good plants are hard to find

With plants you can do amazing things.

Marc’s home garden, established 2007

good plants and garden paths wind through the mind

Baton Rouge, La  est. 2012

Covington, La   est 2007

Hammond, La  est 2013

Pineville, La  est 2014

Carriere, Mississippi  est 1997

Folsom, La  est 2013

Wesson, Mississippi 2015

Poplarville, Mississippi  est 2000

Spearsville, La   est 2013

Livingston, Alabama  est 2012


“The native garden allows you to reconnect with the nature and participate in the world.” –  Neil Diboll, Ecologist




“Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive and even spiritual satisfaction.” E.O. Wilson, Ecologist


Native gardens are teaming with living things!


all of the gardens in this article, created and photographed by Pastorek Habitats, llc/ Marc G. Pastorek

Marc in Sumter County Alabama, September 2015


a four year old prairie garden in Folsom, via Pastorek Habitats’ seed on youtube – enjoy!


June wildflowers and foliage at the farm, grassy goodness


a mowed walking path cuts through grassy wildflower gardens

June brings magical color to this ten acre garden in Pearl River County, Mississippi’s Henleyfield Community. The garden was established beginning in 1997 with the intention of preserving and propagating rare wildflower species.

Winkler’s Firewheel at Meadowmakers Farm, above. Notice the tiny orange native bee on the disc of the flower – and also, the black speck on the left ray petal is an unidentified flying insect. Gaillardia aestivalis var winkleri is a subspecies of our woodland Indian Blanket that is only found in a few locations in small populations in the Piney woods of east Texas. Gaillardia aestivalis is a highly desirable garden species.

Winkler’s Firewheel

Winkler’s Firewheel after petal fall


good grasses, Indian grass, above

Muhlenbergia expansa

Love grass

Slender Bluestem

Little Bluestem

Long Leaf Pine in grass stage

lace leaf Ragweed

Solidago odora

Manfreda virginica

Coral Bean, Mamou

Eryngium yuccafolia with Narrow Leaf Mountain Mint

Eryngium yuccafolia

Kansas (Louisiana) Blazing Star

Helianthus mollis


Monarda lindhiemeri

Narrow Leaf Mountain MInt above, below

Rudbeckia hirta

H. mollis

Blazing Star

bumble bee on Bee Balm

a heaven-scented culinary herb, Sweet Goldenrod, Solidago odora

a rare pollinator species, sweet spearmint scented herb, White Leafed Mountain Mint, Pycnanthemum albescens var Malcolm’s Mint

Hibiscus aculeatus, Pine Land Hibiscus

a link to a recently written article on growing Mountain Mints in the Louisiana Native Plant Society summer newsletter by MarcPastorek

Click to access 38d545_8bd6ad3800674b4cb5ce61ef19ddc4f3.pdf

I hope you’ve enjoyed me sharing these images of my seed farm with you.

good gardening!


prairie wildflower field day in Eunice, Louisiana, Saturday

Nuttall’s Prairie Parsley – Polytaenia nuttalli (planted from seed collected at Eunice Prairie Restoration, in November of 1997, Meadowmakers seed preserve, Pearl River County, Mississippi)


Artists are at the edge of discovery and they discover things they often don’t understand.”         –    Dr. Jordan B. Peterson


“…in technology development, if you don’t have problems, you’re not taking enough risks.”              –        Patrick M. Shanohan


The Cajun Prairie Habitat Preservation Society will be meeting on Saturday May 12, in Eunice for the annual spring field day event. The day starts at the expansive 330 acre restored prairie (initiated in 1996) in Duralde, La, followed by a garden tour of the best restored prairie in the South, the Eunice Cajun Prairie Restoration site, ten minutes away. The group will then move on to a lunch at Rocky’s Restaurant – that will include a presentation by prairie enthusiast/ Biologist Steven Dale Nevitt, titled “Micro-prairies, Prairie Gardens, and Prairie Plants in Your Landscape”.

