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 on February 15, 2015

DSC06980 copy

I will start with a design challenge I have recently completed.

My client had lived with this floating ‘peanut’ bed for some time and was ready for a change…

…a deserted island in an ocean of grass.


This garden had some great bones and great oaks, the layout was just lacking purpose, rationale and flow.


A recently refurbished back deck was in a spacial war with the encroaching peanut, a peanut that was lined with small ‘mortared’ chunks of limestone and holy rocks…what is this obsession with concreting things into a landscape?


To make matters worse, the mortar that was holding these small rocks solidly above ground had to be about a foot deep. Oh yes, I said a foot deep.


They were like little limestone icebergs, small above ground but with enough concrete below to half fill a dumpster and keep my crew busy for half a day. They were the first thing on my sledgehammers ‘things to hit’ list.

The second thing I wanted to address was the integration of the decking steps into the landscape to visually and functionally give them purpose and anchor them into the new scheme.


A visualization was generated to capture and communicate the design intent:


Over-sized Oklahoma flagstone was introduced to bridge the stairwells, creating an expanded central planting bed in the void between them.


Here is the new layout before any planting:


And looking the other way,







Fence-softening loquats and bamboo muhly grasses ease the transition between turf and flagstone. The new layout creates a flowing and naturalistic aesthetic.


An intense stare from this piece of flagstone.

Back in the Patch…

…somebody had been sticking his nose where he shouldn’t,


through a corrugated metal fence of all things to fight with a pit bull.

HoratioNelson1 copy

The end result:


Fence / Napoleon complex: 7 stitches, Pit Bull: 0


The cookies have almost gone for another year.

I knew those pallets would come in useful.


Gopher plants are in full swing,

Euphorbia rigida



they look great around broad paddles and are particularly effective when weaving through edging boulders.


Fatsia Japonica have finished flowering and are now


producing thousands of green berries.


These will mature to shiny black as winter draws to an end, a great late winter feast for the birds.


scale copy



Now this is what I call an infestation!

I have this scale (Diaspis echinocacti) on two opuntia paddles.


I had no idea how these tiny oysters functioned.


Treatment was easy…snap off infected paddle and discard.


Stay Tuned For:

“Branching Out”



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



“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.

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“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.

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“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.

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“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.

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“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.

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“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.

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“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.

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