Strolling through Windrush Gardens you will marvel at the majestic live oaks and ancient crapre myrtles that create a shady canopy over the numerous azaleas and camellias, Only gardens like these, which are isolated from urban areas with connections to an earlier time and place, can evoke such a sense of tranquility, peace and yearning for a simpler, less hectic lifestyle.
The semiformal garden areas include symmetrically designed beds, open lawns and water features. Steele Burden acquired a taste for sculpture and garden ornamentation on European tours, and he collected many pieces to adorn these gardens. The garden areas provide intimacy, with each "room" offering a different design expression.
Steele Burden filled the gardens with his favorite hardy plants, such as aspidistras, nandinas, crape myrtles, azaleas and camellias. Liriope and mondo grass edge the borders. The vigorous southern Indian hybrid azaleas were available by the mid-1800s, and he used them abundantly. For fragrance, he included banana shrubs, gardenias, sweet olives and butterfly gingers.
Even though there are flowering and trees in Windrush, Burden emphasized the "green garden," using the form and texture of plants, rather than flower color, to create lush Louisiana landscape indicative of his style.
He used colored foliage to brighten dark areas, interspersing golden euonymus and gold dust aucuba among the azaleas. The bright red berries and evergreen foliage of the hardy nandina made it one of his favorite plants. The canopies of mature oaks, pines, and magnolias now tower over these garden spaces, giving protection from the sun and increasing the sense of enclosure.
Windrush Gardens are the life’s work of Steele Burden, the youngest of the Burden Family. Steele was naturally artistic and was a self-taught landscape architect. Steele toured the important gardens of Europe and he also worked in some of the surviving gardens of 19th century Louisiana plantations. Both of these earlier garden types influenced his approach to garden design and his life’s work, Windrush Gardens. Some of Steele’s favorite landscape plants included in the gardens are majestic live oaks and ancient crape myrtles that create a shady canopy over azaleas and camellias, evoking a sense of tranquility and peace. The winding paths are ideal for strolling and enjoying the 25 acres of landscaped spaces.
Windrush Gardens are accessed through the Rural Life Museum, located adjacent to the gardens.
Windrush Gardens offers an elegant venue for weddings, receptions and other events. Please contact LSU Rural Life Museum for information about booking this spot for your event.