Fall Garden Trip
Cajun Prairie, Butterflies & Blooms Day Trip
Date: Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Time: Depart 7:00am/Return 8:00pm
All-inclusive trip pricing!
Members $145 & Non-Members $180
Non-member rates include annual membership!
The language, the accent, the food, the landscape — it’s all a unique cultural experience in the “prairie” Cajun Country of Southwest Louisiana. We will begin the journey to Pitkin, Louisiana, in Vernon Parish for a morning visit with Dr. Charles Allen and his lovely wife Susan at Allen Acres Natural Area. Allen Acres Natural Area is a wooded paradise near Fort Polk and adjacent to the Kisatchie National Forest, near picturesque Ouiska Chitto Creek. The Allen’s have spent years developing gardens specifically designed to attract butterflies, moths, bees, and birds for pollination, photography, and study. On the day of our visit there should be a number of butterflies visiting for nectar on the many plants we can expect to see fluttering over flowers as we walk through the garden to observe and photograph these beauties. You won’t want to miss Dr. Allen’s talk about butterfly gardening for daylight and nighttime with a Moon-Moth Garden. He has a lifetime of experiences and observations to share with us you can put to practice in your own gardens. To close out our time with Dr. Allen, he will prepare us for our visit to the restored Cajun Prairie in Eunice later in the day.
Our second stop of the morning will be for lunch and dessert at Cecil’s Cajun Kitchen in DeRidder, Louisiana, and then back on the bus for a short drive to Almost Eden Nursery. Almost Eden Nursery calls Merryville home, a small rural community in Beauregard Parish. The nursery specializes in beautiful, unusual and hard to find plants including a large variety of native plants. Their stock encompasses over 1000 varieties/species, spanning 100 different plant families for the home and garden. Owner Jeff McMillan says someone asked him what he does for a living and his response was “I sell smiles if you enjoy flowers”. Jeff will welcome us with open arms and lead a tour of the nursery test gardens and greenhouses. Plants will be available for sale so there’s no reason to try to sneak any of the plants onto the bus – just kidding!
Our last stop of the day before heading back to Baton Rouge will be Eunice, Louisiana, to visit the ten-acre restored Cajun Prairie on the corner of Martin Luther King Drive and East Magnolia Street. A paved walking trail around the perimeter of the prairie will provide breathtaking views of the fall display of flowers and butterflies, according to Dr. Allen. Golden rods with their strong licorice scent along with different asters, some with white rays and other with lavender, light up the prairie this time of year. Not to be missed will be the splashes across the landscape of purple false foxgloves, tall lavender thoroughwort, blue sage, mist flower, blazing star and blue lobelia. The statuesque grasses of the big blue stem, Indian grass and a host of others in hues of light brown and red, intermingle with the flowering plants.
Once we get settled back on the bus the wine and cheese party will begin – “Laissez les bons temps rouler”. The estimated time of arrival back to the LSU Hilltop Arboretum will be 8:00pm.