While dedicated to protecting and preserving the environment, The Crosby Arboretum in Picayune, Mississippi, shares 64 acres of Mississippi native plants to educate the public and to research the Pearl River Basin ecosystem.
“The Crosby Arboretum is unique in the world of public gardens,” said Pat Drackett, director and assistant extension professor of landscape architecture at The Crosby Arboretum. “Since opening in 1986, The Crosby Arboretum has been called the premier native plant conservatory in the Southeast, and has been the recipient of numerous national top awards and honors.”
The Crosby Arboretum has three different habitats for groups to visit: a Savanna, Woodland and Aquatic exhibit. The arboretum also is home to the Pinecote Pavilion, a Mississippi Landmark. The pavilion is an open, geometric building used for events, exhibits, performances and a variety of social gatherings.
“The seasonal change of our native plant exhibits serves to connect our visitors to the landscape, and stirs in them a sense of anticipation for future visits,” Drackett said. “The Pinecote Pavilion, our central architectural feature designed by Arkansas architect Fay Jones, never takes the same photograph twice, and as the seasons change, no two visits to our public garden will ever be the same.”
Guided tours last about one hour and include the history and overview of the arboretum, an interpretive walk of all three exhibits, and highlight the native plants in the arboretum.
“We do not feature a static, unchanging landscape as is often experienced at a typical public garden,” Drackett said. “Here, native plants are arranged in their natural communities, and our exhibits are constantly changing. In particular, the Savanna exhibit is a continually evolving tapestry of color, pattern and texture.”
Groups should book visits at least two weeks in advance, and motorcoach parking can be arranged prior to visiting.
“We hope that what visitors experience at The Crosby Arboretum will result in them leaving transformed in some way, in having learned something they will take home with them — an understanding of these plants and their communities,” Drackett said.
For more information, call 601-799-2311 or visit crosbyarboretum.msstate.edu.