UWAs Black Belt Garden promotes breast cancer awareness

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 24, 2007


LIVINGSTON &8212; In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, The University of West Alabama&8217;s Black Belt Garden will dedicate a handmade mosaic bird bath, created in honor of breast cancer patients, at an outdoor ceremony at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 30. The bird bath will be placed in the Pink Garden section of the Black Belt Garden, the South&8217;s only garden devoted to celebrating the flora of this region by showcasing native plants unique to our area.

The bird bath was created by Sumter County glass artist Linda Munoz and UWA employees Monica Moore and Rosa Hall. The trio initially wanted to honor the death of art teacher and breast cancer victim Linda Campbell, who designed mosaic stepping stones depicting Black Belt flora and fauna that are used in the garden. The women then started thinking about others, including Hall&8217;s daughter-in-law Dana Newman, who are dealing with breast cancer, and the project grew to encompass an entire Pink Garden.

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Munoz, owner of the Cotton Patch Glass Art Studio in York, donated the project&8217;s supplies, while the women spent three weeks working meticulously on the bird bath, which features pink breast cancer ribbons and a pink rose with a very special story.

The &8220;Peggy Martin&8221; rose survived Hurricane Katrina in a Louisiana rose garden covered in 20 feet of salt water. With its showy pink flowers and hardy nature, Hall says the heirloom rose is a perfect natural symbol for breast cancer survivors. Proceeds from the sale of this rose, which will grow among a variety of other pink flowers in this special section of the garden, are helping rebuild greenspaces along the Gulf Coast.

The 15-acre Black Belt Garden is one of many projects managed by the Center for the Study of the Black Belt. When it is completed, the garden will feature endemic plants found only in the Black Belt, such as native sunflowers and orchids; those found in this region and in surrounding areas; and exotic plants that have been here so long that you cannot tell the story of the flora of the region without them. These exotics include chinaberries and crepe myrtles.

The garden will also house wildflower areas, two ponds filled with water lilies and cattails, and Grandma&8217;s Garden featuring formal plantings of exotics. Native prairie fields will also play a prominent role in the garden. An old home will serve as the visitor&8217;s center, housing classrooms, office space and restrooms.

Breast cancer survivors and other community members are invited to the dedication ceremony for the bird bath and Pink Garden. Donations in honor of friends or family members affected by breast cancer are also being accepted to help with construction of the Pink Garden.

For more information about the Pink Garden and other Black Belt Garden projects, please contact the Center for the Study of the Black Belt at 205-652-3497.