The most interesting people go to Arboretum plant sales.

Published 12:31 am Tuesday, October 13, 2009

You can meet the most interesting people at The Crosby Arboretum native plant sale, which the Arboretum sponsors every so often to help introduce locals to native plants and get the plants back into circulation in the local environment. The most recent sale was held on Saturday and Sunday.

You meet folks such as Hank Carr of Purvis and Stacie Asher of Kiln. Or Pat Dale, who is a Master Gardener, who volunteers as do many others to help the Arboretum put on its many productions and sales.

Or like David Oreck, who founded Oreck Corp. and who drove down to purchase some plants for his place in Poplarville. His light-weight, durable vacuum cleaners are sold all over the world. He founded the company in 1963.

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Asher purchased a Big Leaf Magnolia and Carr bought various local fruiting varieties such as the paw paws and mayhaws.

Master Gardener Dale said the paw paw has a fruit that tastes a lot like a banana. Of course, anyone who has lived in the south knows about mayhaw jelly, she added.

She said the most popular local native plant is the “wild azalea.”

“They are beautiful and they come in pink and white. That is probably the most popular local variety we are selling,” she said.

“We also sale a lot of live oaks. There were so many destroyed by the storms in recent years, that people are replanting them, although you might not live to see it mature. But someone else will,” she said.

“The answer as to why you would plant an oak that you might not see mature is that somebody needs to do it,” she added, “so somebody can enjoy it later.”

“We actually have all kinds of different sales, for Arbor Day, for water plants; this is just one type, the native varieties, that we have a sale for,” said Dale, who is the former Pat Rester. Her father was the late Roscoe Rester, who owned Rester cabinet works here for years.

She pointed to fruit bearing local varieties, all of which she said are popular. There is the persimmons, chinquapin, huckleberry, crab apples — which the deer love — Chickasaw plums, hickory nuts, wild pecans and others.

The sale only lasted two days but there are others scheduled in the future.

The Arboretum here owns 105 acres on Ridge Road. The land was once used as a strawberry farm but has been allowed to return to its natural state.