There is no question that visitors come from across the world to see the Houmas House Mansion and marvel at its imposing Greek Revival architecture and magnificent collection of art and antiques. But The Sugar Palace has also become famous for the perfectly manicured gardens spanning a generous 38 acres. Walking paths, water features, bridges, and sitting nooks make the pleasant stroll interesting at every turn. There is even a secret garden taking guests deep into the foliage.
Many ask who is responsible for crafting such an artistic display of plants, flowers and trees perfectly blending many colors and textures. You’ve probably seen the bearded man under the brown hat accompanied by his faithful companion, Chip. Craig Black has been the gardener at Houmas House for 44 years. Also an artist and poet, Black takes an artistic approach to gardening and treats his gardens like a canvas. Both Black and owner Kevin Kelly enjoy experimenting with new designs and making bold statements in every season.
The summer brings tropical, lush foliage with an exotic variety. Orchids, Bromeliads, Painted Leaves, and flowers of many bold colors can be seen at every turn. Winter brings softer and quieter blooms but still filled with bright colors. It’s then you will see Pansies, Petunias, Snapdragons, Calendula, and many more woven like a tapestry. The Houmas House Gardens now have the largest collection of planted Bromeliads in the state of Louisiana.
With a million plants under his care at all times, Black can always be found grooming or replanting a section of the gardens. In addition to his landscape designs he has an art gallery at Houmas House which is open to the public on weekends. Visitors to the plantation are impressed at the volume of color in every season. And with the constant changes throughout the year, guests enjoy coming back seasonally to see what’s new.