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Mississippi Revival
Restoring the gardens of Natchez sets the stage for celebration and remembrance.
By Heather Hammatt, ASLA

Over the years, landscape designer Bill Garbo has developed his own definition of historic preservation. "A historic garden is the result of an evolutionary process that has taken place over a long period of time and shows its integrity in the tastes and desires of the people who have owned and made decisions on the property. The evidence of a lifeline is just as important to the historic garden as the original design," says Garbo. "With that in mind, there is no way of being 'pure' in garden preservation, and I'm comfortable with that."

Garbo puts his definition to work in Natchez, Mississippi, which he fondly refers to as his "workshop," after more than 30 years of creating and renovating historic gardens there. "Natchez has always been a special little oasis of early settlement, unique in many ways," says Garbo, whose amiable personality has made him many friends as well as clients in the Natchez community.

Natchez, which has one of the largest collections of antebellum, or pre-Civil War, houses in the country, is virtually untouched by time. This might be due in part to the fact that there are no major highways leading in or out of the city, only a two-lane road that leads straight to the Mississippi River.

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