Passalong Plants

Passalong Plants

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by Steve Bender, Felder Rushing
     
 

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Passalongs are plants that have survived in gardens for decades by being handed from one person to another. These botanical heirlooms, such as flowering almond, blackberry lily, and night-blooming cereus, usually can't be found in neighborhood garden centers; about the only way to obtain a passalong plant is to beg a cutting from the fortunate gardener who has one.

Overview

Passalongs are plants that have survived in gardens for decades by being handed from one person to another. These botanical heirlooms, such as flowering almond, blackberry lily, and night-blooming cereus, usually can't be found in neighborhood garden centers; about the only way to obtain a passalong plant is to beg a cutting from the fortunate gardener who has one.
In this lively and sometimes irreverent book (don't miss the chapter on yard art), Steve Bender and Felder Rushing describe 117 such plants, giving particulars on hardiness, size, uses in the garden, and horticultural requirements. They present this information in the informal, chatty, and sometimes humorous manner that your next-door neighbor might use when giving you a cutting of her treasured Confederate rose. And, of course, because they are discussing passalong plants, they note the best method of sharing each plant with other gardeners.
Because you might not spy a banana shrub or sweet pea in your neighborhood, the authors list mail-order sources for the heirloom plants described. They also give tips on how to organize your own plant swap. Although the authors live in and write about the South, many of the plants they discuss will grow elsewhere. from the book Amid the clamor of press releases touting the newest, improved versions of this bulb or that perennial, what keeps people interested in old-fashioned plants? Nostalgia, for one thing. It's hard not to feel a special fondness for that Confederate rose, night-blooming cereus, or alstroemeria lovingly tended by your grandmother when you were a child. Such heirloom plants evoke memories of your first garden, of relatives and neighbors that have since passed on, of prized bushes you accidentally annihilated with your bicycle. Recall the time you first received a particular plant, and you'll recall the person who gave it to you.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
The perfect marriage of two noble traditions: southern storytelling and a gardener's love for sharing plants.

American Horticulturist

Each plant in Passalong Plants is accurately described in the intimate language of front porch talk.

New York Times Book Review

This book will 'passalong' among friends faster than weeds sprout.

Fine Gardening

An entertaining and insightful ode to the fragrance, color, and history of old-fashioned plants and the people who love them.

Southern Living

Rushing and Bender are storytellers in the great Southern tradition, and expert gardeners, too.

Horticulture

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
What's a passalong plant? Something not always easily come by in garden stores, catalogues, and horticultural centers, and instead passed along by one aficionado to another, sometimes over the fence dividing lawns, beds, or yards. Declare the coauthors, ``To a gardener all other gardeners are friends,'' and if true, this is fortunate, as Bender and Rushing, both Southerners, survey the field for passalongs in their region, and come up with stories to keep their information company: the butterfly bush, for instance, was discovered by a missionary and a reverend, and zinnias have also been known as ``old maids.'' This compendium is designed with clarity in mind and illustrated with small but precise color photographs. Headings are cute to a fault, however, and seem to get worse as the pages turn: ``Holy Satisfactory,'' for example, is followed by ``Wherefore Art Thou Deutzia?'' Also provided is advice on how to get all the passing-along begun. First serial to Countryside. (Nov.)
Library Journal
Two established authors and gardeners reintroduce plants that gardeners pass along to one another but that are hard to find in commercial outlets. While the focus is on the South, where the authors have firsthand knowledge, Northern gardeners will still find this book useful as many of the plants are hardy. Writing in a humorous, casual style, Bender and Rushing describe 117 ``passalong'' plants, including trees, shrubs, vines, annuals, and perennials, as well as plants that are fragrant, invasive, weird, or garish. They devote a page or two to each plant, giving history, propagation, their personal experience, and--briefly--size, hardiness, origin, light and soil needs, and mail-order sources. About every third plant has a photo, but many lesser-known plants are not illustrated. The humor ranges from heavy-handed to hilarious, as in the tongue-in-cheek chapter on kitsch as garden art. Useful in large gardening collections, especially in the South.-- Sharon Levin, Univ. of Vermont Lib., Burlington

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807844182
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
11/30/1993
Edition description:
1
Pages:
236
Sales rank:
1,218,249
Product dimensions:
8.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.58(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
The perfect marriage of two noble traditions: southern storytelling and a gardener's love for sharing plants.—American Horticulturist

All readers who appreciate fertile ground wherever they find it will be hard-pressed not to laugh out loud as Bender and Rushing hold forth. Be sure to scribe your name in your copy as soon as you get it, because this book will 'passalong' among friends faster than weeds sprout.—Fine Gardening

Each plant in Passalong Plants is accurately described in the intimate language of front porch talk, and the authors always tell you how to grow it—whether by seed or cutting or division.—New York Times Book Review

You can define Passalong Plants with one word: fun. . . . This book is worth passing along to those people close to you.—Southern Living

A compendium of backyard wisdom and sound horticultural advice—liberally sprinkled with down-home humor—that should inspire gardeners everywhere to embrace this botanical form of hospitality.—Mid-Atlantic Country

An entertaining and insightful ode to the fragrance, color, and history of old-fashioned plants and the people who love them. . . . The authors' writing ranges from reflective to laugh-out-loud funny, making this book an enjoyable, easy read. Once you've picked it up, you'll want to pass it along to you favorite gardener.—Southern Living

Rushing and Bender are storytellers in the great Southern tradition, and expert gardeners, too. Best of all, they are wonderfully amusing companions for the trip on which they invite us: a tour of traditional Southern garden plants.—Horticulture

The heart of southern gardening is not in its great plantations, but in the small-to-middle-sized yards of working people. And its soul is not in the fancy plants sold by mass marketers, but in traditional plants, passed along from mothers to daughters and friends to friends. Bender and Rushing breathe life, love, and joy into that fundamental truth, while having a ball with its eccentricities and idiosyncrasies.—Jim Wilson, co-host of 'The Victory Garden'

A nostalgic, sweetly evocative book about real people who garden below the Mason-Dixon line, and of the friendships that blossom among folks who share flowers.—San Francisco Examiner

Meet the Author

Steve Bender is a senior writer for Southern Living and a contributor to several books on southern gardening. He lives in Birmingham, Alabama.

Felder Rushing is a seventh-generation Mississippi gardener, an author and columnist, and host of radio and television gardening programs. He lives in Jackson, Mississippi.

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Passalong Plants 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
My fiance, who can 'stick a broomstick in dry sand and, by the sweat of his brow and gentleness of his hands, turn this stick into a beautiful flower growing on lush, fertile land,' and Steve Bender MUST get together. When I am 'down with MAJOR depression,' my fiance reads me a passage from 'Passalong Plants' and in no time I am doubled over with laughter and Proud to be Born and Bred in the South. In 'Passalong Plants,' Steve Bender has coupled the unadulterated truth and factual information about flora and foliage in the South with verbiage that is so funny and hilarious that I can't help but read this book again and again. A MUST BUY FOR SOUTHERERS & 'YANKEES' ALIKE!!! (Even if you have a 'Look at a plant and it dies' persona like I)! Dr. J. Danielle