Passalong Plants

( 2 )


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...
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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.
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.

Passalongs are plants that have survived in gardens for decades by being handed from one person to another. In this lively book, the authors describe 117 such plants, giving particulars on hardiness and size and include mail-order sources, tips on plant swaps, and more. 82 color photos.

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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.


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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807844182
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 11/30/1993
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 236
  • Sales rank: 801,563
  • Product dimensions: 7.85 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.58 (d)

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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Table of Contents

Foreword by Allen Lacy ix
Acknowledgments xi
Introduction: What you need to know about this book 1
Chapter 1. Smells for the Sidetrack: Those childhood plants we treasure for their sweet fragrance 5
Chapter 2. The Plants That Get Away: Rampant plants that will pass themselves along if we don't get around to it 23
Chapter 3. Aunt Bea's Pickles: Passalong plants that friends insist on giving you, whether you want them or not 61
Chapter 4. Weirdisms, Oddities, and Conversation Pieces: Plants noted for certain strange features, like many of the people who own them 105
Chapter 5. Gaudy or Tacky?: A celebration of garish plants that show your good taste 139
Chapter 6. In the Bare-Root Bin at the Plant-O-Rama: Some not-so-hard-to-find passalongs sold by the bundle each spring at your friendly, one-stop garden shop 171
Chapter 7. Well, I Think It's Pretty: An exploration of passalong gardeners' fascination with fine yard art, including pink flamingos, goose windmills, plastic flowers, and milk of magnesia trees 195
Chapter 8. Organizing Your Own Plant Swap: How to get a passalong club started in your town 209
Mail-Order Sources for Passalong Plants 213
Bibliography 217
Index 219

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2003

    'Bender' Makes Me Double With Laughter and Glad to Be Southern

    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

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2009

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