lost kodachromas of the Freda and Coleman Tarnoc bog gardens

stumbled across a box in the barn at the farm a week ago-opened and peered in. lots of slides of plants that I took for doing plant talks before digital cameras were invented. Back then you had to take forty or fifty or maybe a hundred photos to get one that looked worthy of viewing. And you had to wait a week or two to actually see just how bad your photography (or camera) was. I just got these digitized and returned last night while in the Big City. Pictures from Coleman and Freda Tarnoc bog garden (1994-1996). This unassuming couple created and nurtured an internationally significant bog garden for 30+ years in South Mississippi.

Box 4-42

S. leucophylla with its normal red floral scape, with a single green-leaf and red-veined dwarf hybrid S. flava in the bottom, center of the frame. Totally awesome.

Box 4-47

look at this amazing plant. Its a Sarracinea Leucophylla genetic anomaly that Mr. Tarnoc found in a bog in Alabama. These photos were taken at the Tarnoc bog in summer of 1996. Thanks to Darla Pastorek for shooting these photos

Box 7-100

at the time of this photo, I was star struck

Box 7-99

at the pond edge with the master plantsman

Box 7-96

notice in the above image, the verticle blackened stems of woody plants burn by Mr Coleman’s annual fires.

Box 7-112

The yellow splash in the center of the image is of Sarracenia alata and the taller yellow, choclate-necked Sarracenia flava, a florida native, prolifically hybidizing with S. leucophylla, the white species, in the foreground. The distance sits the base hulk of an old crane that sat rusting in the sun along with some other relict tractors. You could tell they were not junk but keepsakes to Mr. Coleman.

Box 7-106

the nearly closed hooded pitcher top of S. minor, with the blurred white flowerscapes of Venus Flytraps. The Flytraps had naturalized and covered the ten acre bog with hundreds of thousands of plants. He had a purple leafed Flytrap cultivar growing and he would never point it or the double leucophylla out when most folks were around. He didn’t want folks sneaking in and getting it. click on the picture

Box 4-45

above, S flava in foreground

Box 4-56

purpley aliens, obvious hybrids of S. flava and S. purpurea

Box 4-58

exceptionally dark red colored scapes of S. leucophylla


a photo from the Picayune Item Newspaper October 21, 1992.  from left, Crosby Arboretum curator Bob Brzuszek, floral artist Coleman Tarnok, horticulturist-teacher Dr. Jane McKinnon, and myself. Bob and I were picking up Frog Belly pitchers for one of the first Crosby plant sales. We walked the bog gardens with Mr. Coleman that day for one of the first times. I was invited there regularly to visit and talk plants with Mr. Coleman.


click to enlarge this fine photo from Martha Stewart Magazine, October 2000, the Freda and Coleman Family bog garden, Carriere, Mississippi. I brought nurseryman and plant explorer Dan Hinkley there in 1999, at the time Mr. Hinkey was working as a consultant, writer for the Magazine, and he advised the shoot.   here’s the link to the article and interplanetary photos     http://imgur.com/a/9YO1X

In 1998 when I inquired about bringing my friends Scott Odgen of Texas and Kim Hawks of North Carolina, Mr. Colemand and Mrs. Freda graciously invited us and we visited for hours that day and its there in history at the Tarnoc bog that Kim asked Mr Coleman if he would be interested in working with her on getting the double flowering Pitcher we saw that day. She wanted to bring it into horticulture through tissue culture and through sales in her nursery, Niche Gardens. He said he’d think about it. Punch in a search for Tarnoc sarracinia and see this intriguingly beautiful bug-eating plant for sale from numerous high-end plant purveyors around the world. Its in some of the finest gardens. Mr. Coleman and Mrs. Freda would be proud, I’m sure.

What a gift in my life to have had the pleasure of calling these two pioneers my friends and what memories these photos bring flushing back. 🙂



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