Park Place Garden Club hosted its spring meeting in Gardiner Park among the newly restored arboretum. Park Place Garden Club was organized in March of 1927 with the purpose of preserving the natural beauty of Gardiner Park, which is a responsibility that is continued to this day.
Being the custodian of the Gardiner Park Arboretum since its dedication in April of 1987, Park Place recently completed a rigorous project to replace the 25 trees downed by the December 2019 tornado. This project was made possible by grants from the National Garden Clubs Inc., National Disaster Fund and Plant America Grant along with other substantial donations. The Gardiner Park Arboretum was rededicated in February. All of the trees have been identified with plaques.
In order for a park to remain an arboretum, it must contain a collection of at least 35 native species. The Gardiner Park Arboretum was the first accepted Natural Arboretum by the Garden Clubs of Mississippi in 1987. The arboretum was dedicated to Anne Green Reeder for her support and dedication to Gardiner Park.
Guest speaker Meacham Harlow, who is Urban and Community Forestry Partnership Coordinator for the Mississippi Forestry Commission, gave an in-depth lecture on how to identify the trees in the arboretum. Harlow explained that an arboretum is a place where trees and shrubs are cultivated for ornamental, scientific and educational purposes. An important characteristic of an arboretum is that all species are adequately labeled with at least common or scientific names and continent of origin, she said. An arboretum is a dictionary of trees and shrubs.
Park Place Garden Club encourages the community to enjoy the beauty and splendor of this historical arboretum — it is one of Laurel’s greatest treasures.
Park Place Garden Club is a member of the Laurel-Jones County Council of Garden Clubs, The Garden Clubs of Mississippi and National Garden Clubs, Inc.