PICAYUNE — At the recent Master Naturalist training held at the Crosby Arboretum, Master Gardener Susan Swope discussed how using more natives in our landscapes can save us both time and money. She went on to describe some methods well-suited to lazy gardeners. One was to create planting beds in lawn areas. First, mow the grass as short as possible, then add layers of newspaper or cardboard, add a thick organic layer such as leaves, and there you go— less grass to mow. Months later, when the organic material in this future bed area has begun to rot and break down, the plants are installed. The slides Sharon showed of this process, called “lasagna gardening”, were very inspiring. On a Web search you can find many articles and books on this topic. This presentation reminded me of a time when former senior curator Bob Brzuszek had remarked that when he spent time in his garden, he preferred to be gazing at it while holding a cold drink in his hand, not out working in it. Most of us, I believe, would agree with his statement, especially when summer days bring us broiling sun and steamy conditions. That’s the time most will prefer to be inside reading our gardening books and magazines. Although we’ve been enjoying some nice breezes on recent mornings or while lunching on the Pinecote Pavilion, afternoons are trending toward the warm side, and it won't be long before a typical day will be sultry. On my walk last week with the Covington Garden Club, we meandered through the Pitcher Plant Bog and South Savanna Exhibit. The Mississippi native plants in these exhibits are showing no signs of being bothered by the approaching summer. We were excited to notice several clusters of white-top sedge. The unusual star-shaped “bloom” at the top of this plant is actually several large bracts surrounding a small inflorescence. As we prepared to leave the Arboretum the picture plant bog we spotted a tall spike of yellow colic root. Both yellow and white colic root are found in our pine savanna. A member of the lily family, the stem is covered with dozens of tiny blooms clustered around the stalk. Having a garden in a wet pine savanna certainly solves the problem of having to water during the hot summer months. If you are lucky enough to have such a plant community in your backyard, then you do not have the maintenance worries of the average gardener. Like us, you can enjoy the great diversity of beautiful wildflowers found in these areas. Create a low-maintenance landscape by planting areas in your yard that stay wet or moist throughout the year with species that are suited to these areas. Southern blue flag iris, American crinum lily, and Texas star hibiscus prefer wet conditions and all have showstopping blooms. Equally beautiful performers are the shrubs called buttonbush, buckwheat tree, and Virginia willow. Swamp black gum, and bald and pond cypress trees enjoy wet conditions. Covington Garden Club president Rebecca Weems mentioned some meadow landscapes she has noticed near her home, remnants of the wet pine savanna coastal ecosystem of which only 3 percent remains today. We pondered what it was like before this area was settled – when a lightning strike could start wildfires that could burn for hundreds of acres before reaching a barrier such as a creek. Land development continues to eliminate these remnants, but “plant rescues” sometimes come about when a person recognizes the value of these plants, and works with the developer to transplant selected species. Although a rescue may consist of only a small number of plants compared to a huge acreage slated for development, like the proverbial starfish in the popular tale, a rescue can certainly matters to that one plant. Our Pitcher Plant Bog contains many “rescued” species. We pass a narrow wet waterway, and notice the green leaves of the waterspider bog orchid (Habaneria repens). This aquatic orchid species may not catch your eye like a showy pink relative, but take a close look at its green blooms when they appear later in the year to see this plant’s subtle beauty. Peering southward from the landing in Cypress Head, across from the Pinecote Pavilion, gives us a glimpse of a secret world of white water lilies and arrow arum. Several pond cypress trees here have been bent during Hurricane Katrina when a larger tree fell across the trunks. These sprouted skyward limbs, giving them an unusual appearance, adding to the mystery and magic experienced when standing in this delightful, hidden world. We hear the call of frogs and birds as we travel along the pathway. We encounter American and inkberry hollies, swamp chestnut oaks, and Elliot's blueberry bushes still sporting a few blueberries that beg to be tasted. Although we didn’t make fast progress along the trail because each story about a plant we see soon leads to another, we certainly had a wonderful time sharing stories about Mississippi and Louisiana native species. If you have not yet participated in the research study currently being conducted by Senior Curator Richelle Stafne seeking to determine the possible causes for reasons affecting visitation to the Crosby Arboretum, please consider doing so. The link for the short survey can be found on our website and will be available until mid-June. A program on passion flower will be held on Friday, June 7 from 11a.m. to noon. Dr. Eric Stafne, MSU Associate Extension Research Professor, will discuss both the ornamental and edible uses of our native “maypops.” On Saturday, June 8, a gentle yoga class will be offered from 9 to 10 a.m. on Pinecote Pavilion with certified yoga instructor James Sones. Both programs are free to Arboretum members and $5 for non-members. For more information, or to sign up for a program, visit www.crosbyarboretum.msstate.edu or call (601) 799-2311.The Crosby Arboretum is located in Picayune, I-59 Exit 4, at 370 Ridge Road (south of Walmart and adjacent to I-59). For further exploration: Look up any of the plants mentioned above that you are unfamiliar with at your local library or in the Crosby Arboretum Plant Data Base (see the Arboretum’s home page for this link).
