Part of the 440-acre Burden Center and Rural Life Museum at Louisiana State University, Windrush Gardens is the last parcel of the former Windrush Plantation donated by the Burden family to the school. The original 3.5 acres were designed by Steele Burden as part of the family homestead, which he expanded and refined from his twenties until his death in 1995. The gardens blend Steele’s observations of nineteenth century Louisiana plantation gardens with his own design concepts and personal collection of European and New Orleans statuary.
Now at 25 acres, the gardens illustrate Burden’s idea of a ‘green garden,’ focusing on plant texture and form rather than seasonal flowers, with plants that thrive in southern Louisiana’s climate and reflect former plantation life. Garden rooms, each with a different design and character, include open lawn, ponds and fountains, and symmetrical planting beds edged with liriope and filled with banana shrubs, gardenias, sweet olives and butterfly gingers. The rooms are connected by curvilinear paths or roads lined with allées of trees. Mature live oaks and crepe myrtles shade numerous beds of azaleas and camellias, while canopies of oaks, pines and magnolias tower over the garden spaces.