It’s a great time for planning your garden!

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, June 27, 2018

By Pat Drackett, Director, The Crosby Arboretum
MSU Extension Service

Yes, you read that right! This is an excellent time for making plans for your garden! Why? Because it’s downright sweltering lately, and most of us are gardening a lot less, perhaps in the cooler morning hours, or, from many conversations I’ve heard lately, not at all.
Yes, this is the time many of us sit inside in air conditioned comfort and gaze out the window at our gardens and the fruits of spring labors. We may only take a quick glance at our landscaping further out in the yard while making the mad dash from the (air conditioned) car to the (air conditioned) house.
Hopefully our landscaping is flourishing in these ever-increasing temperatures. If we made wise plant additions to our landscape in spring, and crossed our fingers hoping once we’d abandoned them after nursing them for a few months through establishment, they will continue to thrive.

Right now the time is perfect to take a look around at your own, and your neighbors’ yards, to see what plants are doing best under these hot and sweltering temperatures. Take photos and notes, and plan to install these plants next spring! If you are unsure of the identity of a plant, you may email a photo to the Arboretum or the Pearl River County Extension office.
A great website for plant identification for the plants growing wild on your property is The site shows many photos showing characteristics of a species to help you identify the plant rather than just a pretty bloom picture, and was designed specifically for persons with little to no knowledge of plants.

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You can see plants in our pollinator garden that are doing just fine, despite the hot weather. Our lantana, salvia, basil, pentas, gaura, stokes aster, hibiscus, and milkweed are doing just fine and dandy! Visit Mississippi State University’s Extension website at to read about plants that will thrive in the heat of summer. Just enter the type of plants you are interested such as perennials or shrubs, along with keywords such as “beat the heat”, or “summer”, and settle in for some reading. You will also see many gardening publications on the Extension site you can download to your computer and read later.

Looking for something for children to enjoy this summer? They will have fun feeding the fish and turtles from the Pinecote Pavilion, and exploring our three miles of walking trails. Remember, we are pet friendly and leashed dogs are welcome.
We have just finished setting up our tables with a wide selection of children’s activities in our cool program room. One of these areas features animal tracks and scat, “story” sheets, and books on wildlife and tracks. If you don’t know what “scat” is, come find out!

Check out the table of children’s books on nature topics. Visitors are also welcome to browse our special collections library with books on gardening, wildlife gardening, native plants, and local history and culture.
Crosby Arboretum members have library borrowing privileges, one of many benefits of an Arboretum membership, as well as the opportunity to visit over 300 U.S. public gardens for free or reduced admission through the American Horticultural Society’s Reciprocal Admissions Program. Simply present your Crosby Arboretum membership card.

Call to sign up for our children’s Craft Workshop on creating Nature Journals on Thursday, June 28 from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m., led by Kim Johnson. Personalized nature journals are a great way to inspire your child to start exploring the great outdoors.

Our kids’ Seed Art Craft Workshop will Thursday, July 26 from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. also led by Kim Johnson. Children will use various seeds to create their own masterpieces. Program size is limited and registration is requested. Cost for craft workshops is $3 for members’ children and $5 for non-members’ children $5. There is no charge for adults. Call 601-799-2311 to sign up.

Enjoy our “Beekeeping for Beginners” program on Friday, July 27, from 10:00 a.m. to Noon with Pearl River County Extension Agent Dr. Eddie Smith. Get started with this introduction to keeping bees and start reaping the benefits of increasing your yield of flowers, fruit, and seed. The program is free for Arboretum members and $5 for non-members. Reservations are requested.
For more information on our activities and visiting the Crosby Arboretum, see We are located in Picayune, I-59 Exit 4, at 370 Ridge Road (south of Walmart and adjacent to I-59).