“Oh Drupes!”

July 29, 2014 · 5 comments

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“My, grandma…what a big nose you have!”

“And my, grandma, that is some serious halitosis you have going on!”

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“All the better for smelling out stinky dead things and rolling-in / eating them.”

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Oh yes with this decapitated little snake (rough earth snake, perhaps a Texas blind snake, I don’t know?)

I had them on their toes wielding dustpans…

…they were totally disturbed as I danced toward them shouting “its goin’ doon yer back…

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…and “the wee beastie is goin tae land on yer noggin’.”

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…in my really bad Billy Connolly accent.

I have never seen them move faster.

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It has been a week of odd findings.

I found three clusters of drupes at the base of this needle palm, yes I said drupes, drupes.

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Needless to say (ahem)

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I got sufficiently punished for taking this macro.

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The needles on this palm are virtually impossible to see among the debris and they are extremely sharp.

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For anyone remotely interested here is drupelet split open to reveal the kernel.

DSC07009This cypress tree contained in my pond has also set some large fruit,

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all it needs are some wings…a quidditch field, a lick of gold paint, some wizard folk on broomsticks, ability to fly…etc.

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Staying in this pond for a moment,

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this Florida native swamp lily,

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Crinum americanum


is putting on a fine show.

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Another super white bloom has taken over two other places in the patch.

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I vaguely remember collecting and planting some seeds from the datura mother-plant last fall.

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I have tried planting the seed before without much success.

But not this year. This year the story is quite different.

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I now have enough Devil’s snare to keep a small army of tribal Shamans in psychotropic trances for a very long time.

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Inland sea oats are on the turn, greens turning to browns as fall encroaches.

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I allow them to spread where they want to toward the back of my property,

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as I do with this beach vitex…at least for now.

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Finally:

How about this for an agave bloom:

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This one is the tallest I have ever seen.

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Stay Tuned For:

“The Others

 

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

 

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Dragonfly wings,

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buried in the sand?

It could mean only one thing,

we were off on vacation,

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and we had survived the “6 Harry Potters” worth of car-time to get there.

The 12 hour journey was accompanied by the repeatedly repeated phrases from the parental units trying desperately to hold it together…“If you do that again you will loose the iPad for one Harry, do you understand?” and at every gas station: “Did you go to the restroom…did you go to the restroom?

And “stop that humming!”

followed by the final blow

…”you have lost the iPad for a Harry”.

Oh yes, if it wasn’t for the sporadic in-car reading (courtesy of my wife) of the poaching exploits of

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I think we all would have all permanently lost it.

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We had arrived at Gulf Shores, Alabama.

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They jumped out of the car and were on the beach before you could say sunscreen.

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I was not far behind them with my fishing rod.

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A couple of pompano on my second cast (really it was) caught the attention of this Great Blue Heron down the beach:

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I released the fish back into the water but only one made it back to the deep, the other was gracefully harpooned by a formidable beak.

The heron never left my side after this.

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It was like the evil penguin on Wallace & Gromit.

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Always looming.

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This Remora Shark Sucker fish did escape the beak.  These funny looking fish have a sucker pad on top of their head that is used to attach themselves to Shark, Snapper, Cobia etc…they are cleaner fish.

If I had known this at the time I may have attached a couple of these fish to the seat-belt-smudged tattoo that ended up EVERYWHERE.

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The tattoo apparently lasts a month!

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Her hidden agenda at the beach naturally involved lots of these:

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and precisely seven of these:

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Time to get some refreshment at our favorite hangout…

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Let me guess, something to do with Minecraft and American Girl Dolls?

DSC06731Every so often a buzzer would sound and this would happen which was good as it was noticeably fading the tattoo smudges.

resultFinal day blues.

Thank you D&J, we had the best time.

We decided to break up the return journey and splurge with an evening in New Orleans at the

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In the heart of the French Quarter.

