Arboretum holds last of spring programs

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Crosby Arboretum will be having its last spring events, the habitat walk and Butterfly and Moth Gardening, this Saturday.
During the habitat walk, Heather Sullivan, botanist for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, will be leading a morning field walk from 10-11 a.m. Sullivan will discuss the local habitats encountered daily by Mississippians as well as the native plants and their pollinators. The walk will pass through the Woodland, Aquatic and Savanna exhibits at the Arboretum.
“The Savanna exhibit is where it is at right now with summer just around the corner. We have dozens of beautiful milkweeds that turn a brilliant bright orange, which is a beacon for butterflies in the wet boggy areas of Mississippi,” said Pat Drackett, director of the Crosby Arboretum.
Throughout the walk, Sullivan will be highlighting the animals that will pollinate each plant, whether it’s a certain type of insect or bird, and the types of ecosystems that can be established in a back yard.
“[Sullivan] knows everything about anything that thrives in nature. You can ask her the hardest questions about anything throughout the walk and she will have the answer for you. It is actually quite amazing how she does it,” said Drackett.
After the habitat walk, Dr. Charles Allen, accomplished author and authority on costal native plants, will discuss the plants that can be used to attract certain butterflies and moths to gardens and identify the different types of butterflies and moths. The butterfly and moth gardening program is from 1 to 2:30 p.m.
“Dr. Charles Allen is very well-known in the state of Louisiana. He attracts a lot of people from Louisiana that come down for pollinator day at the Crosby Arboretum,” said Drackett.
Allen will not only provide tips on how to attract butterflies and moths but also how to sustain those ecosystems. During the butterfly and moth gardening program, Allen will provide a list of host and nectar plants as well as step-by-step tips on how to install a moon-moth garden.
Drackett described a moon-moth garden as a garden that would attract moths in the late-afternoon and early mornings.
They are filled with “vespertine,” which is a name used to describe plants that bloom at night, and attract hummingbird moths, Allen said in his State-by-State Gardening newsletter.
“Dr. Charles Allen is someone that is very knowledgeable not only about moon moth gardens but also ethnobotanicals, which is the study of the relationships between people and plants. Essentially what plants you can and cannot eat,” said Drackett.
For members, both programs are free to attend. Non-members will be charged $5 for each program and $2 for children. Register by May 20.

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