Mile Branch in bloom in time for the fair

Published 12:18 pm Sunday, September 29, 2013

Visitors to Mile Branch are transported away from the hustle and bustle of modern life and back to a simple time in history. Every detail is researched and planned by devoted volunteers, whose goal is that each visitor enjoys the pleasant sights, sounds and smells of the unique Mile Branch Settlement.

New additions, just in time for the 2013 Washington Parish Fair, include several heirloom gardens and plants that were carefully researched to fit the era. Also, Mile Branch has added a new Landscape Committee, chaired by Margaret Ryals, which is charged with enhancing the already picturesque historical settlement. Committee members have been diligently working their green thumbs to prepare for the fair.

One of the gardens features authentic plants that would have been cultivated in Washington Parish in the early 1800s and are planted on the side of the Johnson and Knight Cabin by the Ryals. Plants include canna lillies and Latene Alford’s mums, which were well-known in Washington Parish at that time.

Bruce Fontana, master gardener and Mile Branch volunteer, has cultivated a working garden behind the King Barn that also will be ready in time for the fair. All of the plants, including pumpkins, gourds, turnips and cabbages, are authentic to the 1800s.

Located near the Bateman Cabin is a herb garden that will be used for cooking during the fair. Burlon Bateman, Mile Branch co-chairman, prepared the garden, and he has teamed up with volunteer Jolene Black, who creates herbal remedies on the porch of the Knight Cabin. She will also be adding herbs to the garden.

Future projects of the Landscaping Committee include adding Indian corn and other plants from the 1800s.

— Submitted by Robyn Sprehe

Mile Branch Publicity Chairman