rare garden bulbs offered for sale, to benefit Society

In the early to mid 1990’s I came across a garden bulb that I introduced to my home garden in Pearl River County, Mississippi. Not long after, Scott Ogden, author of Bulbs of the South identified it as “possibly a hybrid of either or Crinum powelli or C. moorei”.

The genus Crinum provides us with many species, some are really classy plants some not as much, but all are generally great garden plants taking little or no care.

Crinum powelli/ moorei is one that is hard to beat. It is by far one of my favorite Crinums, having characteristics unlike any other that I have grown or seen. It takes dry or wet, shade or sun, even takes standing water, so marginally aquatic – similar in adaptability to our native species Crinum americanum. Basically this is a bulletproof plant.

I have seen variations of this plant but always it has a bit of pink in the flower. Powelli is clear milk white. Also, I know of no Crinum that has such perfect leaf character – dark green three to four foot strappy leaves absent of crimps, always pretty.

I have shared the plant and planted it in gardens over the years. I took a few bulbs of it with me when I moved to Covington ten years ago and have been actively propagating it since. I have a produced a limited number of bulbs, enough to share via mail order sales this year.

Crinum powelli/ moorei hybrid does not produce seed here in south Louisiana/ Mississippi.

Bulbs are very healthy and large. They sell for $32.00 per bulb or 3 for $75.00. add $10.00 for shipping and handling. All proceeds go to the 501c3 non profit Cajun Prairie Habitat Preservation Society for their prairie management and maintenance fund. Send check to CPHPS c/o Marc Pastorek 72322 Ingram St., Covington, La 70435

————Crinum powelli in a marsh garden habitat in August, in full shade————–

————————-the flower bud of Crinum x powelli in June—————————

————————goblet shaped flowers of Powell’s hybrid Crinum————————

Powell’s Crinum in full sun in marginal aquatic condition with native Cow Water Lily and Iris

a close-up of the leaves of powelli, with a Spanish moth caterpillar, commonly called the Convict caterpillar (identified by Linda Auld), a lily family species, a host for the moth. In 25 years I’ve not seen damage to speak of from this caterpillar – or any other insect.


—————————–a two year old bulb, in full shade, above—————————




wild garden talks by Marc Pastorek, 2019

Marc’s presentations on gardening with wild things, for 2019


March 9, 2019 – Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, Louisiana – Sustainable Ag Conference – Grassland Gardens, Healing the Earth

May 9, 2019 – Steven F. Austin University, Pineywoods Native Plant Center, Les Reeves Lecture Series – Entertainment via Seed

June 1, 2019 – New Orleans Botanical Garden, New Orleans, Louisiana – The Best Natives for New Orleans Gardens

September 21, 2019 – New Orleans Botanical Garden, New Orleans, Louisiana – Collecting Seed from Louisiana Native Plants

October 14, 2019 – International Plant Propagators Society Southern Region Conference – Baton Rouge, Louisiana – Botanical Landscapes by way of Seed

Grassland gardens are Aster-nomical

When your poor dismal garden in October is as it was in July – and is as it was in April and in January – it hasn’t changed much through the year and you’ve worked hard to keep it that way – you probably need to brighten up your life with some asters and grasses.

When the first October breezy cool-snap cool front interrupts our absurdly long southern summer, it happens to coincide with the most magical time in the grassland landscape, the climactic crescendo of fall. The idea of establishing native grass gardens that have lots of wildflower species can be highly entertaining and enlightening. If you’re designing a garden for year round enjoyment you use multiple species and lots of seed grown native grasses and grass-like plants.

Grow wetland meadows and upland meadows and surround them and bisect them with fine textured lawn paths and open spaces of lawn and other for human circulation and enlightening enjoyment, outdoor entertainment. Composites flowers attract uncommon insects – and humans.

Asters make it fun! Roughleaf Goldenrod and Bluestem grass, Swamp Sunflower and Guara, all from seed, on exhibit at the Oswalt Nature Trail in Wesson, Mississippi, October 10, 2018.




Cajun prairie Restoration site focus

“The goals of this garden include not only representing a historical view of the prairie but also creating habitat for birds, butterflies and bees. I would like it to be a grassland in which you can view it across the site from one corner to another no matter what direction–a sea of grass intermixed with a variety…of wildflowers.”