Summer days will be here soon
Third annual Christmas on the Rails and Shopping by Candlelight
The Third Annual “Christmas on the Rails” is from 5 until 8 p.m. Friday in conjunction with Picayune Main Street’s Shop by Candlelight and Art Works sponsored by Greater Picayune Arts Council (GPAC). Art Works and Shop by Candlelight go on until 9 p.m. Sometime during the evening, the Greater Picayune Area Chamber of Commerce will announce the winner of the Best Decorated Store Front contest.
CWC Pilgrimage: A second time around
D.L. and Sandra Barker Bolton invite you to join them for the “second time around” as they open their home for the Civic Woman’s Club Christmas Pilgrimage to be held on Saturday, Dec. 7, from 2 until 7 p.m.
Both of them were on the first tour of homes when Civic Woman’s Club started the Pilgrimage in 1986. D.L. and his late wife, Wanda, had a Renaissance Christmas, and Sandra and her late husband, Larry, had a Victorian Christmas.
Business withstands test of time
McDonald Funeral Home, now owned and operated by Steve and Ann
McDonald, is a 96-year-old family run business with several long time
employees and was the recent recipient of the 2013 Excellence in
Business Award from the Greater Picayune Area Chamber of Commerce.
Vocability: Did Black Friday make you blue?
The holiday shopping season has begun and in its honor this week’s
column relates to retail terminology.
Anyone who has either had a part-time job or has been known as a
frequent shopper has most likely encountered several of these terms.
Match the ones you know and learn the others because it will give you
a whole perspective on your shopping experience.
As always, the answers are at the bottom of the column.
Partners delivers Presents for Pearl River County
“Our vision was to coordinate with all three county school districts and have students anonymously adopted like the programs used with ‘Angel Tree’ and such,” said Herndon, who is Children's Minister at First Baptist Church in Picayune. “We have two locations for trees that will have ornaments representing children in need. One is at Coast Electric in Picayune and the other is at the Poplarville Courthouse.”
Coast Electric is located at 6375 U.S. 11, in Picayune. The Poplarville Courthouse is located at 200 Highway 26 E, in Poplarville. The trees are conveniently located for access when the facilities are closed.
Toys for Tots registration and drive
Boxes are available in Picayune, Poplarville, Crossroads, Millard, McNeill and Carriere.
In Picayune, a few of the many locations to find them are: Crosby Library, Highland Community Hospital, Picayune Police Department and SPCA. In Poplarville, a few of the many locations to find them are: Jacob’s Well, Chamber of Commerce and Hancock Bank. In Crossroads, a box is located at Crossroad Seafood and Grill. In McNeill, a box is located at McNeill Travel Plaza. In Carriere, boxes can be found at Hide-A-Way Lake and PRC School ROTC.
To sign up, go to WORC from Monday, Dec. 2 through Friday, Dec 6, during the hours of 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 7, from 9 a.m. through noon. Those needing further information can call 769-926-1333.
Fred Cruse Foundation again giving away bicycles
All donations can be either dropped off or mailed to Fred’s Westside Pharmacy located at 207 Kirkwood St., Picayune, MS 39466. For more information call Diane Cruse at 601-798-8888.
Angel Tree for children
Trees with angel ornaments to adopt can be found at Wal-Mart and Highland Community Hospital. Those who would like to sponsor a child through Angel Tree, or find out more about it, may call the church at 601-798-6301 or visit the Internet site at www.angeltree.org.
Senior Snowflake project
Snowflake trees will be found at:
— Highland Community Hospital;
— Ford Realty located at 1004 Memorial Boulevard, open from 8:30 a.m.
to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday;
— Stewart Insurance Agency, 114 East Canal Street in Picayune open
Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
CWC Pilgrimage: Formby home
It’s Christmas time in Picayune and you will be hard pressed to find more holiday spirit anywhere other than this Main Street home in the heart of old Picayune.
The renovated home of Mark and Rita Formby sits on four city lots across from a grove of live oaks that are draped in Spanish moss. The sprawling oaks are scenic year round and slightly buffer the rumble of Norfolk Southern trains that roll by.
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- Third annual Christmas on the Rails and Shopping by Candlelight