After the presentation there will be a prairie wildflower seed and plant auction that helps raise money for the upkeep of these notable prairie gardens.

some of the plants that I will bring are the devinely spearmint-scented Picnanthemum albescens (Malcolm Mint), Brooksville Blue Panicum virgatum, Cyperus, Little Bluestem grass, and I will dig some field grown plants from the farm. I’ll have some seed to auction off, too!

for more information, check out  or call or contact Dr. Charles M. Allen, co-founder of the Cajun Prairie Society and project initiator at or 337-328-2252

I hope to see you there!


UK’s Assemble Studio chips sculpture out of urban rock

Tasmanian Angel

Its not very often that I’ve received a note from someone from Tasmania (never, actually). I did a month or so ago, from Sara Proud, project developer/coordinator for the Museum of the Old and New (MONA) in Berriedale, Tasmania, who introduced me to Maria Lisogorskaya and Paloma Strelitz of Assemble studio, London, UK so that we could meet and discuss their awesome design project.

Last Tuesday we met in New Orleans Ninth Ward and I was given an intro to The School Project on site. From there we made our way to City Park where we toured my prairie garden at Scout Island and then off for a flash-tour of the Botanical Garden to see cool plants.

It was a great day spent talking plants and gardening ideas. Thanks Prisca Weems of the City of New Orleans’ Mayor’s Office of Resilience and Sustainability for recommending me as a horticultural consultant. Its so fun seeing my home city through the eyes of others. Go Team School!!


Dr. Vidrine’s grassy garden – Eunice, Louisiana – in full November plummage

colors and textures – in tones un-noticeable from the ground


seed and stuff

Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Wesson, Mississippi volunteer prairie planting crew – reporting for duty! Dr. Kevin McKone (third from left) spearheaded the planting of seed at the Oswalt Nature Trail on campus last week. This is the second planting – inspired by Brady Dunaway – a student who has a passion for natural areas vegetation. Thanks for your interest and for your seed purchase!

Dr. Mac Vidrine with a handful of Mamou seed – a gift to me from his garden.

seed head of Andropogon Moorei – one of the fluffier inflorescenses of the many Bluestem grass types, at the Covington, La. Nature Trail park.

above – full bags of seed of La. endemics Rudbeckia grandiflora (top) and Rudbeckia texana var. nitida – I have some seed cleaning to do……  🙂

seed (fruit) of the locally familiar Mirliton (Chayote Squash), a tropical vine commonly grown in New Orleans and traditional food for Thanksgiving dinner – this heirloom variety is called Ishrael Thibodeaux – unusual for its white color – its normally green.


Pinkish plumes of inflorescence at the Lamar Advertising company headquarters on Corporate Blvd in Baton Rouge. design by Spackman-Mossop-Michaels and Pastorek Habitats from 2009


That’s a wrap!

Project designs that are wrapping up –

Just finished the Mirabeau Water Garden design, New Orleans, a 25 acre park designed for the general public – a public park – featuring and focused on a 12-acre grassland landscape – a stormwater retention basin. Thanks to Waggoner and Ball Architects and Jeff Carbo Landscape Architects but especially to Shannon Blakeman and Amy Carter for their assistance in bringing this project design to fruition. Again, an amazing garden that will further protect on of the lowest lying neighborhoods in the Crescent City from flooding by diverting rain water from mechanical pumps used to keep the City “high and dry”.

Done also is the Baton Rouge Riverfront Project garden re-design, gardens focused on native grasses and wildflowers via local genetic seed and by propagation of plugs, small plants grown especially for the garden.

Just completed collaboration with Reed-Hilderbrand Landscape Architecture on the New Orleans Museum of Art Sculpture Garden design, under construction very soon.


Ornate Bella Moth – photo by Charles Allen

ever see this pretty thing? Many hundreds of them at the farm every year this time of the year due to their liking of Crotolaria species – their host plant. As you walk through the seed fields, they flutter about by the hundreds – getting out of the way, basically – little pink dashes of life.


