“Bridge Over the River Why?”

by ESP on May 2, 2015


I love the city brush pick-up…it is like I am getting away with something. 

I think this is because I am used to paying for dumpsters when I am doing installations.


This is what large brush pick-up looks like in the Patch after I have attacked my loquat trees, vitex (yes I still have it) and bamboos. If I have to stoop to walk under it, it ends up here.


I do have lots of perimeter screening foliage that contributes to the street pile,


and there are always the high-maintenance pecan trees.


My two favorite hand-tools for taking care of such brush business:


It took half an hour to remove my brush pile.


Moving Along…

Just when I thought he couldn’t look any more ridiculous,


he goes and grows these!

I came so close to snapping them off and adding them to the brush pile but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

stupid cactus man

“stupid cactus man with his stupid large and small ears”.


Looming high above the cactus man is this burgundy sand cherry which really pops with color set against a dark back drop like the shade of my post oak.


Spring color that looks like fall.


This wall of jasmine is made up of two types,




The white is Confederate and the yellow is Star of Toscana.

Both are great for screening and for spring fragrance.

DSC09661 2

Remember the curvy flower stalk on this ‘Macho Mocha’ mangave?


Here it is now, standing proud at about the 6ft 4″ mark.


The rust colored flowers


not only look good,


they also rotate to the touch in all directions…amazing.


Bridge over the river why?


Well, to add structure of course.

This large back garden in south central Austin did not always look this big and airy.


A number of Large ligustrums were imposing and possessing the space making it feel dark and claustrophobic.


Ba-ba DOOK!…Brrr.


They were the first to be exorcised by the teeth of a chain saw.

Here is the design visualization I generated for the client:

one copy





Eliminating the understory ligustrums immediately opened up the space visually.


DSC09247A weaving dry-creek bed slows water-flow and breaks up two flagstone patios on either side of the bridge.



Cast iron plants, sabal minor, fatsia Japonica and bamboo muhly will soften up the shady scene as an understory planting.


Loquats and clumping bamboos will add perimeter height and interest when mature.


After finishing the rear of the property, naturally we consolidated the front.





Stay Tuned For:

“House of Wolves”



All material © 2015 for eastsidepatch. Unauthorized
intergalactic reproduction strictly prohibited, and
punishable by late (and extremely unpleasant)
14th century planet Earth techniques.



by ESP on March 22, 2015

Artist: Philippe de Champaigne


Tulip mania or tulipomania was a period in the Dutch Golden Age during which contract prices for bulbs of the recently introduced tulip reached extraordinarily high levels and then suddenly collapsed.

At the peak of tulip mania, in March 1637, some single tulip bulbs sold for more than 10 times the annual income of a skilled craftsman. It is generally considered the first recorded speculative bubble (or economic bubble).


A Satire of Tulip Mania by Jan Brueghel the Younger (ca. 1640) depicts speculators as brainless monkeys in contemporary upper-class dress. In a commentary on the economic folly, one cheeky monkey urinates on the previously valuable plants, others appear in debtor’s court and one is carried to the grave.


Anonymous 17th-century watercolor of the Semper Augustus,

famous for being the most expensive tulip sold during tulip mania. (10,000 guilders.)

(From Wikipedia)

We have had a little slice of mania pie ourselves..


We have them growing in containers:


We have them growing in the ground:


This should surely put the “Dad why don’t you ever grow flowers” conversation to rest once and for all.

(Thanks for the bulbs JJ.)

The green berries on this Fatsia Japonica have now turned black.

There is so much fruit the stems are under strain.


Surprisingly the birds so far have left them alone.


Another great naturalizing bulb with a really ‘cool’ color are the Spring Starflowers:

Spring Starflowers

Ipheion ‘Rolf Fiedler’


is an electric blue color which really pops against a dark background and looks particularly psychedelic reflected in the Cactusman’s eyeglasses.


What is really odd is how his eyes have come to fit his facial expression.


Moving along to my Largus Bug Infestation:


This plague has been around the Patch for a few months now with no intervention from me, well until recently.


