A Four-O'Clock

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Wanting to share this gorgeous photo and being in a hurry anyway, I've decided to kill two birds with one stone this morning.

Yesterday, my mother sent me this shot of a four-o'clock flower growing in her yard that Steve Bender and fellow Mississippian Felder Rushing discuss in Passalong Plants, which "sold itself" to her because it it starts out discussing two of her favorite plants, including four-o'clocks.

I figured it would be good because Felder Rushing was one of the authors. Now I have my own copy and I love it. I was immediately smitten when I found the very first two plants mentioned are two of my favorites that came with the house when I moved to [the country]. The four-o'clocks grow on one corner of the house in the back by the fountain, and the sweet shrub is that giant bushy looking thing by the chicken coop. I've passed along many cuttings of the sweet shrub. It took me forever to find someone who knew what it was.
Of the four o'clock, Rushing says the following:
What do four o'clocks and lightning bugs have in common? To fully appreciate them, you have to relax outside after supper. Just as summer dusk begins to settle over the neighborhood, before dishes have been put away, my family has always enjoyed sitting out on our porch swings. Conversation is a murmur, punctuated by chuckles and gentle repartee. Lulls are common between family gossip and the obligatory conjecture about the weather. This is also the time that humming birds and evening moths begin pollinating the four-o'clocks.
On the visual beauty of the sweet shrub, he says, "I've seen rusting cars that drew more attention." That plant is rare, and prized mainly for its fragrant flowers.

The book is beautifully illustrated and is aptly described on its jacket by the following blurb from American Horticulturalist: "The perfect marriage between two noble traditions: southern storytelling and a gardener's love for sharing plants."

For those unfamiliar with Felder Rushing, here is his web site. If nothing else, take a look at the image gallery of shots taken in his front yard.

-- CAV

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