When ever I go away on a vacation, I like to go to whatever bookstores are nearby to see if they have different books from what we have “back home”. One year I went to Mantoe Booksellers in Manteo, North Carolina, where I found and purchased my copy of Passalong Plants by Steve Bender and Felder Rushing, the current selection of the Garden Bloggers’ Book Club.
I was not too concerned that this book was written by “southern” gardeners because in looking through the book, I quickly recognized many plants that I both had or could have in my own zone 5 central Indiana garden.
Like many gardeners, I have a garden enriched with many passalong plants, some from family and some from friends, all reminders of how generous gardeners are to each other. As Bender and Felder write in the introduction “Luckily, to a gardener, all other gardeners are friends”. And I’ll add to that, all other gardeners are a source of new plants!
When I had my first garden, I turned to my aunt for starts of Michaelmas daisies, Lily of the Valley, mums, spiderwort, old-fashioned roses, hostas, daylilies and more. I filled my new little garden with those passalong plants from her garden. Then when I moved, I passed my plants along to several other friends and family members so I could circle back around and get new divisions of these same plants from them for my next garden. And this was repeated once again to bring my passalong plants to my current garden.
Now whenever I go to one of my sisters’ houses in the spring or summer, inevitably we end up on a slow walk around the yard, looking at our commonly shared passalong plants and noting new plants we can share. Then magically, someone produces a trowel and some plastic bags and we are digging and dividing and sharing again.
I can’t imagine a garden without passalong plants, constant reminders of the generosity of other gardeners.
But my favorite of all my passalong plants doesn’t grow out in my garden, it stays inside. If you’ve visited my blog before you may have read about it before, My night-blooming cereus, the night bloomer, the queen of the night, Epiphyllium oxypetalum.
Every passalong plant has a story to tell or a memory of someone associated with it, a history about it that makes it special. Here’s the history of the night-bloomer.
My main plant was my Dad’s and it happily occupies a corner of the sunroom. He got his start from a family friend who came from Czechoslovakia, though I doubt she brought hers from there. This night bloomer has only bloomed three or four times for me, but each time it has bloomed, it has been an eagerly anticipted event. I have a second, smaller night-bloomer that was a start my Dad gave to my aunt probably 30 years ago, which she asked me to take last spring. I was happy to take it. While transporting it, a branch broke off, and from that I started six more night-bloomers. My older sister took one start, but she says she doesn’t plan to let hers get as large as mine. We’ll see. Now I have five remaining starts to pass along to others and I hope to find some willing takers before the end of the summer.
What’s your favorite passalong plant? Even if you didn’t read the book, Passalong Plants, for the Garden Bloggers’ Book Club, you can still join in the club “virtual meeting” by posting about your own passalong plants before May 31. Then leave me a comment or send me an email to let me know about it, and I’ll include it in the “virtual meeting post” on May 31st.