The Bernice Garden is located in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas. Visitors will enjoy the sculpture are produce by artists from the state and the beauty of the Garden. Anita Davis envisioned a meeting place to celebrate local artists, sustainability, and community in the empty lot that the Bernice Garden now inhabits.
She worked with a gifted tram to create the garden using a feminine approach to support these ideas.
The lot was first a part of the Augustus Garland-Mitchell House property and probably held the outdoor kitchen and gardens. It was built in 1873 by the future governor, senator, Augustus Garland, who was also the first citizen of Arkansas to be part of the Presidential Cabinet. The property was later rented to the Fletcher Family where it became the birth place of the poet John Gould Fletcher, who one the Pulitzer Prize. Another important family linked to the property was the family of Dr. Charles H. Brough, the twenty-fifth governor of Arkansas during the first World War. These associations make the Garland Mitchell House one of the state’s most significant historic landmarks.
The 1940s and 1950s saw the back part of the property as the Little Rock Inn, an American Graffiti- style drive-in with a small area of seating inside and the majority of the business taking place curbside with food and beer. After the closure of the Inn, the corner of the property housed a Captain D’s seafood fast-food restaurant. It burned down in 1992 and was condemned and demolished soon after.
Over ten years late Anita Davis bought the Bernice Building on Main Street that had been build in 1923. She then bought the Garland-Mitchel House property in 2006 and established the Bernice Garden in 2007.
Things to Do
The Bernie Garden offers the probability of a variety of activities.
Sculpture Exhibit- The sculptures and art works on display at the garden represent artists from Arkansas and reflect the history, essence, and nature of the state.
Garden- The structures and artwork found in the garden reflect the nature of the citizens of Arkansas, who are inclined to be able to stand up even the most extreme circumstances and still maintain a sense of eccentricity, and the state itself. All the artwork in the garden is created from materials that are recycled, reusable, and sustainable.
The garden’s dimensions are 100 feet by 150 feet and is made of landscaped areas with crushed granite bases for works of art. A lighted canopy made to catch rainwater and pipes it into a storage cistern, covers the concrete patio. The rainwater that is collected, feeds the plants, herbs, decorative grasses and flowers that grow on the ground.
The garden also contains benches for visitors to sit, contemplate, and relax on.
Hundreds of butterflies, dragonflies, and moths are supported by the flower garden on the grounds. Flowers in the garden include cosmos, zinnias, rudbeckias, and bronze fennel which the anise butterfly uses as a host plant. Herbs like rosemary, and several lavender varieties are grown. Decorative grasses and a variety of day lilies make up most of the plants in the garden.
The recycled glass pathways found throughout the garden reflect Davis’s attitude towards sustainability and recycling.
Visitors will enjoy the unique shopping experience the Bernice Garden provides.
Farmer’s Market- The Bernice Garden’s Farmer’s Market provides an open public space for local farmers to sell sustainably grown vegetables, fruits, berries, nuts, herbs, and flowers. Prepared food and cheeses as well as other goods are also sold. Sundays offer opportunities for those attending church to get breakfast before a service or sit for relaxed brunch or lunch after services. Shoppers who gather at the market enjoy company, music, the opportunity to make friends, menu planning for the week and exchanging recipes while eating or browsing her selection of goods.
Garden Market- The Bernice Garden hosts a garden market where all merchandise sold is unique. In order to be sold at the market, items must be vintage, antique, upcycled or recycled, handmade, or original art. The items must also be esoteric, unique, fun, wacky, high-quality, and clean. All profits from the items sold at the garden market go to the market’s vendors. The vendors booth rental fee goes to the Bernice Garden and is used to pay for electricity and amenities for vendors. Selling vintage items, the Bernice Garden promotes a healthy environment as they are items that will not be thrown away. The market provides a way for the Garden to support local artists and craftworkers.
1401 Main Street, Little Rock, Arkansas, Phone: 501-410-3938
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