I have been kicking this ‘Macho Mocha’ mangave’s butt for weeks now, attempting to dislodge the critters every time I walked past it, a futile activity but it was fun to watch the bugs get airborne.

‘Macho Mocha’ mangave

This is the only plant/agave that has sustained damage from the Largus, here is a group of them slurping away on their favorite tall mocha.


I decided I would add something a little extra ahem ‘topping’ to their favorite beverage in the form of some Diatomaceous earth…feeling thirsty now?…

…I just bet you are.


A few days later the bugs were mostly gone and to my surprise a flower stalk was on the rise,

‘Macho Mocha’ mangave

a rather curvacious one.


The only time I go under this sabal major in my hell-strip is to cut off the occasional low hanging limb. Some time ago I tucked a handful of sedum in at the base of the palm and totally forgot about it.



“Spread well has the sedum”


While I was in here I decided to check up on the inebriated cactus who was still looking, well…


…totally inebriated. 


Stay Tuned For:

“Bridge Over the River Why?”




All material © 2015 for eastsidepatch. Unauthorized
intergalactic reproduction strictly prohibited, and
punishable by late (and extremely unpleasant)
14th century planet Earth techniques.


“Nosy Parker”

by ESP February 15, 2015
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Stitched noses, Scale infestations and a new installation feature in this weeks episode.

8 comments Read the full article →

“The Appendage”

by ESP January 23, 2015
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An x-rated Sago-Palm, frost damage and the odd ghost grace this latest entry.

3 comments Read the full article →

“Whats in Your Stocking?”

by ESP January 2, 2015
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Christmas…New Year…drunk Largus bugs? Plus the usual splattering of fried eggs and purple mold.

5 comments Read the full article →

“Barf or Peach?”

by ESP December 9, 2014
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This week suffer leaf-drop, bad puns and equally bad Photoshop. I get up close to a particularly large Tachinid Fly.

7 comments Read the full article →

“Shelling Out”

by ESP November 16, 2014
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Cold weather, large fires and child-labor feature in this weeks random dialogue.

8 comments Read the full article →

“Under the Knife”

by ESP October 23, 2014
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This week I try my hand at some cosmetic surgery…as you do.
The infamous villain “Mr Snout-Nose” is up to his old shenanigans and I contemplate how ear-protection would look set against an iced turban?…Random events you could go the rest of your life without knowing about.

7 comments Read the full article →

“Beans, Boots & Mullein”

by ESP September 28, 2014
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This week it is about exhaling work boots, birds nest fungi and a bunch of other nonsense that you should now be accustomed to.

6 comments Read the full article →

“Wail of a Weekend”

by ESP September 13, 2014
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This week we hop north with the Silver Thistle Pipe Band to compete in the Capital District Scottish Games in Albany. See what rum does to an opuntia and witness some mites sucking the life out of rosemary.

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“Pain In The Neck”

by ESP August 17, 2014
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This week I get up-close to some damselfly parts.
A peek under one of my stock tanks causes me to break into yet another non-adjudicated Highland Fling.

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“Oh Drupes!”

by ESP July 29, 2014
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Snakes, drupes, you name it, I will be running at you with any dead critters I happen to come across in the Patch.

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“A Change of Scenery”

by ESP July 10, 2014
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This week we pack up the car and venture to Gulf Shores, Alabama and New Orleans. I make a heron friend and we check-in to a hotel that is not a Best Western!

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“The Normandy Phase”

by ESP June 20, 2014
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This week get to witness what the ‘Normandy phase’ of an installation looks like on a front garden in South Austin. I take a quick trip down memory lane and highlight a couple of plants that have waged war on me.

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“Oh Frass!”

by ESP May 26, 2014
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This week I discover a new word and use it way too much. Best put your food down to read this latest splattering from the Patch.

8 comments Read the full article →

“Uncle Wiggily wants his Ovaltine”

by ESP May 18, 2014
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Munching and hoarding insects, wizard wands and buried treasure this week in the ESPatch.

8 comments Read the full article →