Fall celebrations abound at the Arboretum

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, September 4, 2019

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

The fall schedule of programs and events for the Crosby Arboretum has just been released.  If you have never paid a visit our public garden, you will most certainly find an activity this season that will be of interest! Please, come pay us a visit.

Autumn will bring the return of long-standing favorites such as BugFest and the Piney Woods Heritage Festival, now in its seventeenth year. Newer events are also in the lineup. Due to the success of our evening open mic event, “Music Under the Pines” this spring, we will be offering an encore in October. Dust off that old guitar, or encourage your friend or family member to sign up for a 15-minute time slot! Scarecrows will be appearing again along the pathways (deadline for entries is September 20), an opportunity for the community to enjoy displaying their creative talents.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

We are also excited about having a second Family Pawz Fest on September 28! This event will celebrate family pets and will be a fundraiser for both the Arboretum and numerous area animal organizations, with the goal of increasing pet health, wellness, awareness, adoption, and improving the quality of life for all animals.

Most of you already know by now that our public garden is pet-friendly, which means largely the canine variety, although we have had the occasional parrot riding a shoulder through the forest. Speaking of this, a “Through the Forest” 5K Trail Run will make a debut in mid-October.

Endless possibilities for exploring the natural world are awaiting your discovery at the Crosby Arboretum. Many of our fall programs focus on ways to learn about gardening and designing with native plants. Interpretive signage along our pathways allow visitors to absorb information about the native species of the Pearl River drainage basin, or the history and culture of the Piney Woods region.

Here at our public garden we have the great pleasure of being at the intersection between the realms of art and science. The foundation of the Arboretum site is the groundbreaking and nationally renowned ecologically-based master plan developed by landscape architect and first Arboretum director, Ed Blake, Jr.

Ed’s master plan was the result of ten years of careful planning and participation by numerous talented individuals who were experts in their fields, such as botany and forestry. The plan is still being implemented today, and although you may not even be aware it exists, the meticulous design gives structure to a property that at first glance appears informal and naturalistic.

Visitors walk pathways that on the plan are known as “journeys” – The Pond Journey, The Savanna Journey, The Arrival Journey. These trails pass through a series of dynamic and changing vignettes that represent coastal landscapes and provide exactly the opposite experience of a typical public garden, which often has grounds that are labor-intensive, being continually manicured and maintained.

Want to learn more about mushrooms and fungi? Call now to register for the Arboretum’s Mushroom Field Walk on Saturday, September 7 from 10:00 a.m. to Noon with Dr. Juan Mata, biology instructor at the University of South Alabama. Discover fungi’s fascinating ecology, taxonomy, and relationship to mankind. You are welcome to bring your own knife, gloves, and basket or bag for collecting, however, basics will be provided. Reservations are requested. Members free; non-members $5. Non-members’ children $2.

On Saturday, September, 14, from 10:00 a.m. to noon, join New Orleans’ “BugLady” Linda Auld, a long-time insect educator passionate about butterflies, particularly monarchs, for a fun and informative presentation followed by a walk through the Arboretum Pollinator Garden. Butterfly plants. A selection of butterfly plants, and Linda’s new book, “BugLady’s Butterfly Summer” will be available for purchase.

For the past few years, we have been pleased to be feature a gallery exhibit each season to  highlight persons who recognize, respond to, and capture the beauty of nature through their artwork, writing, or photography. We are even more delighted when we discover and can feature a local treasure from Pearl River County.

On Saturday, September 14, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., our fall gallery exhibit opening will feature Jenny Bibb Ryals, who works for Mississippi State University at the South MS Branch Experiment Station in Poplarville. Jenny grew up fully engulfed and obsessed with all things agriculture, where she finds her subjects for her photography. After a short introduction, light refreshments will be served. This event is free to all.

Please call 601-799-2311 to register for programs. For more information, please see our Facebook page, or interactive program calendar available on our website at https://crosbyarboretum.msstate.edu/event-calendar. The Arboretum is located at 370 Ridge Road in Picayune, at I-59 Exit 4, and open Wednesday through Sunday from 9:00 to 4:30. Leashed pets are always welcome.