cover image Passalong Plants

Passalong Plants

Steve Bender. University of North Carolina Press, $42.95 (236pp) ISBN 978-0-8078-2096-4

What's a passalong plant? Something not always easily come by in garden stores, catalogues, and horticultural centers, and instead passed along by one aficionado to another, sometimes over the fence dividing lawns, beds, or yards. Declare the coauthors, ``To a gardener all other gardeners are friends,'' and if true, this is fortunate, as Bender and Rushing, both Southerners, survey the field for passalongs in their region, and come up with stories to keep their information company: the butterfly bush, for instance, was discovered by a missionary and a reverend, and zinnias have also been known as ``old maids.'' This compendium is designed with clarity in mind and illustrated with small but precise color photographs. Headings are cute to a fault, however, and seem to get worse as the pages turn: ``Holy Satisfactory,'' for example, is followed by ``Wherefore Art Thou Deutzia?'' Also provided is advice on how to get all the passing-along begun. First serial to Countryside. (Nov.)