Published 7:00 am Wednesday, March 6, 2019

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

Have you ever wanted to know about how to propagate plants from cuttings, seeds, and other methods? A workshop will be held at the Crosby Arboretum from 10:00 a.m. to noon on Saturday, March 9, led by Pearl River County Extension Agent Dr. Eddie Smith, who will talk about basic propagation techniques.

Saturday’s propagation program will include hands-on demonstrations in the Arboretum greenhouse to get you started in growing more plants, and methods to ensure success. Participants in the workshop will take home some seeds and cuttings.

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Also on Saturday, a children’s gardening workshop will be offered from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. Children will learn about small space gardening through the fun activities in this hands-on workshop led by Dr. Christine Coker, Associate Research and Extension Professor of Urban Horticulture.

You can download information on propagation techniques from the Mississippi State University Extension Service website at such as “Propagating Plants for the Home Landscape” (Information Sheet No. 207). This and other Extension publications can be accessed by entering the key words “plant propagation” in the search field on the home page.

The Arboretum will hold a big spring native plant sale on Friday and Saturday, March 15 and 16. A plant list has been posted on the Facebook page. Many unusual, hard-to-find native plants will be available at the sale, including native honeysuckle azaleas. We will have pink, yellow, and white species at the sale.

On my travels down local roads this weekend I saw the native pink azalea in bloom on stream banks.  This is the Piedmont azalea, Rhododendron canescens, which is common to the area, and it is also the easiest native azalea to grow in coastal Mississippi.

Several of these large pink azaleas are blooming on the path in front of the Pinecote Pavilion. You’ll often find swallowtail butterflies sipping nectar from the sweet-smelling flowers. It is a photographer’s delight!

Are there regular readers of this column who have not yet visited the Crosby Arboretum? Perhaps you read this regular installment because of your interest in landscaping, gardening or a desire to know learn more about your local native plants. If you have never visited the Arboretum, you will most certainly enjoy paying us a visit. Please consider the upcoming plant sale event as an invitation to visit, because site admission is free those days.

On Saturday, March 15, there will also be a gallery open for local photographer Rhonda Hunt.

Admission is free to this event as well, which begins with a short, informal talk by Rhonda on the inspiration for her photography, her subjects and techniques. Following her presentation in the program room, light refreshments will be served in the gallery.  Rhonda’s exhibit will be on display through May 31.

The Arboretum has doubled its membership over the past ten years, a reflection of becoming more widely known and appreciated in the area. Our public garden was designed not only to be a living memorial for local timber pioneer L.O. Crosby Jr., but to benefit the local community economically, culturally, and recreationally.

The staff of the Arboretum has made it our mission to encourage not only the citizens of Mississippi to visit our unique regional garden, but to provide a constant reminder to Pearl River County residents to take advantage of all that we offer, and to make us a part of your lives.

Come discover what the Arboretum is all about! Enjoy the variety of programs we offer. Observe how we have designed our grounds, and be inspired to make the best use of your own land. Our site is also dog and family friendly, with three miles of walking trails that pass through exhibits with interpretive signage on topics such as native plant species, and Piney Woods history and culture.

So mark your calendar and plan a visit during our spring native plant sale Friday and Saturday, March 15 and 16.

To sign up for this Saturday’s morning propagation workshop with Dr. Eddie Smith, or the children’s gardening workshop with Dr. Christine Coker, please call the Arboretum office at 601-799-2311, as space is limited. All materials will be provided.  The cost for the propagation workshop is $8 for members and $10 for non-members. T

he children’s workshop is $2 for members’ children and $4 for non-members’ children. Children must be accompanied by parent or guardian. There is no charge for adults for children’s programs.

Call 601-799-2311, or see or the Crosby Arboretum Facebook page for more information. We’re open Wednesday through Sunday from 9 to 4. Leashed pets are welcome. The Arboretum is located at 370 Ridge Road in Picayune, at I-59 Exit 4.