William Faulkner influenced many people through his writings over the years and made a lot of people think differently about writing in general. One person that Faulkner tremendously affected was Angie Quinn.
She was attending school at Ole Miss and decided to write her dissertation on Faulkner's connection with the land.
Around the same time that Quinn was doing this, Jill Smith, Betsey Hamilton, Sherra Owen, and more from the New Albany Garden Club had decided that they were going to create a Faulkner garden on the site of the Union County Heritage Museum that would correlate to his birthplace, which was right next to the museum.
NAGC members came to Quinn and convinced her to help the garden club with this project. So, Quinn and many others found every Faulkner reference in his books in which he mentioned a flower or a plant name. They took note of these findings and used it as a beginning to decided what plants go in the garden.
Every plant or flower in the garden is there because it has been mentioned in one of Faulkner's novels. Next to every plant or flower is a plaque that says its name, a quote from Faulkner, and the book the plant was mentioned in.
Quinn said, “There is a beauty of the garden and so many people got to participate and appreciate the garden.”
She talked to garden club members about what she thinks the garden has accomplished over the years.
She said, “It brought the community together and brings people from all walks of life, it created notoriety for William Faulkner in areas where it hasn’t been before, the garden created tourism for the area, brought about book reviews, conversation, and the recognition of Faulkner and his work. The New Albany Garden Club has withheld the integrity of Faulkner with the Faulkner Literary Garden.”
Quinn said that while doing her research on Faulkner, she found some main principles throughout reading Faulkner's books.
“The principles I found is that man does not own the land and man will not outlast the land; the garden belongs to the community and its visitors, nature conserves and preserves itself in cycles and the placement of plants are important, and man and the land should live in a symbiotic relationship with respect of the land. Faulkner looked favorably on people who worked on the land and who had respect for the land,” said Quinn.
Quinn said, “The garden represents the community and love for the work of God’s creation. The garden is all of the people that selected those plants, preserve the community, placed the stones, and more.”
New Albany Garden Club member and horticulturist Sherra Owen said, “A seed was planted in the 1990s to build this Faullkner garden and the museum was built where a tree once stood. In the South, the garden is a place of friendship because you meet people, you get to pass along plants to others and when you do that, every plant has a memory.”
The museum now owns a first-edition collection of William Faulkner books and the plans are to have a Faulkner Library at the museum.
This is the only William Faulkner Literary Garden in the world.