Arboretum Paths: Do you have spring (planting) fever?

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Jelly, anyone?: Mayhaw is a popular native tree that just might evoke fond memories of gathering the fruit – in May – to produce a tasty jelly. Photo by Pat Drackett

Jelly, anyone?: Mayhaw is a popular native tree that just might evoke fond memories of gathering the fruit – in May – to produce a tasty jelly.
Photo by Pat Drackett


Perhaps you have noticed some bare shelves in the garden centers lately, awaiting the colorful bounty that will soon be appearing, and inspiring spring impulse buys. But wouldn’t you like to improve the chances that the plants you take home with you this year will still be around the following spring? Arm yourself with information and go into battle with a clear plan!

Before you go to the garden center (or shop at the Arboretum’s Spring Native Plant in March), pay a visit to the MSU Extension website and explore a wealth of information to guide you in your spring planting and gardening. Check out their section on “Home Gardening in Mississippi” ( Here, you can peruse past Coast Gardener columns and archived Southern Gardening features by Dr. Gary Bachman, associate Extension professor of horticulture at the Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Also linked from the Home Gardening page are the “Gardening through the Seasons” video clips. This series features MSU horticulturists who will demonstrate practical information for each month of the gardening season. From the MSUcares homepage you can search by a gardening topic, such as vegetable gardening, or a particular plant you are interested in, to access specific and helpful information.

Spend some time in your yard, and consider which areas are in need of additional plants, and why. What is the soil like in those areas? What is the degree of moisture? Observe how the amount of sun or shade in certain areas changes over the course of a day. If you understand your property, then you will be able to choose plants that will be happy when planted there.

The MSUcares website also contains detailed information on Mississippi native plants, as well as how to create naturalistic landscape designs. For more information on how to use native species in your landscape, take advantage of the great resource you have in your community! If you are new to native plants, visit the Arboretum and ask for Extension publications on native trees and shrubs, as well as a guide to the plants found in our exhibits.

Why not try growing some gourds in your garden this year to use for craft projects? Attend our Gourcrafting Workshop with artist Janet Schlauderaff on Saturday, March 8, from 10 a.m. to noon.  Janet will show you how to create your own beautiful and unique designs with gourds, cover how to grow, prepare, and work with gourds, and demonstrate a variety of practices and techniques. The cost is $4 for members and $6 for non-members.

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Doug Tallamy, Professor and Chair of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware and the author of Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens, will be the featured speaker of the annual Crosby Arboretum Lecture Series on March 15, from 10 to 11:30 a.m., at the Margaret Reed Crosby Memorial Library in Picayune. Dr. Tallamy will discuss the important ecological roles of the plants in our landscapes, emphasize the benefits of designing landscapes with these roles in mind, and explore the consequences of failing to do so. Admission is free for Arboretum members and only $5 for non-members. Call the office to reserve your seat.

The Arboretum’s Spring Native Plant Sale will be held Friday and Saturday, March 21 and 22, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Are there particular plants you have been searching for? Give us a call and add your requests to our shopping list. We will offer a wide variety of hard-to-find native trees, shrubs, and perennials, and plant professionals such as our Pearl River County Master Gardeners will be on hand to help you with selections. This will be a day of free site admission, so bring your family and friends to enjoy a walk around our beautiful garden.

For more information, call the Crosby Arboretum office at (601) 799-2311 or visit our website at We are open Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and located in Picayune, off I-59 Exit 4, at 370 Ridge Road (south of Walmart and adjacent to I-59).



Attend the spring Garden & Patio Show in Biloxi at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum & Convention Center, to be held this year on March 7, 8, and 9. The show offers you the opportunity to visit the MSU Extension booth and pick up informative publications or consult with the Extension professionals about garden pests and diseases, turf care, plant identification, and more. Bring in a bug or a cutting for the experts to examine. Information on the event, including hours and admission, can be found on the website of the Mississippi Nursery & Landscape Association (