Arboretum Paths: Fall native plant sale this weekend

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, October 14, 2015

: Grab your cart and choose from a great selection of hard-to-find native plants at the Crosby Arboretum’s sale this Friday and Saturday. (Photo by Pat Drackett)

: Grab your cart and choose from a great selection of hard-to-find native plants at the Crosby Arboretum’s sale this Friday and Saturday. (Photo by Pat Drackett)

You might consider the ideal planting season to be in the spring, however, fall and winter months offer excellent conditions to install new plants in your landscape. The cooler temperatures allow for a pleasant time to be working in your garden, and a dormant season in winter will provide an extended period for roots to become established. By the time spring arrives, the plants you have installed in the fall will be much better prepared to withstand the coming hot summer months.

As with choosing any plants for your landscape, native or exotic, it may sound like deceptively simple advice to say that you will need to read the label to be able to choose the appropriate planting site for the new plant. However, improperly locating plants is a large cause for their demise. Not providing the proper amount of water – too little or too much – is another great way to lose a plant.

When we take the time to dig a hole, plant, mulch, and care for a new addition to the garden, we have an image of that plant five or ten years or more in the future, adding to the beauty of our landscape. If we make the investment to purchase new plants, it’s safe to surmise we don’t enjoy repeating this year after year after removing dead plants that were not properly situated or cared for.

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With the wide availability of the Internet, you can quickly research the name of a plant you intend to buy. If you have Web access on your phone, the next time you are staring at a plant in the garden center that is about to be your next impulse buy, look it up. Does your home landscape have the conditions it prefers?

Become very familiar with the environmental conditions of your property. Observe how the light shifts throughout the day, where the sun and shade patterns fall, and the soil and moisture conditions of the various areas. Where does water accumulate? Where does it drain quickly? Armed with this knowledge, you will be able to choose the plants that will flourish in your landscape.

If you do not know the mature size of the plants you are considering installing, again, search for this information. It may be on the tag that comes with your plant. On the Internet you can locate many images of a plants. This can be quite revealing, as photos of mature specimens may have a very different appearance from the pretty picture on a plant label.

It is also helpful to research the rate of growth of a plant you are enamored with. If it is a fast grower, this may mean you will need to invest more time in pruning or maintaining a particular size. On the other hand, if you allow a plant the room to spread out and attain its mature size, less pruning will be necessary.

The Arboretum’s native plant sale this Friday and Saturday, October 16 and 17. This year we are offering a variety of perennials. If you have a hummingbird or butterfly garden, you will enjoy choosing plants such as milkweed, woodland phlox, purple aster, and native iris. Trees and shrubs include dwarf blueberry, bigleaf magnolia, beautyberry, buttonbush, pond and bald cypress, honeysuckle azalea, longleaf and spruce pine, dwarf palmetto, pecan, and six species of oaks. Knowledgeable individuals, such as the Pearl River County Master Gardeners, will be available to guide you in choosing the plants best suited to your property’s conditions.

Mark your calendar for a full day of Halloween Fun on October 31 that will include a floral workshop creating fairy crowns for princes and princesses of all ages, pumpkin painting and carving, and a special Spooky Woods trick or treat event. See our website for details.

The Arboretum is open Wednesdays through Sundays 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). Call 601-799-2311 for more information or to sign up for classes.

FOR FURTHER EXPLORATION: Visit the Crosby Arboretum website at and click the banner for the plant sale on the homepage to access the list of plant species that will be offered at the sale.

By Patricia Drackett