“All Hail Tlaloc”

by ESP on September 12, 2009 · 10 comments


“All Hail Tlaloc, All Hail Tlaloc, All Hai…”

(Aug,2011)  I have been informed by the Harvard University Extension School that the first image is actually not Tlaloc but Cinteotl the Maize God.  I appreciate this correction.

This has been the mantra for the tiny members of the Nabooboo tribe the last few days. They have all been shuffling around in the rain, (yes I said rain), mumbling it under their breaths, and making strange gestures into the sky. I even observed them hoisting up this five inch high epitaph onto a stone platform under one of my yuccas.

Wet Yucca leaf

Tlaloc, as it turns out, is god of the rain within ancient Mesoamerican mythology, which gives us some insight as to the origins of the Naboo tribe.  His name comes from “tlalli” and “octli” meaning ‘earth’ and ‘wine’.  He embodies the process of water coming together with earth, inciting and empowering fertility, nourishment, and destruction, (oh and how we needed some liquid nourishment in Central Texas). He is god of lightening, thunder, and all storms, floods, or droughts. Tlaloc is at once the creator, the sustainer, and the destroyer. Kind of like an ancient, and much more talented Conan.

Hoja Santa in the rain

Whatever offering the tribe has made to Tlaloc, it has worked. We finally have had some sustained rains in Austin, a long soaking, and it is just what the doctor ordered.
mccoy“I do not remember ordering that ESP? Are you sure that was me?

My rainwater “system”

As I sit here writing this, I can hear thunder reverberating around the patch and the sound of rain rain hitting hard on our metal roof, rain that is filling up the myriad of vessels in my “everything, including the kitchen sink” rainwater collection “system”. The weather has created the “Perfect Storm” in my stock tank…

Andrea Gail, The Perfect Storm


The “Andrea Gail” was having all sorts of problems as it tried to fight it’s way through the lashing rain coming down from the gutter.

I have actually been going outside, every couple of hours, to empty the multitude of buckets and pans etc, as they continuously fill up. I throw the contents out anywhere and everywhere with a crazed expression on my face, a face obsessed with saturating the land, and that is one crazy face, trust me.


“Here’s Johnny, with another bucket of the wet stuff!”


I feel like somebody from one of those old war-time desert movies where the unfortunate thirsty characters come upon a mirage, and go completely mad over the water, only to realize that it is only a badly filmed mirage. It has been so long that we have had any decent rain, it isn’t a mirage, is it? Have I just been running around the patch in an iced turban, throwing buckets of sand from my kid’s sand-box on my plants, convincing myself it was water? Is it still 105 degrees and dry?


I happened upon this shy female tribal member of the Naboo out on a snail gathering expedition, (a major source of nutrition). The agave “shoulder-dress” is believed to force the head of the gatherer forward and down toward the ground encouraging the wearer to stay focused on the “snailling” activity at hand. The Mexican Lime tree (top) reacts very strangely and dramatically to the rain, especially prolonged rain like we have been experiencing.

Mexican Lime Tree drooping in the rain

The tree starts to flop! It is really quite disturbing, but it does make the limes reachable for tiny hands. My youngest hobbit was on this odd phenomena in an instant. I should have known, it was just too quiet, for too long in the patch, a dead give away that someone was up to no good. I stopped my watering frenzy to find the hobbit tucking into the tree, arms moving like Edward Scissor hands, picking, scattering and involuntarily dicing limes around his rather large hobbit feet.

Wet Giant Timber Bamboo

The Giant Timber Bamboo looks like it has had a coat of lacquer, the rains have really brought out the browns in these culm sheaths.

Cactus Trunk

The browns on this Opuntia trunk have also been accentuated. I have been cutting the base of this one quite ruthlessly over the past couple of years or so, to try to get more of a tree-like habit. I then saw the Strolling Down Honeysuckle Lane” post on Germi’s blog http://thegerminatrix.com/ and was blown away by the specimen she photographed in San Antonio.  I am now on a quest to have my own Opuntia tree, and no, I will not be carving any faces in this one. RIP CM.

Soft Leaf Yucca

This Soft leafed Yucca does not seem to care what the weather does, it always looks good, both in color, margins and form.

Mexican Firebush

Mexican Firebush

Mexican Fire bush Firecracker Shrub, Mexican Fire bush, Scarlet Bush, Hummingbird Bush.

Hamelia patens

This plant is actually a native Mexican shrub or small tree. The shrub never reaches its potential height of thirteen feet in Texas because it is usually frozen back to the ground, to re-emerge the next year. For some reason this one did not re-emerge this year like it was supposed to, so I planted another one earlier this year in the same location, look at it now!

A great hummingbird attractant.

Front Garden

The front garden, anyone know what the grassy, grey looking succulent is?  The rain has really greened up all the rosemary that was turning a subtle yellow. You can see the almost-bare hell-strip under the desert willow.  This area is going to be mounded with decomposed granite and soil, then planted with a mass planting of soft leafed yucca for structure and bamboo muhly for movement.

Staying in the front garden a moment:

Amaranth leaf

Amaranth starting to put on it’s luxurious, regal, fall robes.

