Heritage garden wins state award

Published 12:01 am Saturday, February 15, 2014

Former Vicksburg National Military Park Interpretive Ranger and Park Guide Gary Castellino points out edible and medicinal plants and flowers that are growing in the Vicksburg National Military Park Heritage Garden

Former Vicksburg National Military Park Interpretive Ranger and Park Guide Gary Castellino points out edible and medicinal plants and flowers that are growing in the Vicksburg National Military Park Heritage Garden

The caretakers of the plot of Victorian era plants at Vicksburg National Military Park will receive one of the state’s top historical awards next month.
The heritage demonstration garden is a partnership between the military park and Warren County Master Gardeners, and both agencies will receive the Mississippi Historical Society’s Award of Merit during the society’s annual meeting March 6-8 in Jackson, said Virginia DuBowy, natural resource program manager for VNMP.
The garden began in 2011 as part of the NPS Parks as Classrooms project and allows visitors to virtually step back in time while looking at a number of heirloom vegetables and crops.
“The garden is reminiscent of the 19th century kitchen gardens and provides an opportunity to present the life of average civilians during the Civil War — the hardships faced, their ingenuity, and the ways they cared for families — encouraging visitors to establish a tangible connection to this by-gone era,” DuBowy said in a written statement.
Garden activities have also been used to promote First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Outside initiative, and it earned national attention late last year after a visit by former NFL player and radio host Darryl Haley.
Haley interviewed DuBowy and several other Master Gardeners for his syndicated radio program.
The garden gives children and adults a chance to be active outdoors while showcasing a variety of healthy food options.
“As a community service, surplus vegetables and herbs raised in the garden are donated to local charitable organizations, providing healthy nutrition for those in need,” DuBowy said.
The historical society award is the second major award for the garden. In 2012, the garden won the Mississippi State University Extension Master Gardener Large Project Award.