deep south, mississippi boggin’

Digging in on a plant rescue in an old Pineywoods bog last week, I got to enjoy spring where most people don’t, up to my boot-ankles in water, sloshing around in a slurpy pine flat, since it had been raining on and off for the past two weeks. I recall doing bog transplantings/ rescues just a stone’s throw away from this spot, back in the late 1990’s for Crosby’s bog exhibit areas, with Bob Brsuszek and a bunch of other Crosby regulars. There was a Wal-Mart store proposed for that property and we volunteers were allowed to save and preserve many thousands of plants and clumps of precious soil from imminent and certain death. I dug and moved these recent plant rescues to my seed farm-pine restoration, just ten miles north from here.


Pearl River County Mississippi pitcher plant rescue site, set for fill and construction-mitigation soon.


click on the photo to see this old-old, leafless, and very sculptural Nyssa biflora, many years old (maybe ancient).


a new species of Aristida for me (shown against my glove). A five footer, Charles Allen says its likely A. palustrus.


Sunbonnets, Chaptalia tomentosa, were scattered across the floor of the landscape. Late february is for Sunbonnets in the bog. Very nice, indeed.


The red of Aronia arbutifolia berries, still holding fruit this late, after winter is done.


above: The red of a Hypericum leaf, colored-up, and colorful.


In this native garden, ten miles north of Picayune; my friend Jim’s bog progressess. It was turfgrass lawn when he and I started turning it into a bog meadow in 1999. There’s a carpet of fluffy sphagnum moss covering the ground very beautifully through much of the garden area now; a wonderful achievement, I would say. Jim has nurtured this ground on his own, patiently caring for new plants he has to introduced through the years. He calls it gardening.


Jim Sones of Carriere, Mississippi with his bog woodland friend, Cyrilla recemosa


above: the bark of Cyrilla is often pinkish on old specimens, this one being much older than I, I am sure.


My friend Charlotte Seidenberg’s recent photo of a frog inside a pitcher plant tube, in her garden. She was wondering how the plant will eat if the frog is taking its dinner! Charlotte is the author of The New Orleans Garden and The Wildlife Garden: Planning Backyard Habitats, both excellent reference sources for gardeners in the southeast U.S. -click on it to enlarge. She too, has nurtured a meadow garden that we both built.

Below is a ten-second youtube video, a brief glimpse of one of our three different controlled burns done in portions of the 20+ acre Pine Flat Bog exhibit at Mississippi State University’s Crosby Arboretum, Picayune, in Feb. 2015. You can easily see why we called it “controlled”. Fire can be managed if you’re starting with a good plan of action and then follow through with it. click the link below. but don’t try this at home, kids. 🙂

longleaf male cones with candle (growing tip)-2 longleaf male cones-3

Male cone of Long Leaf pine, Pinus palustrus. Long Leaf is the Queen of the Southeastern coastal plain forest. photo courtesy of Dr. Charles M. Allen. click on these to enlarge them -they’re beautiful works of art.


palustrus, meaning swampy or marshy.


The new book by Professor Robert Brzuszek, Landscape Architecture, Mississippi State University, hot off the press. Bob was the Senior Curator for the Arboretum from about 1988 to 2000.


One of the many giants of horticulture that I am glad to say I had the great pleasure to meet an speak with on a few occasions. J.C. Rauston; an amazing horticultural force he was.


Dr. Sidney McDaniel is one of the major scientific contributors/collaborators of the Arboretum. He studied and documented the flora of the Crosby Properties. His brilliance helped launch the Arbo into Earth-orbit.


the early conceptual design by Dr. Blake for Crosby


Dr. Blake’s graphic of the existing hydrologic zones at the Crosby. The bog-savanna areas are to the right in yellow, green and white. click to enlarge. Notice the grid built onto the design. Each corner of the grid is marked permanently by a foot-long, one inch diameter brass rod hammered into the ground. This system is used regularly by Crosby staff, researchers, and University students in following changes, patterns in the landscape vegetation.


above: The Crosby Master Plan, by Dr. Ed Blake


Ed’s sketch of pine bog herbs, at Crosby.


Dr. Ed Blake was a friend of the planet Earth and he is sorely missed.

*Crosby book images published with permission from Mississippi State University and my friend and fellow-polack, the author, Robert F. Brzuszek





cool-cat prairie ecologist Larry Weaner Skypes with LSU Meadows class

It was a fun day yesterday at the Urban Meadows class. I pulled up to my parking spot on campus just outside the front door of the Design building and its roped off for who other than moi!

In case you don’t know, being a guest on campus and having a legal parking place on the LSU campus is like having reservations at the famous New Orleans restaurant Galitoire’s, it almost doesn’t exist.


Anyway, we got Larry on line and he did a wonderful job articulating the intricacies of prairie landscaping enough to satisfy our thirst. He was kind enough to spend 45 minutes reeling through the techniques he has spent thirty years honing.

For those of you who don’t know of Larry, he is an amazing force. He is based in Philly and travels about the northeast gracing property with ecological substance. He is a nationally known speaker and has hosted the New Directions in the American Landscape ecological design and landscaping conference since its inception twenty-five years ago. I was first introduced to Larry when he asked me to speak at a New Directions spin-off conference in Mississippi with he and Ed Blake back in 2008, just after the economy fell off the cliff. Then, he and I were hired and worked together very closely for over a year as native plant-meadow consultants for the award-winning Lafitte Corridor project with the Design Workshop.

Wes Michaels was particularly helpful with guiding the conversation since he had a bunch of really good questions to ask. Good thing he didn’t leave that up to me. 🙂



above: Larry covers design and management of meadows via Skype for the LA crowd. Technology rocks, ya’ll!! Wes has committed to having Larry come and visit, do a Guest Lecture thing next year for the Urban Meadows class. Cool? or whut?


above: the photo-friendly portion of the Meadows class at the Abita Flatwoods Preserve, Abita Springs, La, on our field trip last Saturday. The other part of the class was busy removing their muddy boots, getting ready to head out to the Abita Brew Pub for lunch (it was a long morning in the field, the kids were thirsty). This photo kinda looks like the 70’s grunge-rocker band album cover. Lead guitarist Wes Michaels is at far left. click on the photo.

We are headed to Houston for three days in April to see the Nash Prairie, Russ Pitman Park, Katy Prairie Preserve, Peckerwood Gardens, and the piece de resistance!………a garden and killer sedge-meadow created by the incomparable and masterful hands of fourth-degree-black-belt-garden-designer-plantsman and famous Texan, Will Flemming.

If you are interested in going to Houston with us, just send me a note and LSU will include you and pay all of your expenses!


just kidding…APRIL FOOLS!!!!!!  wah wah wah…

hahahahahahaha see ya