the designer in to look at this, he said what you have is a jewel. It just needs a little polishing, and that's very, very true. We look forward to that happening".

Beauvoir still needs a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers before work can begin on the Boardwalk and Oyster Bayou. The entire Botanical Gardens project could take up to ten years to complete.