>Passalong Plants Makes Me Crave!

>This review is part of the Garden Bloggers’ Book Club May postings on Passalong Plants by Steve Bender and Felder Rushing.

Passalong Plants is a book that I savor. I cart it around the house with me as I get caught in activities where I might have a chance to read a few more pages. Nursing my baby? It’s always on the table next to me in case she falls asleep and I can read a few entries. Potty training my son? It’s on the floor next to his potty so I can read it while encouraging him (do you think I can sound sincere AND read at the same time?)

Steve Bender and Felder Rushing have done a beautiful job of putting together a book that feels like a wonderful Italian meal unfolding over an entire afternoon. Just enough of each “dish” to make you crave more and then move on to the next course. I have pages dog-eared to look up more information on the internet when I am done. And I know I’ll have a long list to try and order (alas, no little old ladies on my street are giving me these beauties)

I just came back from a weekend in Jackson, Mississippi where Felder Rushing is from, and I must confess, I considered stalking him to get a view of his garden. Funny enough, my brother who lives there listens to his radio show, co-hosted by “Dr. Dirt”, and my brother isn’t even a gardener. Have you seen his web site? He looks nothing like what I expected him to be when I read the book, but everything I would want him to be to create fabulous gardens with his Passalong Plants.

>May 29, 2007

>Wahoo!!!!!! Who says men aren’t sensitive!
My husband sent me off to my brother’s in Jackson for the weekend for a break from the kids. That’s right…NO KIDS. Just the sunlight to wake me up and the darkness to tire me out. We just let the day take us where it wanted us to go- no diaper bags, no potty training, no nursing (although I do admit that I work a mean breast pump!) Sorry, so used to sharing “too much information” on my other blog that it just spills over to here.

It was a great stay and I was able to work in a visit to Mynelle Gardens in Jackson, a beautiful private garden that has been taken over by the city and I guess is their de facto botanical garden. Chris and I spent the afternoon wandering and taking “macros” or close up shots of the prettiest flowers.

They had a ton of varieties of dayliles. This hot orange one really stood out in the afternoon.

A mimosa tree in bloom, absolutely the centerpiece of the garden. We couldn’t stop taking pictures of this. And with the reflection on the water, you just wanted to sit and stare as the light changed.

A close up of the mimosa blossom.

They interspersed some nice statues around like this one among the iris.

The garden was filled with hydrangeas of all colors and this one especially struck me with all the different colors coming out.

>May 21


Cloudy day today with some rain this morning. My first day with someone to watch the baby in the afternoon so I strolled alone around the yard. My first discovery was one I couldn’t remember what it was until I consulted my gardening journal. Veronica Royal Candles Speedwell, Veronica Spicata. Coming up in a few spots. Recommendations are to deadhead to get prolific blooming.

A calla lily I was given when Jack was born 3 years ago from my friend Shelly. It has bloomed beautifully every year. Perhaps this will be the year I transplant it into the ground. Callas have special significance for me since this is what John gave me when he proposed.

Some flowers have reseeded from the past owners and started coming up. Coneflowers, zinnias? I’m not quite sure. They certainly give a lot of color.

My mutabilis rose has been blooming and I love the colors its putting out.

And finally, a wild patch of prairie verbena that I spotted last year. It stayed in bloom so long that I hunted and hunted on the internet to identify it. Now I have some seeds ordered so I can spread some around in the wooded areas and have more of this color on the property.

>We visited my parents house in Dallas. I always find the backyard at their house to be such a tranquil setting to relax (honestly, not much of that going on having the two kids up there). But I was able to take a stroll around with the baby on my hip and get some pictures of some of the things that I love out there.This yard truly inspires me everytime I visit.

Here is the resident duck couple from the creek that come to take a daily swim in the pool.

A fish sculpture we gave my parents years ago that they have incorporated seamlessly in the pool rockwork. The daylilies and columbines in the back, reaching out like little birds looking for a treat.

Here is s shot of the Louisiana irises along the creek. My parents put these in when they first moved in 10 years ago and they have just ontinued to spread and thrive every year.

Some Lorepetelum, Chinese fringe plant which just grows enormous. I have some freshly put in at my house but they are so tiny it is hard to know how beautiful they will hopefully become.

Some stonecrop, just a wonderful texture, something I feel I often forget to incorporate into my garden.

A wonderful garden room. The gate leads to an overlook above the spillway and really is just perfectly framed. And the Lady Banksia rose is really going nuts on the gate.

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>I went for a solo walk this morning while Alex was napping. It’s lovely when the air is a bit cooler, especially knowing how fast it will heat up and the heat to come this summer.
As I was stumbling along the path toward the garden, I heard a noise ahead of me. A tiny fawn, no bigger than my dog, rushed out from where it had been resting, around the garden, and ran through the side yard across the front yard and down the road. That will teach me to be a bit more stealthy and observant as I walk or I might have caught a great picture of the little guy. This afternoon, I saw two more deer over there and I couldn’t help but wonder if it was a mama looking for her little one.

I was surprised to see my first morning glory peeking out from the seeds that I planted at the base of an old trellis left on the property. I was hesitant, knowing how aggressive and hard to control they are from an experience in Chicago but I admit, I’m impatient and don’t want to wait 3-4 years for a slower vine to grow enough to cover the trellis.

I caught this little guy climbing in the garden- see them everywhere and was on a caterpillar hunt unitl I looked them up and saw it is the larvel stage of the monarch butterfly. So thrive with my blessing, little yellow and black bugger. And eat lots of my weeds!!

Exploring around in my veggie garden, I saw my first tomatilla has come out. This is my first experience growing these and I’m excited to get some recipes to use them in. They are like little paper balloons and the fruit grows inside. They are ripe when the paper husk turns brown. Like getting a little present to open.

I know I posted about prickly pears last time, but they’re so visually stunning that I can’t help myself. We have all of these types naturally growing around the property. They just root wherever you might throw a leaf. But I found two side by side that illustrate some of the varieties. I personally love the spineless for obvious reasons. Here is a picture of the soft spines that come out and then disappear later to leave just the flat pads of the cactus. Below that is a picture of one that has spines. Both beautiful.

>Out in the garden this weekend and things are coming up, whether I like it or not. Alexandra and I explored a bit this afternoon to get some shots of things we planned and didn’t that are coming up. This strawberry is from our garden and Jack likes to go out every few days and gather the berries. I have to remind him to pick only the red ones. We picked one to take in for show and tell and it barely made it out of the container we put it in before he ate it in front of the whole class.

Some morning glories curling up my rose trellis. I love their shape.

Check out this guy hanging on my rose. I have been seeing these guys everywhere, surely munching on my veggies.

My orange bulbine, such a performer. Maybe I should plant an entire garden of this!

This gorgeous vine has been popping up everywhere- I just love the green little star flowers. Turns out it is milkwort vine- a favorite of the monarch butterflies.

And finally, a prickly pear in bloom but the bloom color of this was so pretty with the shade of peach, the blossoms are usually yellow.