Got a call and was talking plants with a legendary (unnamed) landscape architect last week and he/ she mentioned a project they had planted where Little Bluestem grass was used – non-local-gene Bluestem grass plants – and so in curiosity, I ducked in on my travels to see it. Pretty sad story. This is why local genetics matter, folks. Some northern and western “genetic sisters” of our locally native plants have genes hate our extremely long, hot, humid and very wet central Gulf coastal summer weather. The contractor lost  about 90% of the planting and the 10% that survived are looking a little green around the gills if you know what I mean. ouch!


Dicanthelium/ Panicum laxiflorus at the Seed Farm in Pearl River CountyMississippi

Dr. Charles Allen has said for years said that Dicanthelium laxiflorus is a good candidate for native turfgrass and you can see by the photo, why. This is a native grass that gets no taller than a freshly mowed lawn and stays that way year-round. Hopefully someone will harness this idea one day and we’ll have panic grass lawn instead of Bermuda – wouldn’t that be nice. 🙂

above – the fire-managed south savanna at Crosby Arboretum, Pearl River County, Mississippi from above. The brightly colored square is the new Quaking Bog exhibit – not sure if it actually quakes yet or not. Design by the late Ed Blake. I spent 20 years assisting with burns here, first with Senior Curator Bob Brzuszek and then with Facilities/ Burn  Manager Terry Johnson. Crosby is a great model for design using natural principals and practices – combining art, architecture, and biological sciences.

above, the Pond Journey trail with its featured Faye Jones pavillion at Crosby Arbo – November 16, 2017.




fall color

prairie – a different kind of fall color




no-touch gardens



Been rediscovering Celosia. A hundred years ago I used to grow Celosia as an ornamental garden plant. easy easy easy. Last year at the Hammond AgCenter field day I was absolutely mesmerized by the number of bees hovering and gleaning about the Ball Seed Celosia exclusive – Intenz Lipstick Celosia. So amazing and fun to see! I didn’t get Intenz but I did get Cramer’s Amazon Giant Celosia seed and it did not dissapoint. More butterflies, bees and Skippers than you can shake a stick at, folks – all summer long.

monarchs were happy in the Cramer’s Amazon – I walked up on four last Wednesday just standing and watching for a few minutes – they were like drunken sailors coming back for more and more and more.

Two trips back to back to Eunice prairie for seed and saw numerous Monarchs during my time there. This is an action shot – in flight.

above, Trump Tower in Eunice haaaha

Inoculating a new prairie planting with groovy prairie seed, Friday in St John Parish, La.


I stopped in and took some photos with my flying camera at the Hammond Park prairie gardens. These gardens wouldn’t be so extraordinary if they weren’t growing in the worst soil ever – Ever-ever! We did no amendments for the soil and took advantage of superior prairie adaptability to adverse conditions at hand. Turned out well.

white, clay subsoil excavated from fifteen feet below supports magical prairie grasses and flowering plants.

Seeded Little Bluestem and Coreopsis linifolia lining the walk at the Chappapeela Sports Park irrigation ponds. The gardens are managed to be wildly and woolly – and bug-friendly.

nice crop of Asters growing happily in the mowed hybrid Bermuda turf grass at Chappapeela – wish I could say I planted this but it was created by a power larger than I.


Abita Flatwoods Preserve, Nature Conservacy loop through Pine prairie and Baygall habitats with the Capitol Area chapter of the La. Native Plant Society was a real blast. A good group turned out and we braved the cold windy overcast weather that turned out to be nice sun shiny day by mid-trip.

saw cool stands of Bigelowia nudata, Rayless Goldenrod, and other awesome flowering plants and native grasses, above

thousands of plants of herby white Asters were strewn across the open fields – where’s a botanist when you need one? Nice prairie.

At one point along the trail, where the prairie and the Baygall plant communities come together, Dicanthelium (possibly) scabriusculum – Panic grass – covers the ground with its course textured tan colored grass foliage – a striking change and transition from Bluestem grass to Panic grass.

An occasional Morh’s Bluestem grass plant with its distinctive chalky silver-blue colored leaves stands-out among the mostly tan and green tones. You know you’re livin’ right when you stumble upon Mohr’s Bluestem – num-nummy!!


