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The Crosby Arboretum

A Sustainable Regional Landscape

Robert F. Brzuszek. foreword by Neil G. Odenwald

Publication Year: 2014

Since its genesis in 1980, Crosby Arboretum in southern Mississippi has attracted international recognition for its contributions to architecture, biology, and landscape design. Now owned and operated by Mississippi State University, Crosby is the first fully realized ecologically designed arboretum in the United States and the premier native plant conservatory in the Southeast.

Former site director and curator Robert F. Brzuszek provides a detailed survey of the arboretum's origins, planning, construction, and ongoing management. More than just a botanical center, Crosby emerged as one of the first American landscape projects to successfully balance natural habitat and planned design. The book's generous selection of photographs and drawings illustrate the beauty and purpose of the site's components: the award-winning Pinecote Pavilion, designed by architect Fay Jones; a 104-acre focus area that includes the Piney Woods Lake, which displays native water plants in their natural setting; and seven hundred additional acres of savanna, woodland, and aquatic environments that nurture more than 300 species of indigenous trees, shrubs, wildflowers, and grasses.

Utilizing the interactions between two opposing natural forces -- fire and water -- Crosby Arboretum protects the biological diversity indigenous to the Pearl River Drainage Basin, in southern Mississippi and southeastern Louisiana. Brzuszek's inspiring and informative account will help further Crosby's role as a model of sustainable landscape design and management across the country.

Published by: Louisiana State University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-viii


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pp. ix-xii

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pp. xiii-xvi

Emotions ran high when I was invited to write the foreword to The Crosby Arboretum, by Robert Brzuszek, a former graduate student of memorable abilities and sensitivities. In addition to having warm feelings for Bob and regard for his work in graduate studies at Louisiana State University, I have other personal ties to...

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pp. xvii-xxii

This is a story about place. It originates in a most unlikely location—in the scrubby pine fields of south Mississippi. The Interpretive Center of the Crosby Arboretum, Mississippi State University Extension, lies on the fringe of a railroad town known as Picayune, Mississippi. Nearly equidistant between the bustling cities...

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1: The Land and Its People

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pp. 1-11

Like the deep sedimentary soils that it rests upon, south Mississippi is composed of many layers. The coastal cities of Biloxi and Gulfport contour their shorelines along the Gulf of Mexico with brightly lit casinos and miles of imported sandy beach. These waterside cities enjoy a steady industry of fishing, tourism, and...

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2: The Story

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pp. 12-31

The Crosby Arboretum’s history mirrors that of the greater landscape. It is a story of the extraction of natural resources and of wrestling a living from an unforgiving land. As the Mississippi territories opened for purchase in the early 1800s, speculators from faraway northern and eastern states bought large tracts of southern...

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3: The Genesis of the Crosby Arboretum

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pp. 32-56

The earliest humans were inspired by nature. This is evident from the first simple yet striking cave drawings at Lascaux, France, and the touching remnants of cut flowers placed in Neanderthal graves: there is enduring evidence of people evoking nature.1 We are instinctively drawn to our world’s lushness and its healing qualities...

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4: The Architecture of Fay Jones

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pp. 57-67

Euine Fay Jones was always interested in building. As a high school student in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, he once saw a short film on the Johnson Wax building in Racine, Wisconsin. The architect of the building was Frank Lloyd Wright, and this brief glimpse of a futuristic building inspired Fay to make his career as an architect...

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5: Design and Construction of the Piney Woods Lake

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pp. 68-74

From discussions with other garden directors, the arboretum staff realized that Pinecote needed a major attraction beyond the plant community concept, and they determined that feature would relate to water. Blake summarized the need for an aquatic exhibit: “Utilizing the magic that water extracts from the human...

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6: The Major Exhibits of Pinecote

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pp. 75-98

As Pinecote’s infrastructure was being refined in the arboretum’s Master Plan, botanist Chris Wells continued to hone the plant community exhibit structure. To guide the plantings at the arboretum grounds, he devised descriptions for each of the plant community exhibits and compiled a list of plant species that occurred...

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7: An Arboretum Grows

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pp. 99-109

The Crosby Arboretum began a few public education programs while the young site was being developed in the mid-1980s. The facility offered limited tours for local groups, but as Blake wrote in his notebook from...

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pp. 110-116

The Crosby Arboretum is dedicated to showing and explaining to visitors how natural processes work in the Piney Woods region of the Gulf Coast. Future generations will see a much different forest, just as early visitors saw the transformation of young shrubs from an open field. When they considered its possibilities as an educational facility, Crosby’s founders looked around with fresh eyes and responded...

Appendix: Awards Received by the Crosby Arboretum

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pp. 117-118


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pp. 119-126

Bibliography of the Crosby Arboretum

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pp. 127-130


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pp. 131-138

E-ISBN-13: 9780807154342
E-ISBN-10: 0807154342
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807154335

Page Count: 160
Illustrations: 35 color photos
Publication Year: 2014