New garden at Experiment Station celebrated

Published 7:00 am Saturday, July 28, 2018

A new addition to the public garden at the South Mississippi Branch Experiment Station was featured during “Get Social in the Garden,” held Friday morning in Poplarville.

The addition was a collaboration between the Pearl River County Master Gardeners and the Experiment Station to showcase flowering varieties chosen as All-America Selections.

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Associate Research Professor for Mississippi State University Dr. Gene Blythe has been involved in the judging process of selecting plants for the prestigious designation in previous years. It involves the testing of cuttings and seeds from several varieties of plants to see how they fare in every region of the United States and Canada.

The results of the blind tests are then compiled and used to designate whether the plant is a regional winner or an overall winner. Regional winners are plants that grow better in certain regions of the country.

By using the winners from last year, members of the Pearl River County Master Gardeners put their skills to use in designing and planting a small garden that showcases the best ornamentals suited for this climate.

South Mississippi Branch Experiment Station Facility Manager Scott Langlois said that planning of the garden started in April and included growing the winning varieties from seedlings.

A separate section of the landscape nearby also displays a number of the winning SAA vegetable plants.

From here on out, the Master Gardeners will maintain the small garden on the grounds of the Experiment Station and Langlois hopes to be able to continue the partnership in the coming years.

“It’s nice to have a wonderful partnership with those who are so passionate about horticulture,” Langlois said.

In addition to showcasing the winning ornamentals and edibles, the Experiment Station is also conducting trials for next year’s potential SSA winners. Langlois said that the plants are provided to them with only numbers as identification to keep the testing blind. Some of the plants hits year have done so far, while others didn’t last more than a couple of weeks in the South Mississippi climate.

Langlois said the garden is open to the public for touring anytime during daylight hours. It’s located at 711 W. North St., in Poplarville.

Refreshments for the event were provided by Paul’s Pastry and Pearl River County Tea Co.