by Jackson County Master Gardeners Association
Known to a few, hidden away at the Jackson County Park, is an area of splendor and great beauty, ever changing throughout the year. This area, known as the “Jackson County Walking Trail and the Vernon Bush Gardens” which includes nature trails and lily gardens, is named in honor of the gentleman who began creating them when he first visited the park. It was a work of love, starting in 1996 and ending with his death in 2020. In honor of all his work and dedication, the Jackson County Master Gardeners Association (JCMGA) was asked by the County Commission to help prepare a plaque to be dedicated in August. Due to his failing health, the JCMGA stepped up to help with the maintenance of the trails and gardens with weeding, pruning, clearing brush, upgrading the trails, and tending the lily beds.
Right now, in late spring/early summer, there are still many different varieties of plants blooming along the trails. Most notably are the many different types of hosta plants. Although not native to our area, you will also see many species of day lilies in many colors and shapes, planted in the garden area by Mr. Bush. January and February will find many camellia varieties along the paved walking path and trails. In the spring, native wildflowers, azalea and rhododendron beautifully paint the landscape, along with yellow Lady Banks roses, climbing through tree branches. The scenery of the trails constantly changes with the seasons and there is always beauty to behold. JCMGA assumed responsibility for the upkeep and maintenance of the trails and gardens. As they work, the volunteers continue to find and explore new trails to enjoy! Some mornings you will find one or more members working to meet the needs of the trail and gardens. They do this for the enjoyment of all Jackson County citizens and park visitors.
At the entrance to Jackson County Park, turn right on to Rita Williams Drive to park at the entrance of the trail. As you enter from the parking area, you will begin your walk on the paved path. You might want to wear decent walking shoes for safety if you plan to venture off the paved walking path and onto one of the trails as you explore the serenity and tranquility these trails provide. Trees in the area provide a welcome canopy to keep it more comfortable than other areas of the park in summer months. Come walk these easily accessible trails to witness the wonder and beauty of nature. You will be glad you came!