Malcolm F Vidrine, 2018

flight over Cajun Prairie Restoration Project site on an early August morning, flying over compass plants, giants stands of Cacalia, and sugarcane plumegrass, Brown seed Paspalum patch, etc, via youtube below. nice.




floriferous Covington interpretive Park is open to all to enjoy and study

Swamp Sunflower at the Blue Swamp Creek Nature Trail bioretention basin, Covington, L




common composite Aster praealtus dresses as mild mannered aster but does really wonderful things!!!!

the spectacularly prolific Aster praealtus, Willow Leaf Aster, a cut above the rest


Aster praealtus, Bushy Bluestem grass, Canada Goldenrod, Evergreen Goldenrod, Little Bluestem grass, Broomsedge Bluestem grass in John and Evette Rosen’s hay field, Carriere, Mississippi

From 400 feet up over the hay field, common purpley pleasant Aster praealtus is really a striking visual to behold.                  photos by Marc Pastorek



  photos of Asters at the Covington NatureTrail, Covington, La October 20, 2018

visit often, a flowery event every day at the Park!

above, Eupatorium hyssopifolium, left, and golden yellow Euthamia, right

aster Bigelowia nuttallii, Nuttall’s Rayless Goldenrod and white Aster dumosa/laterifolia (Covington Nature Trail) – and


one of a fading few new first-year-flowering aster Liatris squarrulosas I found at the Park in the breezy cool fall weather.

on the left, above, in the bio-basin is a large colony of Horned Beaksedge, Rhynchospora corniculata. A midslope area of Bog species and a dry slope to the right (west) side of the bio-basin that has been planted with seed  that my partner Jim McGee and I harvested from rolling hills of the botanically rich areas  at The Sandy Hollow Wildlife Management Area State Park in November of 2016. http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma/2764

the whiteness of Aster divaricum or pilosum (above, and below) millions of Aster flowers.


Coreopsis linifolia, with grassyness below


silverfoliaged Golden Aster, Chrysopsis

There are many yearling non-aster Lobelia puberula in the biobasin and possibly brevifolia and, above, the blue corolla Lobelia floridanum.

                                         Quite a show at the BioBasin!


at the western edge of the distribution of Gaillardia aestivalis is…

….the highly variable, in color and form, aster Winkler’s Gaillardia, 20 year old plants in my Farm field in Mississippi.


                           Covington garden asters Blue Mist, Eup Coel

              Mikania Climbing Hempvine is fragrant, atttractive and a host plant to pollinators

                                                   Hempvine honeybee


enjoying the flowers, the flowering parts of an inflorescence of Yellow Indian grass this week

Aster corolina, climbing Aster, blooms with the arrival of Monarch migration, along with Aster Praealtus

Dragon flies eats pollinator, uses Monflower as dining table! Ipomoea pandurata, Wild Sweet Potatoe Vine adds beauty to the garden in day, and light to the garden at night.


had fun with growing seed Dr Allen gave me of Gomphrena this summer, I grew it with Cramer’s Amazon Celosia puncuated with Purple Majesty Salvia

what a blast to see so many Long tail Skippers using so many plants Gomphrena left and Celosia right. So many plantsand so many butterflies with so little work.

Monarch butterflies in my Cramers Celosia after the rain, just went outside and counted five, today is October 25, the best week of the year for Monarchs. Get outside.

a species of Spiral Ochid in my backyard from a trip to the Black Belt prairie region some years ago. Growing like a champ in my back yard gardens.


The long awned seed of Elliot’s Indian grass harvested from the garden today, seed originally collected from Washington Parish, Louisiana, from the Pine herbaceous understory vegetation there at LSU’s Lee Memorial Forest in Midway, Louisiana


Made the cut into the new Grasslands of the Southeast Biodiversity, Ecology, and Management book

A big thank you to Malcolm Vidrine, Charles Allen, Bruno Borsari, and Gail Barton for the pleasure of doing this written project with you. I couldn’t have done this without their assistance and persistence.

Here is Dr. Charles Allen and Stacey Huskins’ general map of the prairies of Louisiana which did not make it into the Chapter Dr. Allen wrote. I’ve been waiting for this book and especially this map for the six long years it took to finally see the book in print.

Prairies of Louisiana, Charles Allen and Stacy Huskins, 2012


Bushy Bluestem Tomb Prairie in New Orleans, Lafayette Cemetary 1, Oct 2018, Bushy Bluestem grass and associates find cracks in which to reside. A grave garden, right next my family tomb, the Schlogel Tomb. Stranger things have happened….

I hope you have a fantastic fall. Its always prettier outside…..

Sunflowers are funflowers!


