Friday, April 12, 2013

Mynelle Gardens, Revisited / Part 1

As I drove from Vicksburg, Mississippi to Jackson this past Tuesday, for my long-awaited-and-looked forward-to photo shoot at Mynelle Gardens, raindrops were splattering on my windshield and I seriously wondered if I'd even be able to get out of my car once I arrived at the gardens.  But as I pulled into the parking lot, I was relieved to see that the rain was turning into a fine mist.

I grabbed my cameras, cell phone, car keys, umbrella, and $4.00 admission fee and happily set out on my tour of the gardens.  I was excited because the azaleas were at their peak blooming stage and I couldn't wait to see them and capture them with my camera.  It didn't take long for me to "be in my glory" ... with my camera and seven glorious acres of azaleas, wildflowers, towering trees, meandering paths, ponds, bronze works of art, and lifelike statuary to explore.   And even the overcast day turned out to be a good thing ... what more could a photographer ask!

Before I begin my tour, I'd like to share a brief history of the gardens. Mynelle Gardens was created through the lifelong dedication of Mynelle Westbrook Hayward, a Jackson native of national reputation in flower arranging and gardening.  Mrs. Hayward traveled extensively, gathering rare flowers and exotic plants, and gaining inspiration for her gardens located on seven acres near downtown Jackson.

In 1952, Mynelle and her husband Hal brought the gardens to life planting azaleas, camellias, flowering trees, and perennials.  District horticultural areas were developed and enhanced by bridges, fountains, and statuary.  The gardens were open to the public in 1953, and were sold to the City of Jackson in 1973.  Since then, they have been maintained by the City of Jackson, with the help of many devoted community volunteers who constantly seek to add to the beauty of the gardens.

And speaking of beauty ... one of the first things you see as you enter the gardens is this pretty fountain featuring two little ones enjoying its cascade of colorful turquoise water.

[You can click on the pictures if you'd like to get a closer look]

After visiting the fountain, I headed for the main pathway that leads deeper into the gardens.

All along the main path are smaller paths meandering through the garden, almost like a maze.  But it's a maze you wouldn't mind getting lost in, because everywhere you look there are little, what I call, "outdoor rooms," with benches and gazebos and swings beckoning you to "come sit a spell" and enjoy the peace, tranquility, and natural beauty of the surroundings.

This elegant bench caught my eye and as I got closer, I realized that the ornate bronze images depict the four seasons of gardening ... 

Before I share more pictures, I'd like to mention a new exhibit being presented at Mynelle Gardens.  It is called, "Plants of the Bible," and features over fifty newly planted flowers and trees which are referenced in the Bible.  My photographs include some of these plants, which are marked by small plaques identifying them, along with scriptures referencing them, as shown below ... 

I wish I could share all my "Plants of the Bible" pictures, but, after editing the 800-plus photographs I captured during my visit to the Gardens, I still have almost 200 photos.  Of course, I can't possibly share that many photographs, so I'm going to try to limit the number of pictures to those I think best capture the spirit and beauty of Mynelle Gardens.  

Let's start with the Azaleas, which were scattered throughout the gardens.

As I said at the beginning of this post, they were at their peak on the day I visited, and the lush profusion of blooms and colors was truly breathtaking.  I'm afraid my photographs don't do them justice.

I love these "red on red" buds against the red blooms in the background ...

Some of the azaleas stood way over my head and, in places, they formed "flower walls" lining the paths. 

I think the white blossoms are exquisite, too ... 

I was delighted when I came upon this glorious "Azalea Arbor."
It looks as if it might lead to a Secret Garden.

As if the azaleas weren't enough beauty for one day, I literally "saw pictures" everywhere I looked.  There were flowers and lush green plants and pretty little wildflowers lining the paths,  and, of course, there was no way I could walk by without getting a closer look at them through the lens of my camera.

I failed to get the names of these little flowers shown in the picture below, and would appreciate it if you gardeners would help me identify them. [Note:  Thanks to my master gardener friends, I now have a name to go with the flowers shown below -- they are Columbine.] 

If I had to choose just ONE flower as my favorite from my collection of pictures, it would have to be the elegant little lilies in the following pictures.   My gardener friends helped identify them, too -- they are Aquilegia barnebyi (Oil Shale Columbine) ...

Such exquisite little flowers ...

Most of the daffodils were gone, but this beauty seemed
to be begging me to capture it in all its glory before it fades ... 

And I couldn't pass by this single red tulip, standing
tall and proud amongst the pansies, without capturing it, too.

Another "mystery" flower ... Delphinium?

There is no way I can share Mynelle Gardens in one post and do it justice, so I'm going to end this post with a few lagniappe pictures, and save the rest of the tour for another day.  I hope you will join me for the rest of the tour ... I think the best is yet to be.

In the meantime, here's a little lagniappe for you ...


Richard Cottrell said...

Another beautiful Southern garden's dream. I am so jealous. I would love a hour or two there. Thanks for the tour. Richard from My Old Historic House

Marlene said...

My what a beautiful garden you shared with all of us. I wish I had been there with you! You are so right about the delphinium, and the lovely little ones you show are columbine. I look forward to another visit with you in this beautiful, heavenly place. Thank you so very much.

Beverly said...

The flowers you were asking to be identified are Columbine, and they are lovely in any color.

The Quintessential Magpie said...

This is just gorgeous, Janie!

I loved every path and every flower. I would love to tour this so much. I'm glad you captured it in pictures for us.

My favorite azalea is there, George Tabor himself. SO lovely.

Thanks for this walk in the garden.



Beth said...

Oh my! These are beautiful, please share more - I can't get enough!

Pat said...


Your beautiful photos were the next best thing to visiting Mynelle Gardens.

All of the photos were wonderful ... I loved the red azalea buds photo, but they were all beautiful.

Looking forward to Part Two.

Thanks for sharing the beauty all around us with your camera...wonderful!

Pat in Tallahassee

Dorothy said...

What a wonderful post about this beautiful place! I want to go there and see it up close and personal! Gorgeous pictures!