If I had to recommend one gardening book to folks living in the deep south it would be Passalong Plants by Steve Bender & Felder Rushing. This book has oodles of stuff a southern gardener wanna be will love. First off, it’s written by two funny and fabulous men. Steve Bender (aka the Grumpy Gardener) lives in Alabama and is the long time garden editor of Southern Living magazine. Horticulturist Felder Rushing is the author of many gardening books as well as host of the Mississippi radio show Gestalt Gardener (podcast available in iTunes). Both these southern boys grew up around gardening mammas and grandmammas and aunts. And the beauty of this book is that they tell us all about them.
Passalong Plants is more than just a list of easy to grow plants that have been shared among southern gardeners. It’s full of stories. And we southerners love stories. This easy to use alphabetic list of plants includes short essays about how Felder or Steve were first introduced to them. All the other basic stuff is there too: Latin name, hardiness zone, country of origin and other cultural facts. But it’s the stories I love. Speaking of stories, I told a pretty funny one a while back about a passalong plant mentioned in the book, confederate rose, which you might want to check out.
There’s even a chapter near the end of the book devoted to yard art. Now we’re talkin’ true southern yard art: bottle trees & painted tires! For new southern gardeners this is the perfect book to ease you into gardening. You’ll learn a little about the kinds of plants that grown well down here and you’ll be entertained too.
Have I whetted your appetite? Wanna know how to get a hold of this book? Betcha it’s available at your local library! Folks in Georgia can see which libraries have it here. Folks outside of Georgia can find out which libraries close to them have the book here (hint: type in your zip code so you can find the closest library that has it). No library nearby with the book? Ask your library to order it for you! They’ll do it for usually no or a low cost. Enjoy!