Botanical workmanship examined, experienced, in prairie restoration field day

Cajun Prairie Restoration Field day to be held, September 8, 2018

Butterfly candy, Liatris pycnostachya, Kansas Blazingstar, in flower, at Duralde, August 29, 2018.

wirey foliage and inflorescence of Slender Bluestem carpets the ground at the Lacasinne National Wildlife Refuge’s Duralde, Louisiana prairie Restoration. est. 1996

unique foliage of Compass Plant, a rare Louisiana composite species

Compass Plant with its staggered flowering expression

Bumble Bees, excited to be alive and on Compass Plant flowers

a blue foliaged, robust clump of Indian Grass stands out amongst the green tapestry in the Duralde Restoration Project site (center, above)

September 8, 2018 is the date set for the annual summer prairie extravaganza, in Eunice Louisiana, the home site for the Cajun Prairie Habitat Preservation Society. Prairie enthusiasts and activists, along with anyone interested in knowing more about native wildflowers and their important associates, grasses, can and should come to Eunice that day to learn about the wonder of grassland dynamics and the inherent beauty of the plants associated with this biome. The field event occurs in the morning, followed by a lunch and lecture, at Rocky’s Cajun Restaurant in Eunice.

Be there, or be square!

For more information go to http://www.cajunprairie.org

new book, just available, on volunteerism in the Cajun Prairie Society by Society Co-founder, Malcolm F. Vidrine. You can preview the entire book at this site link, below.


have a great day, and hope to see you all next Saturday!

Marc G. Pastorek

sedges have edges

Sedges have edges, Rushes are round, Grasses have joints when the cops aren’t around!

Charles M. Allen   –   Botanist, author of Grasses of Louisiana

Hot Plants

One of the distinguishing elements of southern Tallgrass prairies, and especially Gulf coastal prairies and Gulf coastal Pine forests is the number of non-forb, non-grass species. The closer you get to the coast, coming from the north, the more species you encounter. The list of the different genus and species is long and varied. Some are good for horticultural use, some are not. Some are super-fantastic plants.

Sedges are grass-like plants that have opposite dormancy expression in the landscape, compared to native grasses. Grasses are green and actively grow in summer with a dormant season in winter while Sedges and their closely related genus Cyperus have a growing season (generally) in the winter and go dormant in the heat of summer (much like a Louisiana Iris does).

A few Sedges have a particularly brief dormancy period  – or non at all – and so are evergreen.

In many parts of the country, Sedges have become mainstream garden components. Carex pennsyvanica is extremely popular in its distribution range. It grows only a few inches tall and is a colonizer – a good evergreen ground cover –  a lawn substitute capable of withstanding a shady condition. Many of our coastal species are northern distribution as well.

One of the first public gardens to focus on the use of this idea regionally in a large public garden is Reed-Hilderbrand, a landscape architectural firm based in Cambridge, Mass. and New Haven Conn., chosen to design the addition to the new addition to the Sculpture Gardens at the New Orleans Museum of Art.


Reed-Hilderbrand reached out to Pastorek Habitats to assist with the design development stage of the process. We’ve worked with them in the past developing planting plans for Repentance Park in Baton Rouge and the LSU College of Art and Design’s Hilltop Arboretum prairie exhibits.

Our latest collaboration began in February of 2017, the New Orleans Museum of Art  Sculpture Garden.

Situated around a man made lake, the gardens will blanket the ground with drifts of contrasting foliage and textures so the focus of the eye is on the sculptures.

The New Orleans Sculpture Gardens construction project fully underway – due for completion in April of 2019.

Sedges have crimped leaves, which makes up the “edge”.


Marc Pastorek, a contributor to University of Alabama Press,  Southeastern Grasslands book!



Southeastern Grasslands: Biodiversity, Ecology, and Management: JoVonn G. Hill Ph.D., John A. Barone Ph.D., Charles Allen, Brent T. Baker, Gail Barton, Patrick J. Bohlen, Elizabeth H. Boughton, Bruno Borsari, Edwin L. Bridges, Nicholas Brown, L. Wes Burger Jr., J. J. N. Campbell, Jolie Goldenetz Dollar, S. Lee Echols, Edward David Entsminger, Thomas L. Foti, Toby Gray, John W. Guyton III, Raymond B. Iglay, Jeanne C. Jones, Lisa McInnis Ph.D., Reed F. Noss Ph.D., Steve L. Orzell, Marc G. Pastorek, Evan Peacock, Samuel K. Riffell, Jennifer L. Seltzer, W.R. Seymour Jr., Timothy J. Schauwecker, Jason R. Singhurst, Reggie E. Thackston, James W. Tomberlin, J. Morgan Varner, Malcolm F. Vidrine, Matt White, C. Theo Witsell, Wendy B. Zomlefer


A holistic approach to analyzing distinct grassland habitats that integrates ecological, historical, and archaeological data

Today the southeastern United States is a largely rural, forested, and agricultural landscape interspersed with urban areas of development. However, two centuries ago it contained hundreds of thousands of acres of natural grasslands that stretched from Florida to Texas. Now more than 99 percent of these prairies, glades, and savannas have been plowed up or paved over, lost to agriculture, urban growth, and cattle ranching. The few remaining grassland sites are complex ecosystems, home to hundreds of distinct plant and animal species, and worthy of study.

