I never say no to a free plant, but there is a reason why people are able to share and it is usually because the passalong has prolifically reproduced. Above is a piece of a passalong Fire Spike that I cut back and threw in a pile.  Everyone of those nine upright stems has roots.  Now I just need to find nine gardening friends.

Old Faithfuls

Black and Blue Salvia guaranitica.

Salvia coccinea

Black Eyed Susan

Butterfly Weed

Gulf Coast Penstemon

These plants are the backbone of my garden.  I can count on them every year. Many have been transplanted from my former house nearly 20 years ago and others are passalongs.  They have faithfully grown and multiplied for years and should continue to do so.


A Confederate Rose Cutting


The Confederate Rose (Hibiscus mutabilis) is one of my favorite Fall bloomers.


I was trimming my Confederate Rose and decided to stick some of the cuttings into my rooting pot.  They rooted in no time, which is why in the South, they  are great Passalong plants.  It is nice to imagine friends and family sharing their plants with each other as the population moved west.


As I already had a large Confederate Rose, I was not that interested in another one, so I stuck the cutting in a broken plastic pot filled with old dirt. Basically, it looked like a big stick in a pot.


It grew well and rewarded me with its gorgeous flowers.  If you follow my blog, you know I can’t get enough of them.

Here are some photos of the Confederate Rose as it turned from morning white to dark pink in the evening.

Passalong Plants

IMG_3424Passalong plants are a gardening tradition.  It is a way to fill your garden and share with others.  Receiving plants from someone’s garden guarantees it grows well in the environment, which is why there are enough to share.  And that is the good news and bad news, as soon you will be looking for someone to pass the plants along to.

All the plants pictured here are passalongs I have received.  They are all doing really, really well!

Flashback Friday



The nice part of living in the South is having flowers in the winter.  Something is always blooming.

This week I’m looking back at a Canna and its stunning seed pods.


Abelmoschus moschatus makes a pretty flower.  It is in the Malvaceae family and is related to hibiscus and okra.  This plant has been drifting around the garden for years and I really can’t remember how  or where I got.  I think it was probably a passalong plant and I do remember passing it along to others.


The Abelmoschus has popped up in the yard again and I dispersed the seeds to  different locations.  The top photo has the plant growing in a bed that receives sun part of the day.  The very red Ablemoschus, is growing in a self-watering pot in the driveway getting high heat and sun.  Are the colors different because of sun exposure and soil? Anyway, I will be collecting the seeds and see if I can get a colony started again.


Second Growth


The second growth of the Balsam Impatiens is shown here at the end of July.  The seedlings have their second and third leaves.  The bed does look chaotic. The finished plants are cut, so the the seedlings are not pulled out of the ground and the seeds were also collected.  Soon the bed will only contain the young Balsams.

DSC_0305Some of the seeds just can’t wait and germinated while still inside the pod. Interesting, the seedling has punched through the pod as a chick would peck out of an egg.


The Balsam Impatiens have now matured and any seeds that drop will stay dormant until early spring.  The original batch of seeds were purchased at Mt. Vernon, George Washington’s home, representing some of the flowers he grew.


Here are some Balsam Impatiens growing at Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson our 3rd president.  This plant has been grown since Colonial time in the U.S.  It is a nice connection to keep them growing. The plants are native to Asia, Burma and India.  Imagine the seeds of these beautiful flowers being transported all over the world by ship and passed along to friends.


A shot across the lawn at Monticello, which was having some maintenance done this summer.



I have had this Stapelia pulchellus for 8 years. It was passed along to me while taking a gardening course.  The sweet woman who shared it, appeared to be down on her luck and was living in a travel trailer.  Yet, she got enough money together to learn more about plants and was generous enough to share her extras.  I think of her often when tending her plant.

So  after 8 years, the succulent is finally producing a flower.  The anticipation has been enormous and I have been documenting  it every step of the way.  The top photo is from September 25th, when the two buds were discovered.  The last in this series of photos was taken October 9th with only one bud surviving.


Everyday I am sure it will open, but the bud just grows larger.  By October 12th it is 6 inches long.  My anticipation is also growing.

DSC_0615Finally, 20 days later the waiting ended.  The bud popped opened to reveal a large star-shaped flower.


Each petal is 6 inches long and is edged with fine hairs.

DSC_0610The flower smells like carrion (dead animals) and attracts flies to pollinate it. On the upper right side of the center is a red-eyed fly.  The flower did not smell much at first, so of course I got closer and inhaled.  And yes, it did smell bad and the odor became stronger as the day went on and attracted more flies.


The Stapelia pulchellus flower has a very hypnotic pattern making it attractive to humans too.  It was well worth the anticipation and I am hoping not to wait another 8 years to see this beautiful flower again.

More Autumn Flowers


Japanese Anemones love the Automatic Garden and are a perfect residents as they are hardy through heat and cold and they like to spread, making many more plants.  This plant was actually a passalong from a fellow gardener. Recently on blogs I follow, I have seen this plant (or similar) growing in Australia and Canada.  In both parts of the world, this Anemone bloomed regularly in the Autumn just as it does on the Gulf Coast.


When growing Coleus, the advice is to pinch off the blooms.  As it turns out, Coleus flowers attract bees and humming birds.  Many of the seeds will also germinate for next summer. So let them grow out at the end of the season to reseed and feed.

Nature’s timing is perfect in providing Autumn blooming plants in this part of the world, giving sustenance for the migrating creatures to continue on their journeys.

Four O’Clocks?


I think not!


Six O’Clocks is more like it.  These plants are on their own schedule.  None the less, they provide color in the garden late in the day when many of the other residents are closing down for the night.


Four O’Clock flowers (Mirabilis jalapa) are about the size of a quarter and multiple ones open every evening all over the plant.  They have a very pleasant scent that will continue if plucked off and brought inside.  Four O’Clocks are great passalong plants and easily reseed.  In the South they grow a tuber and are heat and drought tolerant perennials. The Aztecs grew them in Mexico and the flowers made their way to Europe in the 1500’s.