Old book for free, on-line –  The Cajun Prairie Restoration Journal – thank you Bonnie Johnson for sharing this link with me.

healthy habitats

butterfly acreage > butterfly gardens

cool Indian grass, Bluestem, and Pines, St Landry Parish, October 6 2017

wirey grassy cushion – Slender Bluestem grass


October Sunflowers, Asters and False Foxgloves

sunflower fence

happy trails

hello yellow

October 11 2017, St. Tammany Parish seed for a St Tammany Parish Garden


September 20, 2017 Vernon Parish, La

False Foxgloves and Golden Asters

fun with foxgloves


yesterday’s farm photos

groovy grid at the farm in Pearl River County, Miss.

sunflowery fall color


Bluestem grass turns red

aster fields

an aster field is like the California 405 for Bees and Butterflies

millions of flowers

a sight worth millions

Aster praealtus

monarch action photo – she seemed happy




prairie crescendo aligns with Monarch migration

October is the month for the riotous crescendo of flowering plants, the symphonic prairie song. The Monarch’s flyway-flythrough on the return trip to Mexico’s Fir forests is loaded with prairie nectar, for a reason.

Acadian Baptist Center’s newest phase of its prairie garden plantings – Doll’s Daisy in white, Swamp Sunflower in yellow, and topped with the blue of Eupatorium ivafolia.

There are no coincidences in nature. every wild area – natural area – is perfectly organized and logical, no matter how wild and wooly it may look. Doll’s Daisy, Swamp Sunflower and the Ivy leafed Thoroughwort scrap for ground now but will be pushed out from more permanent plants – over time. The fascinating nature of the process of natural succession happens to be an enjoyable pastime – to watch from day to day and from year to year.


Dr Joe and Charlotte Barron residence in Spearsville, Louisiana, a stone’s throw from the Arkansas/ Loosiana state line

pinky lavendar color of Agalinus, Gerardia, above


False Foxglove stirs-up the appetite of the Buckeye Butterfly caterpillars in Pineville, Loosiana

Landscape Designer Tony Tradewell in awe of the flowery flora. Tony and I worked together to make this garden happen.

white Eupatorium hyssopifolium, white Doll’s Daisy, bright yellow Swamp Sunflower, pink False Foxglove and Bluestem grass making the groovy scene at the Grant family’s hilltop home in the piney woods of central La.


State of Louisiana’s I-20 pollinator garden flourishing

Bluestem grass and Doll’s Daisy on the half-mile pollinator-prairie planting near Ruston La., along I-20

flowering stalks of Bluestem

a very cool garden it is indeed. Lots of the silvery leafed Whooly Croton (or Dove Weed, Goat Weed, or Hog Weed). A plant of many common names. The host plant for Goat Weed Leafwing butterflies.

At Charles Allen’s Annual Butterfly Blast on Saturday, I was shown the Goat Weed Leafwing larva wrapped up in what Linda Auld called a Leafwing burrito. 🙂 The larva is silvery colored, just like the Croton leaf.

Croton caterpillar, above


Bluestem front lawn upland area straddled by the Louisiana Iris gardens, at the St Landry visitor’s Welcome Center in Opalousas, La.


The City of West Monroe, the Biology Department at ULM, and Pastorek Habitats collaborated on the City’s Kiroli Park prairie garden in West Monroe. Its coming along very well, thank you. Purple Top on the hilltop!

The garden has taken on a “shady” character, with Purple-top Tridens grass covering the ground beautifully, accompanied by Little Bluestem grass, and Thoroughworts, Bee Balms, and Spotted Horse Mint.


Eunice Restoration Project from 120 meters

Eunice Prairie Restoration project gets a haircut. Pesky trees and shrubbery removed mechanically, the first step in our effort at grass-scape recovery. Go Team Cajun Prairie!


Everyone knows the best pollinator garden is the prairie garden. That’s where entomologists go when they want to find the fun bugs. That’s where smart landscape designers go to get natural.





prairie gardens are the gift of grit

On the Edge

“All of the exciting stuff that happens is not in the normal center, but on the edge.”

