JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – There are a couple of gardens at the Mississippi Museum of Art. The Walker Garden of Southern Plants and then the Art Garden of Native Mississippi Plants. They’re not quite the same, but both are worth an outing to the museum grounds.

“It’s just a beautiful area right in the middle of downtown Jackson. It’s an oasis of beauty where people can come and enjoy,” said Hollie Morrison, who is the garden coordinator at the Mississippi Museum of Art.

The gardens at the museum are both interesting in their own right. The Walker Garden is a shady area with maturing trees and plants that you might find in yards in any part of the south from Savanna to Shreveport.

“Those are more Southern Heritage plants. You’ve got your camellias, your magnolias, your hostas, things like that. Those are really not indigenous to our area, but they do really well in our area. That’s a little bit different than what we could call a native. A native was here probably before we got even got here,” said Morrison.

“Native Mississippi plants” are what you will find in the Art Garden at the Museum of Art. There’s a couple of reasons for native plants. To show off what grows naturally here in Mississippi, for one thing.

The variety may surprise you and functionality to retain and filter rain water that falls in the area before it runs onto Town Creek, which flows beneath the museum, as well as a lot of downtown Jackson. Also, to inspire flower gardeners to include more native plants in their flower beds.

What grows here naturally has long developed a symbiotic relationship with the pollinators that live here. Plus, they’re already adapted to our climate.

“There’s a ton of them that do really well in Mississippi without a lot of interference from the human side. They’re naturally beautiful. You can order them online, but I would recommend going to local nurseries. Even if they don’t have it, you’re creating a need. It’s a supply and demand type of thing,” said Morrison.

The gardens at the Mississippi Museum of Art are free to stroll in.

“We want to have beauty here. We think that we do add beauty. This is one more way that the museum can add beauty to our community. We want people to come and enjoy the experience,” said Morrison.

The museum is wanting more volunteers to help in the gardens. It’s a chance for us to do something for the community and to learn more about plants, too.