Hammond Research Station Walking Tour

Regina P. Bracy, Owings, Allen D.  |  7/18/2008 6:27:58 AM

Southern Homestead Planting

Herbaceous trials

Margie Y. Jenkins Azalea Garden

Urban Forestry

The Hammond Research Station offers walking tours for the home gardener as well as group tours for the master gardener.

Click here for a printable PDF of the different walking tours available.




Southern Homestead Planting

This former residence (now the Southeast Region Office) was constructed in the early 1900s and is surrounded by “homestead” plants, which duplicate 50-year-old landscapes found throughout the South. Be sure to view the splendid 100-year-old Southern magnolia located southeast of house. Plant examples are camellias, althea (rose of sharon), southern indica azaleas, spirea, crape myrtles, boxwood and liriope.

Crepe Myrtle Collection

Nestled behind and to the west of the Sun Garden is a collection of 25 crepe myrtle varieties commonly sold at retail garden centers in Louisiana. Here one can view the significant differences in size and shape, growth habits, and pest resistance of different crepe myrtles.

Urban Forest

Thirty-two species of shade trees planted here will provide research opportunities in species suitability for urban uses and maintenance practices. The use of lesser known native trees is also being evaluated. Ornamental grass meadows are being established in the urban forest area.

Sun Garden

Over 50 small island groupings of ornamental shrubs, annuals, and perennials showcase over 500 varieties of warm-season blooming plants during March through November and over 250 cool-season varieties during November through April. These plants are evaluated in full sun conditions under all the heat and humidity that Louisiana summers bring.

Margie Y. Jenkins Azalea Garden

Established in 2006 and named in recognition of the enormous contribution of “Ms. Margie” (owner of Jenkins Farm and Nursery in Amite) in promoting azaleas and native plants, the garden currently includes several collections of azaleas as well as different species of native trees and shrubs.

Retention Pond & Constructed Wetland

This water feature adds an aesthetic drama to the entry of the station and also serves as a demonstration and research area on managing landscape runoff and mitigating landscape pollution. Runoff from the parking lots, lawn area of the office building, overflow from a rain garden and excessive rainfall accumulation in the sun garden flows into pond area.

Heritage Live Oaks

Two 1500-year-old oaks at the front entrance to the station are used to demonstrate how to protect and preserve historic trees. At the Hammond Research Station, we have eight trees registered as members of the Live Oak Society. The Live Oak Society is part of the Louisiana Garden Club Federation and is a registry of over 7500 notable live oak trees found throughout the South. To become a member, a live oak must have a girth at breast height of eight feet or greater. Girths over 16 feet are classified as centenarian.

Care and Maintenance Area

Research on landscape issues such as plant adaptability, plant growth regulators, weed control, fertilization, pruning, and mulching is conducted in this area.

Shade Garden

Plants are evaluated under shade provided by an old stand of spruce pine, loblolly pine, and oak trees. Plants evaluated in the area vary from year to year but usually include hostas, begonias, impatiens, caladiums, coleus, ferns and other shade-loving plants.

W.F. “Hody” Wilson Camellia Garden (located across Hwy. 1067)

This garden contains over 650 camellia plants planted in the early 1940s and 50s from the early work of W.F. “Hody” Wilson Jr. Designated an American Camellia Society Camellia Trail garden, it contains many unique camellias nestled under towering pine trees. A camellia stroll sponsored by Tangipahoa Master Gardeners is held annually in February. Floods, hurricanes and snow have damaged the camellias repeatedly over the past 10-15 years.

Piney Woods Garden

This garden includes 40 landscape beds over 5 acres and features plantings of native trees, southern heritage shrubs, native azaleas, Japanese maples, yellow flowering magnolias, abelia, hydrangeas, heat-tolerant rhododendrons, new shade tree selections, extensive Louisiana iris variety collections and more.

Field Evaluation Areas

Several areas at the station are designated for long term plant trials. This includes evaluations of 60 new crape myrtle varieties (including those with burgundy and black foliage), vitex seedlings, hardy hibiscus variety evaluations and breeding efforts, evaluating experimental plants from our national nursery grower cooperators and more.

Specialty Crops

Several fields at the station are dedicated to evaluation of specialty crops – currently figs, tea (Camellia sinensis) and olives are included. Olive varietals are being evaluated for adaptability to south Louisiana’s growing conditions. Figs are an important historical crop at LSU with LSU Gold, LSU Purple, O’Rourke, Champagne, and Tiger being released varieties. Interest in tea plants is ever-increasing in the south for landscape use but also for leaf-harvesting for processing.

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