Arbo Paths: Decking the halls – and the Arboretum’s Visitor Center

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, December 10, 2014

As we move closer to “true” winter, and add a few extra layers to stave off the recent chilly mornings, it has been a joy to arrive at the Arboretum as it is beginning to look more and more festive with each passing day. But we’ve been so busy planning our next season’s calendar of programs and events, and mailing out our winter news journal, I realized that I’ve not seized as many moments as usual to enjoy the little things.

On a recent trip down our service road on a day of heavy fog, I did notice an occasional tiny “bowl and doily” spider web nestled in green pine boughs or delicate grass plumes. If you have never seen these webs, they are quite a unique and awesome construction. Look on your favorite Internet search engine for an image of this web, designed by a very unassuming little spider. As these webs are only obvious when coated with dew or dust, it is a real treat when their structures are unexpectedly revealed.

This past Saturday, grounds manager Terry Johnson reminded me that the American holly trees growing next to our deck are developing a pretty nice crop of berries. He should know, as he has been spending some time up on the Visitor Center roof lately laying down a coat of sealant, giving him a “bird’s eye view” of the situation.

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During our gallery opening this past Saturday afternoon, I had a similar conversation with photographer Brian Anderson, whose work will be on display until the end of February. Brian has the knack of being able to recognize, and capture, those little moments in our beautiful natural world around us. Photographs are such a wonderful way to communicate, and his have been a pleasure to get to know. Each one has a story, but even without the story, each picture is certainly “worth a thousand words”.

The artists who are selected to display in our gallery space also bring in a group of images that we then display on our wall monitor. It is mesmerizing to see Brian’s photos at such a large scale. So if you come by the Arboretum on a chilly day and need some time to get warmed up, just come inside and sit a spell and enjoy his slide show.

Speaking of opportunities to get warm, our annual Holiday Open House celebration will be held on Saturday, December 13, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Enjoy light refreshments and browse our Gift Shop, which will feature the work of local artisans, several of whom will be displaying their handcrafts that day. This event is free to the public, so if you have been wondering what we are all about, please stop by. It is a beautiful place, even on a cold day in winter.

Supervising: L.O. Crosby, Jr. is overseeing the decorating for the Arboretum’s Holiday Open House. Photo by Patricia Drackett

Supervising: L.O. Crosby, Jr. is overseeing the decorating for the Arboretum’s Holiday Open House.
Photo by Patricia Drackett

A Christmas miracle occurred the other day at the Arboretum. In a few short hours, a tree covered with natural ornaments materialized next to our portrait of L.O. Crosby, Jr.! Designed by staff members Kim Johnson and Sherri Lowe, the tree features “tree cookie” ornaments cut by Terry and stamped with images of various nature themes. White lights and pine cones of many holiday hues are just as attractive as traditional ornaments, and the icing on the cake is a selection of “icicles” which are fashioned from slivers of shingles from the Pinecote Pavilion. Arboretum volunteers Harriet Greulich and Teresa Hickey, also members of the Greater Picayune Arts Council, have been painting and stamping a variety of holiday ornaments lately.

The Arboretum is 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). For more information, call the office at(601) 799-2311 or see our website at

FOR FURTHER EXPLORATION: Birds need a warm place in the winter, too! See, for an informative Extension Service article, “Help wild birds stay warm this winter”, currently listed on the home page’s “Headlines” section. Other pertinent seasonal topics may also be found under this section. Learn how to provide areas in your yard that will provide shelter for birds, such as evergreen plant species or brush piles, and the types of plants and feeders that are best for feeding birds in winter. Planning your garden for spring? The MSU Extension website features a wealth of practical information you can trust, to guide you in making wise choices for designing your vegetable garden or landscape plantings.

By Patricia Drackett