Crosby Arboretum receives prestigious award

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Recently, the Crosby Arboretum received the Garden Excellence Award from the American Public Gardens Association. Crosby Arboretum Director Patricia Drackett said this is a “prestigious award that has, in the past, gone to much larger and well-known public gardens.”
Given to one public garden each year, Drackett said she is honored to receive this award of national recognition and is proud to work in such a beautiful environment.
“It makes me proud of the amazing people that designed this place. Receiving awards like this shows how far we have come and really puts a spotlight on those that helped develop our master plan,” said Drackett.
The Garden Excellence Award is based on the commitment to supporting and demonstrating the best horticultural practices, Drackett said. Well-known public gardens like the Lady Bird Wildflower Center and Chicago Botanic Garden have previously won this award, making the award highly sought after.
“The Crosby Arboretum is a place that is constantly changing. You can literally see the beauties change in the natural world here and it is a great get-away from life,” said Drackett.
She also described the arboretum as “a blend of beauty and science” and can be appreciated from a wide variety of people at various angles.
Over the last five years, Drackett said they have built multiple educational exhibits including the quaking bog educational exhibit, gum pond educational exhibit and the swamp forest exhibit. The quaking bog features a floating bridge in the south savanna of the arboretum, designed and built by landscape architecture and construction majors from Mississippi State University, Drackett said. Those students also helped design the other educational exhibits in the arboretum, something Drackett is very appreciative of.
“It is great to see these kids come down from the university and design something with a true purpose. From being a landscape architecture major, it’s a great sight to see these kids come and get that real life experience,” said Drackett.
Besides the educational exhibits, Drackett said what really separates the Crosby Arboretum from other public gardens is that it’s designed according to ecological principles. The plants in the arboretum are raised in communities and fit precisely in their natural environment. Drackett said that means the gardens are low maintenance and sustainable in their natural habitat.
Another unique feature about the Crosby Arboretum is the pinecote pavilion. Drackett said the pavilion was built by a local contractor and exemplifies the surrounding forest structures, making it seem “part of the forest.”
Also, the arboretum was nationally recognized on for having the seventh “most beautiful college arboretum” in the nation.

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