Every day brings a new discovery at the Crosby Arboretum

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, August 9, 2017

By Patricia R. Drackett
Director of the Crosby Arboretum and assistant extension professor of landscape architecture with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

We’ve been experiencing a whirlwind pace over the recent weeks, as we’ve been in the midst of planning our fall programs and events. How can it be that we are on the downslope of this year so soon, already headed toward the month of December?
The beauty of the Arboretum rolls by unceasingly on our journeys into the lush late summer landscape, such as on walking a visitor out to see the Quaking Bog Exhibit, or to experience the cantilevered edge of the Pinecote Pavilion jutting out over the Piney Woods Pond.
On the Pond Journey, we pass by towering buckwheat trees and marvel at their emerging three-cornered seeds, waxy and yellow against dark evergreen leaves. In the peaty surface of the newly created quaking bog, new grasses and perennials are finding a home, and cause us to wonder how the area will appear once another year has passed.
Liatris is budding in the south Pitcher Plant Bog, and in some areas is turning purple, as the perennials begin to bolt skyward. Last week we encountered a praying mantis perched on a hollow pitcher plant leaf, causing us to chuckle and wonder which predator was going to be ultimately successful in capturing their prey.
Towering over the grasses in the wet pine savanna, a cluster of white blooms has appeared, and we recognize the attractive but highly poisonous Death Camus (Zigadenus). Yellow-eyed grass (Xyris) and bog buttons (Eriocaulon) provide a matrix for the pitcher plants (Sarracenia) which are still putting out occasional new leaves.
On the exterior walls of our Visitor Center, new wildlife greets us just about every morning. Whether we find moths, lizards, spiders, or frogs on our journey to the office, we are always compelled to stop for a quick snapshot. This spontaneous parade never ceases to make our day.
Bird song provides a constant chorus for our visitors to enjoy. Summer intern Brady Dunaway, who will soon be migrating back to Starkville, has reported he has spotted around thirty species of birds since the beginning of the summer.
Although our time for strolling the pathways is limited, it is awe-inspiring that we are able to see so much beauty in a short period of time. Imagine what you will see on your own journey to the Arboretum!
Members, and visitors to our public garden often tell us captivating stories about their time spent here, and how the Arboretum has enriched their lives. We hope to capture some of these memories and personal accounts, including them in our historical archives. Has the Crosby Arboretum played a meaningful role in your own life? Whether you are new to the Arboretum, or have been a part of us long-term, we’d love to hear your story!
We’ve recently posted an appeal for personal stories and memories on our Facebook page. Here, you can download the media release form to submit with your story by email, mail, or fax. Return by August 23 if you’d like it to be considered for our fall news journal, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Arboretum joining with Mississippi State University. Tell us what the Arboretum means to you, or how you have incorporated knowledge or skills learned here in your daily life. Your story may be shared on our website, social media, or print publications, to help promote the Crosby Arboretum and the positive impact it has on our community.
Make plans to attend a summer native plant field walk on Saturday, August 19 from 9 to 10:30 AM with Arboretum director Pat Drackett. Explore what is currently blooming in the Savanna Exhibit and pitcher plant bog! Following the walk at 11 AM, a “Sustainable Landscaping: Practices and Principles” program will be held. Learn wise maintenance and landscaping practices to conserve resources and energy, create eco-friendly home landscapes, and reduce maintenance needs, with Pearl River County Extension Agent Dr. Eddie Smith. Cost for non-members $5.
We are halfway through the year, and Arboretum memberships are half price! Join at the reduced rate of $15 for an individual and $20 for a family membership. Call the office at 601-799-2311 to purchase your membership by phone, or to sign up for programs and reserve your space. If classes have filled, walk-ins cannot be accepted.
For more information, see www.crosbyarboretum.msstate.edu. The Arboretum is located in Picayune, I-59 Exit 4, at 370 Ridge Road (south of Walmart and adjacent to I-59).

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