James Hitchmough, Horticulture Professor, University of Sheffield – New Directions in the American Landscape conference – February 2014



City of Mandeville/ La Dept of Transportation model of prairie – planted and managed by Pastorek Habitats, llc. Established in November 2014 – and not mowed or “weeded” even once. Controlled burn, only once in three years.


C’est Magnifique!



Bluestem grass is really going gangbusters right now, in full color and glory. Very pretty.



Doll’s Daisy just beginning to flower among the Bluestems in the garden

late summer and fall blooming Coreopsis linifolia is in its glory now and the bees and butterflies know it

The goal: to build multiple models of magnificence, to let the gardens speak for themselves – they seem to have a lot to say.


Vernon Fuselier’s home grown prairie gardens double as forage crop. Indian grass and Little Bluestem grasses dominate in some areas providing a strikingly beautiful landscape scene.

Odd things happen in a prairie garden. Fuselier’s prairie, Eunice, Louisiana


Louisiana Art and Science Museum, Baton Rouge, La.

Indian grass is the punk rocker of prairie plants – always making a scene


US Army is ready for anything

City of Franklinton, Washington Parish, Louisiana – US Army National Guard Readiness Center – native grass gardens and solar panels – a perfect pairing

radiant Indian grass seed heads

grassy bioswale with temporary zinnia cover crop still hanging on and productive after a year – butterfly numbers were amazing – Gulf Fritillary on pink California Giant zinnia flower


City of New Iberia/ La Dept of Transportation – Tallgrass Prairie garden – La 90 at La 83

Ryan Duhon (DOT) and James Foret (ULL) – prairie instigators


Brady’s Garden at the Oswalt Nature Trail on the campus of Copiah-Lincoln Community College

Brady Dunaway, in yellow shirt, and his fellow student volunteers make up the prairie  planting crew – November 2015

nice dense stands of Bluestem grass and Spotted Horse Mint with stellar population of Woods Gaillardia piunctuated by Lobelia puberula – that’s living.


prairies vary

St Landry Parish Louisiana, September 8, 2017

restored prairies are fountains of wondrous knowledge waiting to be explored, experienced.


flower power

Patience is not simply the ability to wait, it’s how we act while we’re waiting

—  Joyce Meyer

silphium integrifolia above

Silphium laciniata

Silphium gracile

Heterotheca subaxilaris, above

Liatris aspera

Salvia azurea and Big Bluestm with Cambell house in backround

Cambell House, in white




Experimental color  –  Wes Michaels, William Tietje, Marc Pastorek




Allowing for space

Allow for space. It’s as important as playing the note.    George Porter Jr. – New Orleans  bassist/ musician


Mandeville meadow gardens July 30, 2017

meadow gardens are wrapped by manicured turf and perfect timing

Native grasses nurture native wildflowers, having grown together for thousands of years, they’ve developed a common bond, a symbiotic relationship – a push and pull of sorts, a ying and a yang.

subtle layers and patterns and contrasts…



Hammond prairie meadow blocks, form garden symmetry

July 31, 2017

Shaggy chic!  Magnifique! Oui!



Terese’s Abita Springs residence backyard preserve with pizazz.

July 29,2017

reducing carbon footprint – taking giant-leap steps of practicality


Carriere, Mississippi grid garden

structured wildness


Folsom, Louisiana meadow gardens – flowering rooms

designed paths widen and narrow at the behest of a mower

This Folsom meadow garden is laden with tens of thousands of flowers of Narrow Leafed Mountain Mint (Picnanthemum tenuifolium), Button Snakeroots, Bee Balms. Summer flowering plants shine and then finally fade, bowing to late summer Asters, Goldenrods, Blazing Stars, Swamp Sunflowers and False Foxgloves. All of these are accompanied by the ever present beauty and character and delicacy of native grasses, the essential structural bones of the garden. Grasses are winter cover for pollinating insects. Insects, like Butterflies and Skippers overwinter in open, sunny, unmowed fields like prairie meadows and fallow fields.

Mowing some: good.

Mowing all: not good.


Abita Flatwoods Preserve Hillside Bog – spacial patterns

July 30, 2017

trees and shrubs in green, and herbs and grasses in reddish brown, patterns of form and color, appear in ancient relict vegetation.