Friday, September 27, 2013


i want to call this stuff bear grass but i see from the pictures that's wrong...
what is it anyway?....
whup, mystery solved. according to resident botanist michael demers--pampas grass!
A month or so ago I got on a leprosy kick and read up a bit on the colony in Carville, Louisiana, part of which has now been, or for a time was, turned into a federal prison.

From the amazon page for:
In The Sanctuary of Outcasts: A Memoir, by Neil White

"'Daddy is going to camp.' That's what I told my children. But it wasn't camp". . . .

Neil White wanted only the best for those he loved and was willing to go to any lengths to provide it—which is how he ended up in a federal prison in rural Louisiana, serving eighteen months for bank fraud. But it was no ordinary prison. The beautiful, isolated colony in Carville, Louisiana, was also home to the last people in the continental United States disfigured by leprosy—a small circle of outcasts who had forged a tenacious, clandestine community, a fortress to repel the cruelty of the outside world. In this place rich with history, amid an unlikely mix of leprosy patients, nuns, and criminals, White's strange and compelling new life journey began."

Here's a film about that "beautiful, isolated colony" which was technically a Marine hospital and at which an order of Catholic nuns, the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, faithfully treated the patients for decades:
Triumph at Carville: A Tale of Leprosy in America

i have been so overwhelmed by the suffering of the world lately i have broken out in
a patchy skin rash myself


  1. Michael, I can always count on you for plant identification--thank you!!

  2. Hi Heather: Yes, indeed, Pampas grass! When we moved to our home 9 years ago in Central East Texas, our front porch was exposed to the neighbor's front porch, so I planted a "wall" of pampas grass. The nurserywoman assured me that by the end of the summer it would be as tall as me and, true to her promise, it exceeded that height. It has been a natural barrier for privacy and as you can see, the fronds appear in the fall like clockwork. Fabulous and beautiful! Thanks for the wonderful pictures.

  3. Yes, Michelle, it is just beautiful, esp. in the late September late afternoon light of Southern Cal. This stand was by the sidewalk on an "ordinary" residential street...good to know your own stand is flourishing in Central East Texas....thank you, as always....


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