MS Museum of Art Native Plant Garden
The Garden Club of Jackson
For several years, The Garden Club of Jackson has educated its members about the advantages of growing native plants. Not only are they adapted to the local climate and soil conditions, but native plants require less water, fewer pesticides, and less fertilizer. They are typically more resistant to disease and drought, and they provide nectar for pollinators including hummingbirds, butterflies, native bees, moths, and bats.
GCJ members have learned how to propagate native plants through cuttings in addition to planting from seeds, and we’ve shared our abundance with both members at meetings and with visitors at our fundraisers.
The GCJ is proud of its participation with two public gardens which reflect the popularity and practicality of using native plants.
In 2016, using proceeds from our Spring Garden Tour, the GCJ funded a pollinator garden at the Mississippi Children’s Museum. Designed by Native Habitats Landscape Architecture, this garden near the museum entrance offers visitors, young and old, a glimpse of colorful butterflies, honey bees, insects, and hummingbirds busily collecting pollen and nectar, foods that are vital for their survival.
While club members work toward adding more native plants to our home gardens, we are bringing public awareness about native plants in downtown Jackson at The Art Garden, located at the Mississippi Museum of Art. This large public space was designed by the late Ed Blake to encompass seating, sculptures, fountains, an outdoor stage, and a 400-foot-long native plant display.
Formerly a parking lot located at the museum’s front door, this urban green space has provided a unique outdoor gathering and performance space for many events since its 2011 opening.
When Blake passed away before the project’s completion, Landscape Architect Robert Poore of Native Habitats took over, installing a dramatic gradation of metal trays designed to slow the amount of water runoff into the local Town Creek storm drain, and to display the beauty of native plants appropriate to varying soil moisture levels.
The native plant garden features a beautiful succession of bloom times throughout the year, but it has not been fully understood as an example of forward-thinking (and award-winning) ecological design. And it lacks appropriate signage about the native plants and their natural pollinators—an untapped opportunity for educating the public.
However, GCJ members are seeking ways to improve native plant education through new signage and an audio tour at The Art Garden. The materials will be in line with the MMA’s new rebranding campaign expected before a major art exhibit in April 2022.