Southeastern Grasslands: Biodiversity, Ecology, and Management brings together the latest research on southeastern prairie systems and species, provides a complete picture of an increasingly rare biome, and offers solutions to many conservation biology queries. Editors JoVonn G. Hill and John A. Barone have gathered renowned experts in their fields from across the region who address questions related to the diversity, ecology, and management of southeastern grasslands, along with discussions of how to restore sites that have been damaged by human activity.

Over the last twenty years, both researchers and the public have become more interested in the grasslands of the Southeast. This volume builds on the growing knowledge base of these remarkable ecosystems with the goal of increasing appreciation for them and stimulating further study of their biota and ecology. Topics such as the historical distribution of grasslands in the South, the plants and animals that inhabit them, as well as assessments of several techniques used in their conservation and management are covered in-depth. Written with a broad audience in mind, this book will serve as a valuable introduction and reference for nature enthusiasts, scientists, and land managers.

Southeastern Grasslands offers a good representation of the biological significance bestowed upon these systems and the efforts currently underway to restore and maintain them for future generations to know and appreciate.”
—Alfred R. Schotz, botanist and community ecologist with the Alabama Natural Heritage Program (ALNHP) at Auburn University

“An excellent and thorough account, past and present, of the grasslands of the southeastern United States. The information included in this volume will be of interest to anyone studying grasslands, whether in the southeastern United States or elsewhere.”
—Robert H. Mohlenbrock, author of Vascular Flora of Illinois: A Field Guide and This Land: A Guide to Eastern National Forests

The book was initiated six years ago, due for sale in January 8, 2019.


Looking up and looking down!

the much-unappreciated Long Leaf Pine, the Kerry and Kru Stewart garden, Hattiesburg, Mississippi

the much-unappreciated natural grassland, Abita Springs, La.

Both are Southern jewels


Louisiana Children’s Museum construction project underway

The Louisiana Children’s Museum garden design, a collaboration between the architectural design firm Mithun and Pastorek Habitats, consists on indigenous and naturalistic  and children-oriented plantings.



the coolest plants in the garden don’t have to be native

H is for Horticulture!

The Allen Family Bioblitz was a butterfly blast! Charles Allen’s Native Ventures hosted the annual summer butterfly extravaganza. Craig Marks signed copies of his new butterfly book for Louisiana and  counted over 40 species of butterflies.

Charles’ gardens are really fun and pretty, full of good plants. This is one of many gardens he has built and gardened in over the last 20 years, his backyard is Kisatchie National Forest, his 20 acres backs up to the Ouiscachitto River in Vernon Parish, Louisiana.

the Charles Allen Purple Prince and California Giants seed mix zinnia patch, July, 2018


In my prairie garden at home, the amazingly wonderful Katheryn Rain Lily via Tony Avant’s Plant Delights nursery purchased a few or more years ago is really fun to watch in the hot summer rainy season with nearly continuous flowering and seed very nice indeed. Colonizes and is nearly indestructible, yet delicate and beautiful.

Don’t forget the fine horticulture lily Crinum Schmittii, a South African native of the highest quality. Goblet shaped flowers of clear white with black stamens ahhhh….

Extremely adaptable in most conditions, wet, dry, sun or shade. And notice the nice caterpillar called the Convict because of its black and white stripes. Linda Auld tells me the Spanish Moth uses lilies as its host plant. These are plants I have grown and propagated from for over 25 years – originally shared from Scott Ogden of Texas. Speaking of Linda, she is a friend of mine and a friend of all things that bug. She calls herself the Bug Lady and lives a bug-filled life. Read about her in this week’s Times-Picayune


Cramer’s Amazon Celosia is a butterfly magnet and a landing pad for dragonflies. Careful with it its like a loaded gun, it seeds like a weed but Monarch’s get drunk off its nectar come October

one of my house gardens, fun with cool plants, below

the garden out front, Covington, August 11,2018

M.Pastorek, August 2018

in foreground, two of my favorite sedge species, just cut back, and cucumber tripods and gomphrena from seed. Sedges have edges  :))

