Native Garden- Corneille Bryan
When Lake Junaluska was established in 1913, the founders set aside several areas designated as parks. One such area was a small shaded ravine of approximately one acre where a small stream flowed through, sometimes falling over a natural rock formation.
It became a popular place, but as time passed, the area fell into disuse with poison ivy and undergrowth taking over. The Tuscola Garden Club and the Lake Junaluska Conservation Committee had the idea to convert the area into a nature center with a focus on native plants, trees, and wildflowers. They soon realized this area would be an ideal location to create a preserve for native plants.
Mrs. Corneille Bryan, who was a member of the Tuscola Garden Club, had strong feelings for the beautification of the Garden area and had worked hard to ensure it became a reality. When she died in 1989, her family chose this project as a fitting memorial gift, and work finally began on the Garden in January 1990.
Volunteers cleared the site of debris and undergrowth and established trails, bridges, steps, fences, and benches. Mrs. Maxilla Evans, a knowledgeable botanist with a large collection of native plants and the garden’s planting chair-person donated her twenty-five-year collection of native plants.
In November 2002, the Corneille Bryan Nature Center Committee changed the name to the Corneille Bryan Native Garden to better reflect the character of this special place.
The founding women had envisioned not a well-manicured orderly garden, but rather a natural habitat filled with wildflowers, trees, shrubs, birds, and butterflies of the beautiful southern Appalachian Mountains. They saw a place of beauty and learning and a quiet peaceful retreat for renewal and reflection.
Since its inception, the Garden has grown to more than five hundred native trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants. The Garden contributes to the education of students enrolled in the horticulture department of Haywood Community College and the botany classes of Western Carolina University. Elementary school children occasionally visit the garden as part of their study of ecology.