Blackfoot Daisy

This Blackfoot daisy has now sprawled half-way across the side-walk, it received quite a bit of addition water this year due to my failed attempt to save a transplanted Bog Cyprus tree. Nothing is too hot for this little plant.

Sago Palm

My Cycas have been revitalised…


and with the rains came a lot of puddle stomping fun.

Water Droplets

And finally…

The Pilot

This pilot was forced to land his private jet on a small granite walkway in the ESP, after encountering the bad weather.  His co-pilot, strangely adorning four arms, seemed particularly pleased that they were safely on the ground, probably due to the fact that the plane had tiny wings and his face was only a couple of inches away from the over-sized propeller.

Stay Tuned for:

“Mary, Mary, quite Contrary”

All material © 2009 for eastsidepatch. Unauthorized
intergalactic reproduction strictly prohibited, and
punishable by  late  (and extremely unpleasant)
14th century planet Earth techniques.

Inspirational Image of the Week:






If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!
1 Carla D'Anna September 14, 2009 at 12:18 am

I love the pictures but I can’t read your words when you use such pale colors as gray or yellow against a white background.

2 Carla D'Anna September 14, 2009 at 12:20 am

ODDness. After I submitted that comment the back ground was darker and text was white and quite legible.

3 ESP September 14, 2009 at 8:16 am

Hi Carla, I read your mind!!!
You were probably logging into the patch as I was working on it. How funny.

Happy you find it clearer and more legible with the darker background. I really want to go back to a black background but when I do my blog title disappears! Not sure how to fix this yet, so for now it remains a dark grey.

Thanks for your feedback…ESP.

4 Jenny September 14, 2009 at 12:49 pm

The rain has brought out the tropical in your garden and of course with that you always get snails. Are your snail collectors for hire? Are they the tiny ones? I have noticed them too. In fact they are trying to get in the house along with an earthworm! and then the pill bugs came out of hiding and they are worse than anything. You seem to have settled back into routine again after the excitement of last week.

5 Jenny September 14, 2009 at 12:50 pm

Oh! Forgot to say, that wall of logs is out of this world. Imagine it needs a dry climate to stay looking that good.

6 ESP September 14, 2009 at 1:31 pm

Hi Jenny.
Ahh, the rain, the rain. It was so nice to get a reprieve from the sun for a few days. I am hoping we are not finished yet! Yes we have had a fair amount of snails and bugs and other unmentionables. I am a little concerned, because of the rather large holes in our living room, something larger may wander on through! The snail collectors are all mine! Mine, I tell you.

How about that log wall. I think, if I remember correctly, it was built for a competition or showcase installation in the UK. I should have paid more attention! Very cool though!

7 Germi September 15, 2009 at 1:04 pm

ESP! I got all giddy when I saw the link to one of my favorite posts right here on The Patch! THANKS!!! I agree with you – that sculptural Opuntia tree is just the living end. I want one.
I am so happy for you! The drenching looks beautifully quenching, and the Patch is gorgeous – but it was that even when it was dry! I fell over with hooting laughter at the image of you running around madly, in an ice turban induced brain freeze, pouring sand on your plants!
What an incredible capture! Do you know that you are the first person EVER to get documented evidence of the Nabooboo Agave ‘Shoulder Dress’? It has been whispered about in anthropological circles for years … how exciting to finally know that it is real! I hear they have many more examples of functional tribal dress – I’m hoping with the growing trust between you and the tribe, we may see more of these fantastic examples of Nabooboo fashion!
The slick images of wet plants and leaves and seedpods adorned with raindrops almost makes me weep. One day, I will see the rain again. But until then, your wonderful photos put me inside a wet garden; I swear I can even smell it! Thank you so much for that!
Cheers to you!

8 ESP September 15, 2009 at 6:45 pm

Hi Ivette.

Your image of the Opuntia tree has stayed with me over the months, I have never see one pruned up so high, ever, well worthy of another mention! In fact in my minds-eye, it is now the size of a post oak and getting larger with every passing day! The drenching was well needed, well needed indeed. I hope we get some more soon, it did perk everything up and brought numerous plants back from having one root in the grave. I was laughing while I was writing about the rain mirage…completely mad!

I am in the process of submitting a paper containing my recent observations to the anthropological society, the shoulder dress photographs are creating quite a stir in this community it seems. I have now been priviledged to capture three unique Naboo headdresses, remember the large “Bad-Hair-Day” agave? …Stunning, and the very “Kubrick” hunting and gathering mask?
The tribal trust seems to have grown considerably since the Tahoe crash, I am not really sure why this is, perhaps a shared experience? Bob at Draco has suggested that the driver and occupants of the Tahoe did not actually run off – but were actually captured by the tribe and “escorted” into the Miscanthus clearing…and we all know what happens to people there! Brrrr! That would explain how they disappeared so quickly.

So happy you liked the wet garden, it has been so nice to go out and not immediately start sweating, such a nice change. I turned into a water sloshing fool for a few days…and I loved it!
Your time will come.


9 GCC August 17, 2011 at 8:19 am

The first Picture isn’t Tlaloc it is Cinteotl the Maize God.

10 ESP August 17, 2011 at 7:17 pm

Thank you GCC for the correction.
I have updated this post with the correction.

Previous post:

Next post: