Arboretum Paths: Spend your summer exploring

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, May 25, 2016

:  On a recent walk down an Arboretum trail, this turtle was discovered in the “slow lane” taking a stroll of its own. Photo by Patricia Drackett

: On a recent walk down an Arboretum trail, this turtle was discovered in the “slow lane” taking a stroll of its own. Photo by Patricia Drackett

We’re happy to report that we received rave reviews from the attendees of our Pollinator Day on Saturday, who said they had gained new knowledge about our native plant species and their pollinators, and learned new ways to identify and attract butterflies and moths to their gardens.

We also gained several new members this weekend. As the community continues to discover the Crosby Arboretum, we hope they will continue to return and make us a part of their routine, and spread the news about this exceptional public garden where one can be transformed through the simple experience of being immersed in nature.

Here, you can find many opportunities to observe those moments when the ordinary becomes extraordinary, whether this is watching a new Luna moth emerge from a cocoon, pondering how the intricate design of a flower maximizes its pollination, hearing a wood thrush trilling in the forest, or catching the fleeting glimpse of a red fox dashing ahead of you on the pathway. Such experiences serve to connect us to nature.

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As a youth, much of my time was spent outdoors, walking the trails and exploring in our neighborhood woods, learning the names and habits of wildlife and plants, and reveling in the new discoveries found in the creeks and underneath logs and rocks. Pearl River County residents are equally fortunate to have a wide selection of natural landscapes in their own backyards to explore.

Some Arboretum visitors have mentioned that they would like to have a home garden, but their time is limited, and it is easier to just come to the Arboretum to get their “green boost”. But why not start with a water garden? These can be quite low-maintenance, since you don’t need to remember to water them – the water is already there!

For a comprehensive fact sheet about developing water gardens of all sizes, including a list of aquatic plant species, see Enter “water gardening” in the home page search field to read or download “Creating Water Features in the Landscape”, by former Arboretum site director Bob Brzuszek.

For inspiration, and a great selection of non-invasive aquatic species, attend our Aquatic Native Plant Sale on Saturday, July 9 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Experts will be on hand to provide information on the plants as well as about how to choose the appropriate species.

We encourage you to pay us a visit and to experience the beauty of the summer landscape here at the Arboretum. The Savanna Exhibit is particularly stunning right now. Several species of native orchids are in bloom, and orange fewflower milkweed is blooming in profusion in the Pitcher Plant Bog.

Want to learn more about the blooms you are spotting in the roadside ditches or out in the fields? A.ttend the summer wildflower field walk on Saturday, June 25 from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m., with Director Pat Drackett. Learn about the native wildflowers and other plants blooming this time of year, and the low-care species that you can incorporate into your home landscape. Cost is $5 for adults and $2 for children (members attend free).

Several Project Wild teachers’ workshops will be held this summer. The first will be Thursday, June 24 and Thursday, July 14 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., with outreach educator Sabrina Cummings from the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science. Call the Arboretum office to sign up for these workshops.

Several programs will be open to children looking for some summer fun. On Thursday, June 29, from 10:00 a.m. to Noon, Hancock County Extension Agent Christian Stephenson will lead a workshop in Insect Exploration. Children will learn about insects and why they are important and will collect insects on the Arboretum grounds. The workshop is free to Arboretum members. Children must be accompanied by an adult (no charge). The cost is only $2 for non-members’ children.

Please call 601-799-2311 to sign up for our programs. For more information, The Arboretum is 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.

By Patricia R. Drackett, Director and Assistant Extension Professor of Landscape Architecture
The Crosby Arboretum, Mississippi State University Extension Service