Arboretum Paths: Dreary day visitors bring sunshine

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Sights such as the sculptural form of this black gum await visitors on a winter stroll through the Arboretum grounds. (Photo by Pat Drackett).

Sights such as the sculptural form of this black gum await visitors on a winter stroll through the Arboretum grounds. (Photo by Pat Drackett).

Another dreary week at the Arboretum still brought in many curious explorers, as well as those having a destination in mind, to venture down our soggy Arrival Journey under a perpetually overcast sky.
The stories I heard last week continued to delight. Each visitor had a different tale of why they decided to spend a portion of their day at the Arboretum.
On the day following New Year’s Day, a member came in for a trail run, and rightfully concluded that he had been the first to complete one in the New Year! Attending the Arboretum’s September annual 5K “Run Baby Run” event organized by the Teen Challenge group in Poplarville, he had joined the garden as a member, and decided to renew his membership for the coming year.
With other visitors, we discussed our upcoming Forge Day on Saturday, January 30, which will showcase area blacksmiths and other metalworkers.
The event brings in a wide range of attendees to experience these hands-on demonstrations.
The fall trail run and Forge Day are excellent examples of activities which are not garden or plant-oriented, but allow participants to simply experience the beauty of our public garden.
If we gain one person as a member through such an event, it is well worth it!
Another visitor drove up from the coast because he had heard we had a bird exhibit, specifically owls. He came with a family member, possibly a grandson, who was passionate about this subject, enough to make a pioneering journey to the Arboretum.
He departed, with unfortunately no owl discovery, but following a delightful conversation during which I learned he was entering a neighboring county’s Master Gardener program this spring and he discovered we are a treasure-trove of Extension Service information on such subjects.
However, after this person left, I realized he probably heard someone talking about a school field day at the Arboretum, where a local school had arranged for an outreach educator to come from the Freedom Ranch organization.
This group provides exhibits of live animals such as raptors – owls – and is another example of something unique held here, so much so that news had traveled by word of mouth and served to bring someone to experience our site and as a result learn about the many aspects of nature celebrated here.
Several members who came in to renew their memberships talked about various gardens they had visited through the Reciprocal Admissions Program through the American Horticultural Society. Your Crosby Arboretum membership entitles you to special admissions privileges at nearly 300 other U.S. gardens.
For example, in Atlanta, you can visit Atlanta Botanical Garden and the Atlanta History Center, both outstanding facilities. In New Orleans, members may visit Long Vue House and Gardens, and in Baton Rouge, the LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens’ Burden Center.
Mark your calendar for some exciting programs being planned for spring. One will be a workshop on creating Fairy Houses with MSU Extension Professor Dr. James DelPrince on Saturday, April 2.
Originally envisioned as children’s workshop, we’ve already had such enthusiastic feedback from adults on the topic we will probably end up making this a “kids of all ages” event! On Saturday, May 21, Dr. Charles Allen, botanist, retired professor, and noted author, will present a program on Butterfly and Moth Gardening.
Dr. Allen’s program will include how to create a moon garden for butterflies. Stay tuned for times.
Upcoming programs and events are listed on our website at Email Sherri Lowe at if you would like to be added to our general announcements listserv and receive notifications of upcoming events.
Attend our winter botany field walk on Saturday, January 16 at 10:00 a.m., led by MSU Extension Forestry specialist Dr. Glenn Hughes. That afternoon at 1:00 p.m. a children’s workshop will teach how to create 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 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).

By Patricia Drackett

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