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Gardening at The Ohr-O’Keefe and Topo-Chico

I do the best I can to try to keep this column as real as possible. By that I mean I want to share the things that are actually going on in my life. Sometimes it’s a recipe and then it might be a new restaurant I have found, but it is all about the things that are going on in my life right now.

If you are like me, all I have been doing lately is trying to stay cool. Even at the Greenhouse, my favorite coffee shop in Biloxi, I have given up coffee, and sip Topo-Chico mineral water instead of coffee.

However, I am involved in one outside project that is important enough to me to endure the heat, at least in the early morning and the later afternoon. That project involves gardening at the Ohr O’Keefe Museum of Art. My partner in this adventure is Dr. Mark Lasalle (who also writes for this publication). It is actually two projects: the first is a garden of plants that the Native Americans who once lived here would have made use of. We still have quite a few more to plant, but once that is done, we are going to label each one with its name, and add a walking path too. This is what we have so far:

Red bay, the leaves of which are a seasoning, sassafras, dried and ground leaves are a thickener, persimmons, the fruit is eatable, and wax myrtle, another seasoning just to name a few. 

The other project is a maze just to the east of the Ohr campus. It’s in the shape of a spiral and will be made with wax myrtles. It will take some time for the bushes to grow enough to be shaped, but it should be a lovely walking path when it is finished. Stop by and check it out. 

If you haven’t visited the Ohr recently, it really is worth the trip. The quality of the exhibits is amazing, world class in fact, and there is all so a cafe in the visitors center now. It’s called Trinity Cafe and the chef is Josh Mitchel, who was the chef at Kelly English’s Magnolia House for many years. It’s a wonderful little cafe and a great place to work on your computer or even read a book. Chef Josh has a daily special that you just don’t want to miss!


Written by Julian Brunt

Julian Brunt is a food and travel writer that has been writing about the food culture of the Deep South for over a decade. He is the eleventh generation of his family to live in the South, grew up in Europe, traveled extensively for the first fifteen years after graduating from the University of Maryland, University College, Heidelberg, Germany. Today, he's a contributor for multiple publications, including Our Mississippi Home. He's also appeared on Gordon Ramsay's television show, "To Hell and Back in 24 Hours."


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