A 2-wood-duck-day, plus thoughts on Mary Elliot’s Fronderosa nursery visit last week

On my way to class today, headed west to Baton Rouge at 70 miles per hour, I arrived at the Amite River about the same time a pair of Wood Ducks were headed north at 70 miles per hour. They crossed my path just in time for me to enjoy them as they went twittering by(they were the first tweeters, by the way).  What a pretty sight, to see those beautiful rare birds go from one side of my windshield to the other. They are anything but foul.

In the blink of an eye they were gone. But there was no mistaking that they were Wood Ducks. Awesome birds for sure. I consider that meeting, me and the Wood Ducks at the River, a divine gift. Kind of like seeing a Red Fox or a Coyote or a Bobcat. Its been over twenty years since I’ve seen a Wood Duck. These animals are super-wild and they like to stay far away from humans, so when I see one I consider it a gift. cool beans!

Anyway, I mainly wanted to write about Mary Elliot and her wonderful plants. I visited her last week at Fronderosa Nursery, in Pontchatoula, and inadvertently contracted a bad case of horticulture fever. Mary is a horticulturist and a ninja plantswoman, tops in her field. She deals in cutting-edge horticultural garden plant selections specifically adapted to the Gulf Coastal region.

She propagates and sells cool butterfly and hummingbird plants, hard-to-find herbs, and simple-and-sweet good garden plants. She travels, too, to some of the best small, obscure and cutting-edge nurseries across the land. And she also orders from top-notch mail-order nurseries for “new” items to propagate and trial.


click on my invoice to see it up-close. Saweet stuff!

Mary’s best-picks are available right there for the taking, in the horticultural Mecca of Ponchatoula, Louisinana.

Mary will be at the following trade shows(coming to a theatre near you!)…. Call her to see what she has and if she can bring you something special. If you don’t know what you want, just show up at the trade shows. You’ll see that she is the real deal. Not only does she provide great garden plants/stellar horticultural introductions for sale, she knows them like the back of her hand and can help you figure out how to fill your plant needs, with hundreds of selections to choose from, mostly perennials.

Northshore Garden Show, March 14(FRIDAY) 9AM-6PM, March15 Saturday 9AM-4PM, Covington Fairgrounds
Baton Rouge Garden Show, March 29 & 30, LSU
New Orleans Spring Garden Show, NO Botanical Garden,  April 5 & 6
Baton Rouge Botanic Garden Sale, Independence Park,  April 12, 8AM-12 PM
Peter’s Purple Monarda Bee Balm, on the left and Jacob Cline Monarda on the right

Healthy specimens of Marshal’s Delight purple Bee Balm by the score


how could I resist the preciousness of Angelica? Couldn’t!


she’s got several selections of Iphion, an extra early spring ephemeral certainly worthy of having, and very persistent in the garden. It propagates itself. A delightful acquisition! This is a plant that persists for years and years, an old pass-a-long. Rarely will you find this offered in Louisiana in a nursery. Sweet!


Thalictrum, Meadow Rue, a top-notch, premium shade perennial. You won’t find this at your local nursery, either  …but should, for sure.


a very cool variegated Plantain. She told me it makes a great ground cover with a finer texture.


Abutilon “Vesuvius”, a hummingbird magnet


another Abutilon hybrid of the megapotamicum species. I forget the name but have used it extensively over the years. Great plant, more upright and rounded in form as compared to megapotamicum’s prostrate, sprawling form.


a kickin’ succulent lily collection, for sale


we are so fortunate to be able to grow Michellias here on the Gulf coast. Buds of Michellia yunanensis. I had one purchased from Heronswood nursery in 1995, in my old Mississiippi garden, for years. Eau de perfume!


Spanish Snapdragon. Mary told me it originally came from Plant Delights Nursery in Raliegh. Tony describes it in the link below and refers to J.C. Raulston as where he got it. Anything that came from J.C. Raulston is certainly worthy of having. http://www.plantdelights.com/Antirrhinum-hispanicum-for-sale/Buy-Spanish-Snapdragon/


I bought this Hibiscus kosteletshya, Coastal Hibiscus, because it had the awesome coppery collored, re-seeding flowering tobacco growing with it. Yowsa!! you can see the cut stem of the hibiscus


the vine Bauhinia yunnanensis. another rare bird


I was reunited with my old friend, English Garden standard and butterfly attractor, Verbena bonariensis, an occasional re-seeder.


Manfreda lily(bottom right), a Texas version of Manfreda that I find hard to do without but have never been able to retain the species name. oh well. I have this plant in gardens all over. It is a great low growing ground cover for shade. I originally got this years ago from the Bruce Lee of horticulture, Will Flemming of Hemstead, Texas years ago. Mary said the same. To the left of it is Eupatorium havenense, a butterfly plant from Texas that blooms nicely in spring and fall. Mary said its the bomb.


the early bronze-red foliage of Red Buckeye


one of my favorite ornamental grasses, the delightfully whispy Muhlembergia dumosa

Call Mary for inquiries. 985-386-0709. She deserves top sales and your support!. She’s worked to hone and perfect her craft over the years. And you probably need cool plants, anyway.

good day.