“Barf or Peach?”

by ESP on December 9, 2014

First it does this…


…then it does this…


…before finally doing this:


I am not complaining though, the winter color this bog cypress provides is well worth the mess…and the $1 child-labor-netting.


What is really annoying is that this post oak deposites its leaves into the same pond first.


Urgh, the first onslaught.

This pond has been going for about 10 years with lots of skimming, minimal maintenance and zero cleaning…(twice a year filter-cleaning via the garden hose only).


On a recent assessment I fear I may have to finally break-down and dredge it.

I am a proponent of the non-cleaning of stock-tank ponds, build up the eco-system until the rising sludge becomes life-threatening to the inhabiting creatures, or the pump…

…leave it until the final hour.

“How highs the organic-matter-mamma?”

“Two-feet-high and risin”.

Needless to say, I will not be employing this past-technique when the Eco-reset comes:


I will never forget that experience!


So many leaves,

and so many of these Bordered Plant Bugs, Largus sp. this year,


they love to find their way indoors when the cold weather hits.

This is my 4th since starting this post,


the second one I caught in my peripheral vision crawling over my shoulder,


enough said.

Fatsia Japonica is a very late bloomer, with some very unusual flowers.

greenbottle flies

Flowering as late as it does guarantees an abundance of insect life.

Greenbottle flies,

Fatsia Japonica

paper wasps and

DSC08091 copythese enormous spiky Tachinid Flies to name a few aralia visitors, there are many more.


Get off that Yucca and make your way to the Japonica, there are Tachinid Flies to be had!


“Bear, you have just had lunch.”


As soon as Thanksgiving was over…I knew what was next in store for me.



The customary wrestle through the front door, the sap, the stupid mounting base, clanking step ladders, needles, sweat, “its not straight”, the too heavy star, the pruning, the awkward watering maneuver (AWM), “Dad, its still not straight”.

“The lights were working earlier, what did you do?”

“How do you replace the fuses again? Where are the spare fuses?” “Where are my readers?”

“Dad, I think its leaking!”

“I wanted to hang that decoration…”



A calming adult beverage later and some excited expressions make it all worthwhile though,

is that star still leaning?



I will leave you with a few before and after images of a front garden makeover I completed a few years back.


Conflicting linear materials and some patchy turf was replaced with decomposed granite and perimeter privacy plantings.


It was great to see how the foliage had matured both on the right side,


and the left:


The loquats in the distance were tiny when I planted them.


Buddha’s Belly and Alphonse Karr bamboo adding passageway depth and drama to a side gate.


While taking pictures on the property I came across this fasciated Texas mountain laurel…a fine mutated specimen.

BloodTestThingDr. T. Ombrello wrote:

‘One interesting type of mistake that is occasionally found in plants is known as a fasciated or crested growth form. It is usually the result of a growing point changing from a round dome of cells into a crescent shape. Subsequent growth produces a flat stem. In some cases fasciation is the result of several embryonic growing points fusing together, with the same flat-stem appearance.’”

fasciated Texas mountain laurel


On that particularly bad note,

ladies and gentlemen I give you the riveting 2014 bean-boozled-challenge:

Stay Tuned For:

“Whats in Your Stocking?”


IMG_0047 copy

All material © 2014 for eastsidepatch. Unauthorized
intergalactic reproduction strictly prohibited, and
punishable by late (and extremely unpleasant)
14th century planet Earth techniques


“Shelling Out”

by ESP on November 16, 2014


Halloween candy is seemingly endless this year, sugar rushes sparking some odd behavioral patterns.


“Don’t tell me…your a Boxer?”

Staying with odd behavioral patterns:

Sago Fountain

How about this animated female sago palm!


She was clutching a bunch of new red seeds in her megasporophyll basket (which are in fact the modified leaves of the sago).

Also on our travels…


A writhing stand of Variegated Century Plant (Agave americana var. marginata), and not a long-nose weevil in sight…yet!

After a bite to eat it was onto Laguna Gloria sculpture park.


The installation below is called the “Net-Work”

by Korean sculptor and installation artist Do Ho Suh:

Do Ho Suh

Gold and chrome plating over plastic figures that are attached onto a nylon fishing net, 


this must have taken some serious patience to fabricate.


The park also has plenty of mature sabals.


Back in the Patch:




My two pecan trees have been busy of late, dropping all their droppings over as big an area as possible.


It has been a bumper crop of pecan nuts this year so I naturally called on some child labor for harvesting.





…get off the iPad…


…and get busy shelling.”

“Seriously Dad?”



Cold temperatures have triggered fatsia japonica into bloom and initiated new growth.


Last of the mist flowers being held by a light deprived agave.


I will leave you with a few images of the “Garden of cosmic speculation” by landscape architect Charles Jencks at his home near Dumfries in South West Scotland, my old stomping ground.


The 30 acre sculpture garden is inspired by science and mathematics drawing references and influence from black holes and fractals.


Stay Tuned For:

“Barf or Peach?”


All material © 2014 for eastsidepatch. Unauthorized
intergalactic reproduction strictly prohibited, and
punishable by late (and extremely unpleasant)
14th century planet Earth techniques.



“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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