“Panic in the Patch”

by ESP on October 22, 2009

Panic Button

“Hit the button! Hit the button, now!”

Panic is setting in, in the patch. My eyes are being called upon to be extra critical… what needs to be changed?  What would a set of fresh eyes see?  More importantly what would a camera lens see?  Is the lens forgiving?  Perhaps there is a camera “weed” filter for the camera?  Linda, tell me this exists?

The ESP is scheduled for a “Central Texas Gardener” film shoot shortly, and the Botox lady is very pleased about this indeed.  She now shouts at me in her over-the-top Austrian accent every time I pass her…“Yoo-hoo, over zere, over zere,  Are the cameraz zere to film me yet? Tell them to get my good side ya ESP, the side with my green hair, …Are the cameraz here ESP, Ya?”

She is diving me nuts!

Botox Lady's new updoOh, have you seen her hair recently?  The Botox Lady has turned into one icy, green-headed-mama, well at least on one side.  She also has a new gained confidence based on the fact that she now has half a head of the finest green “ice-plant” hair! (She used to be the silent bald-type).  She is obsessed with getting her five minutes of fame, I think she desperately wants to impress Bob over there at Draco Gardens, (I hear her mumbling his name occasionally when I am weeding).  I can see her from my back window, straining her stone neck to try to see her reflection in the closest golden gazing ball,  and she is constantly reminding me that the camera crew will certainly see all my horticultural negligence as soon as they arrive in the patch, UNLESS I clean up the area directly around her head.

Perhaps I will leave that little irritating patch of gravel in her eye and nose for just a little while longer.

DSC00092The gathering of the Clan “Aphid” also seemed more agitated than usual, I caught them on this satsuma, discussing when to get their kilts out of the dry cleaners. I broke up their discussion rather quickly with a rather strong blast of my hose, which resulted in a lot of “colorful” language.

Unite the Clans

“Aye, but will all ye wee bugs re-unite and fight wuth me, William Wallace, on the battlefield, against the English”?

Oh shut your cake-hole, William.


Here they are, shortly before becoming high-speed, aquatic projectiles.

Satsuma PeelingThis little Satsuma tree is completely buckled over with the weight of the fruit it is wearing…I have not counted them but it is well over a hundred.  This is really good as a few people in the patch can really trench their way through these fast. The fruit are really turning orange rapidly now, but are totally palatable for those individuals who just can’t wait.

DSC09976I have the small branches propped up with anything that will work…chairs, stepladders, grandma Esther?  What?


“Oh you think that is funny ESP”?

In an attempt to take some of the strain off the branches.  I did not thin the tree earlier in the year, deciding to let nature run its course. The fruit that is touching seems fine, and all is ripening into what should be a bumper crop!  And talking of bumper…

potato vinesThese potato vines are on the rampage!  I planted these two plants, late spring this year. I always plant about five or six of these vines every year, mostly to hide parts of the patch I have yet to get to / figure out what to do, or areas that are just plain ugly.

invisibility-cloakThey make great invisibility cloaks!  These two plants are attempting to cover-up some pond hardware.  I like this combination, and use it a lot in containers, for some fast, dynamic foliage color.

Canna and PampasSome more foliage color comes from this Burgundy Canna-Lily that I have just shuffled over into its new home between a weeping bamboo, a large pampas and this palm grass (front).  It took a bit of a beating in the move but will quickly recover, just in time to die back for the winter. The Canna will provide some well-needed tropical color to this predominately green area.  It is satisfying to move something that immediately fills an aesthetic gap.  The burgundy color works well with the steel gray of the pampas.  Now, why did I not do this a few years ago?

Another new resident who has also moved into this area is this…

DSC00032Thryallis, center. Nestled into a small pocket of shade, this should provide a small splash of color in here next year.



Another plant not lacking in the “tropical-look” arena is the mighty Century plant or maguey (Agave americana). This plants tribal markings makes it a favorite with the Naboo tribe and myself alike. If you are lucky enough to have a Westerly facing garden these plants take the sacrificial limelight at sunset. Needless to say, I have a “substantial” amount of these scattered perilously around the patch. Can you have too many?

The latest craze in the patch is “races around the pathways”, which invariably leads to “band-aids on the kneecaps” – granite hurts when you fall on it, like falling onto sandpaper…Oh yes, the ESP is so kid-friendly!  Hey, it enhances coordination skills.


DSC00073 DSC00070


DSC09945These tattoos are also all the rage.

Moving on to something you may remember from my last post…

DSC00026Yes another hoverfly, this time in the depths of a Madame Ganna Walser, performing a precarious balancing act!  I have to show one more shot as they are everywhere right now.

DSC00019I caught this hover, hovering almost motionless around this lily.  I must have been so annoying to this fly, do flies get annoyed? With my camera lens repeatedly blocking its path back to the lily interior.

DSC00062This fly requires a panel beater, he has been in the wars apparently and dented his body armor.  It sort of reminds me of my old pick-up truck right now, similar body color, (albeit less shine on my truck), especially after the “Dude, Where’s my Car” incident, unfortunately my trusty old granite-hauler has been declared “totaled”, but…



I will rebuild her…better than she was before, better, stronger, faster!

One final insect…or is it an antelope?

Awww!I keep this gazelle in a matchbox and take her out of my pocket in business meetings occasionally to feed her a carrot or two. It always gets a few strange looks, but I don’t care.

Moving more sanely on…

DSC00051This pin-stripped pink trumpet vine/desert trumpet vine

Podranea ricasoliana

This vine always puts on it’s finest suit this time of year. The vine is popular in South African gardens where it is known as jacaranda. Many South African botanists suspect that this climber may not be indigenous to southern Africa and that it was introduced here by slave traders. All the sites where both Podranea ricasoliana and Podranea brycei are found have ancient connections with slave traders, who frequented the eastern coast of Africa long before the 1600’s. It has become such a widely grown garden plant in all the warmer parts of the world that it may prove difficult to find its real origin.

DSC00119Podranea ricasoliana can be propagated by means of layering, or by removing side branches that have rooted by themselves. To encourage Podranea to root by layering, take a low growing stem, lay it along the ground without breaking it off the mother plant, bend the tip to a vertical position, stake it in place and bury or cover the part that is touching the ground with soil. My plant actually did this naturally, without any human intervention. These two vines in close proximity have created a monster!

DSC00168My Amaranth has got so large so fast, I am staking quite a few of them to stop them falling over.


1120satellite_dishAnother purple that pops up sporadically are the morning glories.

Finally, a little more hardscaping…


This area has been looking a bit ratty for some time, there was a completely dead dwarf miscanthus in the middle that I removed, and the one on the right of the picture was also not looking too brilliant, with its half torched side. While I was getting dirty in this little area, I had the idea to have another access point to the main pond.  I ripped out a bunch of inland sea oats and the remaining half-baked miscanthus, then moved the potted canna ( the one that I featured earlier).  Finally I transplanted the little Mexican feather grasses to make way for a new short granite pathway.


Here is the final, more orderly result. It is really nice to have another angle to view the pond from.

And to finish…


Gregg’s mistflower Oops Mist flower Eupatorium havanense (thanks for the correction Bob) and an ornamental pepper. Candles and fireworks!


One of the first Mist flowers opened up only today.


clockwork-orange2Stay Tuned for:

“A “Patch” Work Orange”

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

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