Lets just say it made a dramatic change to the Best Westerns we were accustomed to.

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Jaws dropped entering the foyer, and off to the side was the amazing

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Carousel Bar & Lounge where patrons circumnavigate at one revolution every 15 minutes.

The biggest hit was the mandavilla lined rooftop pool

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followed by fresh dressing gowns and chocolates that were found on the bed.

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Next morning it was Beignets at Cafe Du Monde,

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and a walk through Jackson Square with its specimen multi-trunked Mediterranean Fan Palms.

Chamaerops humilis

 

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Hmm, I think I may not have given mine quite enough space – good job they are slow growing.

Are those…it can’t be…

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…Oleanders…the size of trees!

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This is not what we looked like after the drive back to Austin.

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Stay Tuned For:

“Oh Drupes!

 

Jungle Babies

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

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Here is a front garden in South Austin I spent a few days beating into shape and these are the visuals I generated to communicate the design to the client.

The first one incorporates pavers for a more formal look:

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This one introduced flagstone for a preferred meandering, organic look.

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Both designs called for the existing linear sidewalk to be removed.

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And removed it was, expanding exponentially with every tooth rattling blow from the 18lb sledge hammers.

This concrete expansion phenomenon is explained in detail in…

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The concrete expanded so rapidly it had filled a dumpster up in the time it took to say “why did my design have to call for the removal of the sidewalk?”

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Saving Ryan

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I refer to this part of the installation process as the ‘Normandy’ phase and it can be a little unnerving for the home owner should they come home in the middle of it.

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Next came turf removal, grade reduction, flattening and sprinkler capping.

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Here is the area almost prepped.

The hedge in front of the porch was removed to open up the view from the front porch. Removal of the sidewalk made the space feel much larger.

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Final Implementation:

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Grey Tejas black aggregate, Mexican beach pebbles and Silvermist flagstone blend up to the grey lower story of the house.

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No more sprinklers or lawn cutting required here.

A solar powered art installation by Melissa Borrell

http://www.melissaborrell.com/

called Glowave is designated for the rectangular area to the left of the front porch.

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The existing spineless prickly pear cactus and agave were pruned up and a couple of large limestone boulders were brought in to pull down the white of the house.

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Three sculptural whales tongue agave are given plenty of space to spread their spiny wings.

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And spread they will.

The rest of the plantings combine rosemary, basket grass, compact sage, gopher plant and a few muhly grasses that will fill in and soften the scene over time.

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It is very rewarding to see a space transform like this one. The final result is almost enough to mentally fade away the ‘storming of the sidewalk’ and the battered nerves of the Normandy phase…

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…almost.

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Back in the Patch:

Talking of transformations,

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it seems like only yesterday that he was a small man trapped in a box,

and she was only a few feet shorter than the first cypresses that I planted in the Patch.

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Nothing gives you a better appreciation of the passage of time than children and Arizona ‘blue ice’ cypress trees.

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Plants and trees have matured over the years, the neighboring house has now receded behind a tall wall of foliage yet

battles rage on and on in the Patch…

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…like the stand of Bermuda grass that insists on growing in the safe haven around the base of my barrel cacti

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urgh,

and this huge vitex that constantly strains and leans to scrape the roof of my front porch.

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The dollop of silver in the middle is ‘Silver King’ artemisia,

Artemisia ludoviciana

 

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a rapid spreader.

I keep mine in check by surrounding it with five rosemary bouncers.

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It pairs well with Gregg’s mist flower.

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Finally:

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The cone flowers have apparently liked the deep soakings we have received this spring.

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Stay Tuned For:

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“A Change of Scenery

 

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

May 26, 2014

“Oh Frass!”

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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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May 18, 2014

“Uncle Wiggily wants his Ovaltine”

Thumbnail image for “Uncle Wiggily wants his Ovaltine”

Munching and hoarding insects, wizard wands and buried treasure this week in the ESPatch.

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