“courage is a muscle”

“Courage is a muscle”   Sara Blakely, youngest female self-made billionaire

Sara is a hero of mine, not because she’s made a lot of money but because her story of steadfast determination and never giving up is one that is close to mine.

Sara Blakely’s top three rules of entrepreneurial spirit/ being in business. It worked for me.

  1. Don’t let the word “no” stop you.
  2. Don’t quit your day job just yet.
  3. Never stop evolving


Sara says you have to practice your courage. You have to try and try to get your idea honed just right. You have to fail. Don’t be afraid to try on a new set of dancing shoes, folks.

Entrepreneurship is not for chickens. Don’t be a chicken, be a lion or a lioness.

About twenty years ago, at a plant conference in western North Carolina, a friend, Plato Touliatos asked me what I had been up to lately. I told him I was busy developing a landscape business model, an idea based on prairie landscapes. “I didn’t realize the was a market for that in Mississippi?”, He said.

I responded, “There isn’t, I intend to build one.”

Sometimes it takes a while.


Rockin’ around the Christmas Prairies!

Don’t be afraid to try the unknown, the curious, the exciting.

Leap into life with two feet, like my friend Jim.


Professor Jim Foret (St. Nick?), with his sleigh loaded with bags of goodies (choice seed) for the new 3 acre prairie garden that will be seeded today, Thursday, at the Cade Farm, the experimental farm operated by the School of Geosciences, University of Louisiana, Lafayette, the “living laboratory”. Jim Picked up the seed last week. We met at the City of Mandeville’s prairie garden to make the transaction. He hadn’t had the chance to see the City’s prairie garden yet so we walked it a little while. He wanted to check that off of his bucket list, I guess. 🙂


My Christmas advice? I say yield to nothing, ya’ll!!!! above, one of Mandeville’s established prairie gardens.  click to enlarge the photos…


New Prairie Gardens in Madisonville, Louisiana


One of the latest designs Pastorek Habitats is consulting for, drawn by Landscape Architect Joe Furr for a public park in Madisonville, St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. These wetland prairies-to-be will be constructed as authentic Long Leaf Pine herbaceous understory vegetation, based on a Pine Flat plant community, produced from seed collected in nearby privately owned natural areas. Public spaces such as Joe’s recreation Park project are perfect demonstration sites for exhibiting the ecological value and fine aesthetic beauty of the prairie landscape.


Eastern Gamma grass, a candidate for the occasionally mowed, grass landscape

For many years I have studied this natural area, below, near my farm in Pearl River County, Mississippi.


Eastern Gamma grass, Tripsicum dactyloides, is a really substantially adaptable plant, worthy of more use in agriculture, horticulture, landscape design, and ecological restoration. The above photo is a site along the Pearl River, occasionally mowed by the Mississippi State Department of Transportation (Highway Dept). Its occasionally flooded, too, for a week or three each year, when the river – up and rises.


Growing in small scattered populations along with the Gamma grass is another wetland indicator species, Erianthus strictus (Saccharun baldwinii? (dang botanists can’t make up their mind), commonly known as Narrow Plume grass, a fairly commonly occurring plant in high moisture soils.


Gamma grass, the predominant plant here, takes mowing or grazing pretty well, and makes a nice meadow for those inclined to use a bush hog on their tractor. We’ve had some temperatures in the upper twenties in the last couple of weeks so this landscape is recently frosted, turning a beautiful tan brown color.


above, after two mowings, one in May and one in August, Gamma grass has rebounded – twice during the growing season. Its back and it’ll stay thigh high through the long winter season (photo taken last week), making a delightful sight for appreciative eyes. A grassland landscape like this also provides important protective cover for wildlife.

A single Eastern Gamma plant can act as a solitary accent plant in a home. Three plants grouped together are three times as much fun!

Eastern Gamma is a plant that’s rounded in form, making a globular, course textured  effect in the garden. It has an ancient connection to the corn plant and in fact if you look at a corn seed and a Gamma seed, you’ll see they look somewhat similar and if you pop a Gamma seed in your mouth and suck on it a while, it will taste just like corn.

Grown by the acre, it carpets the grown and fills the soil with deep roots. Gamma filters storm water. It captures and stores carbon. Grazers happen to love the stuff, so make a bovine or a bison happy today and plant a sustainable, low input forage crop – its highly palatable. As Ralph Cramden used to say, How sweet it is!!


wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and happy Holiday season. Peace on Earth and good will to all men, women, and plants.





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