Arboretum Paths: Buttercups are blooming at the Arboretum

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The delicate flowers of the yellow pitcher plant (Sarracenia alata) are carpeting the Arboretum’s South Pitcher Plant Bog (Crosby Arboretum Archives photo).

The delicate flowers of the yellow pitcher plant (Sarracenia alata) are carpeting the Arboretum’s South Pitcher Plant Bog (Crosby Arboretum Archives photo).

Spring blossoms seem to be everywhere now at the Arboretum, and the show is well on its way toward a crescendo. The blooms of blue flag iris can be spotted along the water’s edge in the Piney Woods Pond, pink honeysuckle azaleas are in flower near the Pinecote Pavilion, and the yellow blooms of the pitcher plants are unfurling in the Savanna Exhibit.
The first year I started with the Arboretum, I began receiving calls from people asking, “When will the buttercups be blooming?” Since the plant that I know as a buttercup is a completely different species from the yellow pitcher plant common to our savannas, I didn’t realize until much later that this was the local term for the pitcher plant blooms. Well, I can report now that our buttercups are in bloom!
I’ve just returned from a native plant conference at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas. My visit to this public garden was a phenomenal one, because at the conference I was surrounded by persons who were equally in awe, many like myself who had been reading about the Center for a long time and were now experiencing it for the first time. The bluebonnets for which Texas highways are so famous are just beginning to bloom, adding to the breathtaking beauty of the surrounding landscape. This well-known garden not only provides the region with the opportunity to learn about the state’s native plants, but also communicates the value for understanding the plants native to one’s own region.
The Wildflower Center was founded in 1982 by the former first lady, along with actress Helen Hayes. Lady Bird recognized that the nation was losing its natural beauty, and she established the Wildflower Center as a place of research and education focused on the preservation of our country’s natural landscapes. Their mission is to “conserve, restore, and create healthy landscapes”. The public garden is composed entirely of plants native to central Texas, and the facility is set in the splendid region called the Hill Country. More than 100,000 visitors experience the garden yearly, and over 700 plant species are represented. The landscapes in the city of Austin reflect the plant material displayed at the Wildflower Center, a testimony to the influence of this renowned garden.
Not everyone lives near a public garden that provides education about their state’s native plant material, and few gardens are composed entirely of native plant species. However, residents of Pearl River County are fortunate to reside near The Crosby Arboretum. Established as a living memorial to local businessman and philanthropist L.O. Crosby Jr., the mission of our facility is to “preserve, protect, and display plants native to the Pearl River drainage basin”.
Do you want to know more about growing plants that are adapted to our local soils and climate? Learn how to choose native plant species for your garden here at the Arboretum. By providing them the environmental conditions they prefer, you can create low-care gardens that fit into our regional landscape.

If you enjoy gardening and learning about plants, make plans to attend the Arboretum’s annual lecture series this Saturday, March 28with Rick Darke, co-author with Dr. Doug Tallamy of the new book “The Living Landscape: Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home Garden”. The event will be held at the Margaret Reed Crosby Memorial Library from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. Search the Web to learn more about this new book and others written by Rick. Visit his website at and you will understand why we are so excited to offer the local community this opportunity to hear Rick’s message. The event is free to Arboretum members and $5 for non-members. Reservations are required, but at the time of this writing we still had space available, so call the Arboretum office at 601-799-2311 as soon as possible to reserve your seat. The Arboretum is open Wednesdays through Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is located in Picayune, off I-59 Exit 4, at 370 Ridge Road (south of Walmart and adjacent to I-59).

FOR FURTHER EXPLORATION: Read more about yellow pitcher plant, Sarracenia alata, by clicking on the link for our Plant Data Base on our website’s home page. Our data base is hosted by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. From our data base page, select “About” to learn more about the history of the Wildflower Center.

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By Patricia Drackett