Arboretum Paths: Crosby Arboretum no longer a well-kept secret

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Bob Brzuszek, with the Mississippi State University landscape architecture department, points to the location of the deck to be constructed in the Swamp Forest Educational Exhibit(Photo by Pat Drackett).

Bob Brzuszek, with the Mississippi State University landscape architecture department, points to the location of the deck to be constructed in the Swamp Forest Educational Exhibit(Photo by Pat Drackett).

Yes, the Arboretum was open during the week of Christmas, and will also be open New Year’s week as well. So, come visit! Amazingly, this week we had a steady stream of visitors, even though it was wet and overcast. Had the weather had been sunny and certifiably gorgeous, I imagine attendance would have been much higher.

Walking through a few puddles last week certainly did not scare away the public. Family groups arrived with children looking for new adventures, and had fun stomping through the wet trails. Other groups enjoyed exploring the site with their family members or friends who were in town for a visit.

What was remarkable was that many of the past week’s visitors were first-timers. Having heard good things about us, they said, they wanted to check us out. A number had traveled from New Orleans, Slidell, or Hattiesburg, with some journeying specifically to experience the Pinecote Pavilion.

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We do love hearing people say that they are so glad to have finally visited. Over and over, we hear the same phrases – we’ve always wondered what was going in here, we’ve passed you a million times and always thought about stopping in. Well, judging from the fact that I knew very few of our many visitors this week, word has really been getting out. We are no longer a best-kept secret!

Some came for their regular exercise, a brisk walk. They commented on the unseasonably warm weather. Dogs also brought their favorite people along on a stroll down the pathways.

Last Wednesday we had a rush of shoppers who came looking for a last-minute gift. Popular items are the handmade crafts by local artisans. Our winter gallery exhibit of nature paintings by Gail Sheasby is quite popular. Visitors are often surprised to find we have a small gallery, which provides a great way to showcase local talent and draw in people who might not come to the Arboretum otherwise.

Planning the spring garden was the subject of some conversations, with dreams of planting a hummingbird or butterfly garden. You will be pleased to know that we have many MSU Extension Service publications on hand to distribute and guide home gardeners in their plant selections.

Our children’s garden area is currently undergoing restoration through a Partners for Pearl River County leadership class community service project. The group is rebuilding our beds and will be coordinating the installation of plants to attract butterflies, hummingbirds and pollinators.
Over the past year, grounds manager Terry Johnson and volunteers Tom Heim and Paul Breland and staff member Jarrett Hurlston have also been hard at work building cypress bridges that provide trail crossings over our thousand foot long stream channel at the heart of our Swamp Forest Educational Exhibit.

A new deck with seating will be constructed at the intersection of the Swamp Forest Trail with the Slough Trail, which leads north from the Arboretum’s Arrival Journey. From this deck, visitors will have views of the stream channel and a grove of evergreen Atlantic white cedar that has been planted in the area over the years. We look forward to enjoying a cool rest on the deck on a hot summer day!

Our upcoming programs and events are listed on our website at and in the Picayune Item community calendar. Send an email to Sherri Lowe at if you would like to be added to our general announcements listserv and receive notifications of upcoming events.

Mark your calendars for a winter botany field walk with MSU Extension Forestry specialist Dr. Glenn Hughes at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday January 16. A children’s workshop will be held the same day at 1:00 p.m.Enjoy creating a variety of tasty delights such as peanut butter pinecone feeders and “bird butter” to attract wildlife to your yard!

Our eighth annual Forge Day event will be held Saturday, January 30, and will feature blacksmithing and metalworking demonstrations by area craftsmen. The event is free for members, $5 for non-members, and $2 for non-members’ children.

For more information call the Arboretum office at (601) 799-2311. We are open Wednesday through Sundayfrom 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).

By Patricia Drackett