I may be the biggest fan of tropical Salvias, this one is one of my all-time faves, Salvia Purple Magesty. Blooms is ever-loving heart out every year without fail, and hardy north of Lake Ponchartrain which is saying a lot!

grow cucmbers from April to first frost here with about five crops each year using three pieces of cut bamboo canes tied together. delish!


don’t forget the natives! Plant-driven gardens!

two species of trees that attract and are host plants for Swallowtail Butterflies…

the coarsely-armored trunk of Toothache tree, Zanthoxylum (left) and Wafer Ashtree, Ptelia trifoliata both native Citrus (Kerry Stewart Garden)

Pam Puyear’s Pink Turks Cap (Almost Eden Gardens Nursery in Louisiana) a Hummingbird plant that delights humans, too

The fruit of Paw Paw tree – not only a good plant, but tasty, too! I planted this tree over fifteen years ago at Kerry’s garden in Hattiesburg, Ms and loaded up on fruit when I visited. A host plant for the Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly. Nummy!! tastes and has the consistency of Papaya  :)))


fun with seeds!

Lepidium virginica, pepper grass seed, tasty…

a load of Eryngium seed harvested this week. A carrot family member with great pollinator attraction and has silvery leaves, was used by native americans to make footwear – Go prairie!!

and the piece de resistance! Little Bluestem grass plants in my nursery….

and speaking of tough plants, how many plants do you know of that are rated in the top ten tier for flowering garden plants and can take growing in crushed asphalt? how about this bad boy, Rudbeckia grandiflora, a prairie plant extraordinaire that I seeded in a power line right of way last year in a prairie planting. not too shabby…

happy as a clam they are…

have a good day…..

Scientist builds garden for bugs

From a horticultural standpoint, Dr. Charles Allen’s gardens are whimsical and colorful and full of good and useful plants. He tends every piece of ground he works with care and it shows. You’ll not go to many places with as many different types of plants, and gardens as well maintained as his are.

Scientifically, the gardens are incredibly rich in flora and fauna.

Dr Allen has been gardening with butterfly attracting plants for 30 years and curates a  collection of plants that have been chosen for their attractiveness to Butterflies.

Step away from the computer now. Make plans to visit soon. You’ll not be disappointed. That is certain.

see his flyer for this week’s events, below


below is a note from Butterfly guy Craig Marks to the Louisiana Native Plant Society

Good morning.


Dr. Charles Allen has asked me to invite any interested persons to Allen Acres  for his annual bioblitz on July 28, starting at 9:30. As part of that event, I will be conducting a butterfly count, and I need all the help I can get. 

Allen Acres is located in Vernon Parish near the town of Pitkin. Dr. Allen’s lovely wife always prepares a wonderful lunch so you not only get to count butterflies but you get to eat well. And, if anyone gets too hot, you can always step inside his home and cool off. Cold drinks and bathroom facilities are available. Easiest count you will ever do. At the bottom of this e-mail I have included a list of what was seen last July under mostly cloudy skies.
After counting at his facility, I plan to drive over to Dove Field and Fullerton Lake, both locations to be included as part of the Count results. From there, if time allows and the weather has not been too oppressively hot, I will finish at Cooter’s Bog. If you have never seen a Little Metalmark and want to, Cooter’s Bog is one of the most reliable locations for that butterfly in the State.
Let me know who can come and join in the fun.

Craig Marks 

July 29, 2017:
    Pipevine Swallowtail 10, Giant Sw. 1, Spicebush Sw. 11, Cloudless Sulphur 12, Little Yellow 36, White M Hairstreak 1, Gray Ha. 2, ‘Summer’ Spring Azure 1, Pearl Crescent 1, Com. Buckeye 1, Red-spotted Purple 1, Goatweed Leafwing 1, Carolina Satyr 18, Silver-spotted Skipper 11, Long-tailed Sk. 8, Hoary Edge 1, N. Cloudywing 2, Horace’s Duskywing 10, Com. Checkered-Sk. 20, Swarthy Sk. 2, Clouded Sk. 8, Fiery Sk. 3, Dun Sk. 2, Ocola Sk. 7


See Susan Edmonds’ video on warblers and environmental education

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


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  http://www.cajunprairie.org/  or call or contact Dr. Charles M. Allen, co-founder of the Cajun Prairie Society and project initiator at native@camtel.net 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.