With the painting in the Patch almost finished, it was time I created some more work for myself, today the Eye of Sauron cast a cold gaze on this garden scene…
The scale of this Mexican weeping bamboo and the stock-tanked golden bamboo where the Tahoe hit has disturbed me for quite some time. The plants are just too tall in front of the house, what had been my thought process here? A momentary loss of sanity? Anyway, my primal Advil taking instinct told me this was going to be one tough dig! The one-ton rock you can see in front of the feeder tank has not moved since it fell off the back of the wagon that delivered my last six yards of decomposed granite, six months ago.
“Fascinating ESP, your rock strangely resembles and parallels this similar unmovable rock on Vulcan.”
I was supposed to get a bunch of rocks that weighed in at a ton, I ended up with one, yes just the one, one that I have no chance of remotely moving by myself.
It is a really cool rock though and it looks like the shape of Texas from the right angle, with one eye shut, standing on your head, etc, etc. Today I was overhauling this area. I knew that the Mexican weeping bamboo was not going to go down, or out of the ground for that matter, without a major shovel fight, it was quite established after all…
…quite established indeed. The root-ball was about four feet around and about ten feet deep, okay I exaggerate. My plan was to split this plant in half and relocate it to the back of my property. Splitting a bamboo’s root-ball seems good in theory, until you actually get into the actual splitting process.
Once again I was so happy I had a full steel shovel, nothing else would have taken the strain that I was subjecting this implement to as I worked my way around the root-ball. I could hear things snapping and popping, I just hoped it was the plants roots rather then some of my tendons.
Oh yes you had better stay rigid trusty old shovel, because a Darwin Award could be awarded to me if you snap right now! The plant moaned and groaned, and my shovel and I followed suit with an occasional “why you little…” thrown in on my part for good measure. Eventually I felt the final roots give and the beast was finally freed from the earth, it immediately started to scream and object like an unearthed mandrake root. I laid on my back looking up at the sky, seeing stars.
Next stop…the Tahoe dented stock-tank that housed my golden bamboo.
This extraction was easy in comparison.
I removed all of the soil and rocks out of the tank, then wheeled it to the back of my back garden to hunt for a relocation spot. I did have a surprise when I first moved the tank…
I found this poor pale Gulf-coast toad hunkered down, hibernating underneath it. This ‘toad in the hole’ quickly retreated deeper into his winter sanctuary at my rude disturbance. I feared for him as the ESP Witches have already hung up their nasty hessian sacks in the post oak in anticipation of the spring toad cull.
has the most extensive ridging of any toad in its geographic range. The ridges extend from the nose, to the back of the head. With a branch that wraps around the back side of the eye. I placed a few strategic rocks around and over him to offer once again some semblance of privacy, I just hope it was enough.
Here are both plants transplanted into their brand new homes:
And that takes the stock-tank count up to seven in my back garden. Now if only I had a small Roman garrison to help me move that one-ton boulder at the front.
The Patch catching some late afternoon rays. The post oak and giant timber bamboo create some interesting shadows on the house. The Gopher plant in the foreground is in full swing right now…
I like the way the blue – silver foliage echoes the color of the Sedum reflexum ‘Blue Spruce’.
The emerging purple blooms of this mountain laurel looks great against the new green color of the house. This confirmed to me that I need to a) get some more laurels around the Patch and b) plant a large bed of Mexican bush sage at the front of house to replace the bamboos that I have just ripped up.
These gangly chaps are all over the Patch right now, both indoors and out.
Although some people think these flies look like Texas-sized mosquitoes, they are wrongly called “mosquito hawks.” Crane flies are large tan-colored fragile flies with long legs. Adults and larvae do not feed on mosquitoes, in fact adult crane flies feed on nectar or they do not feed at all, once they become adults, these noble creatures exist only to mate and die. Crane fly larvae feed primarily on decomposing organic matter, in compost piles, they often occur on the soil surface below the pile of decaying vegetation. Adults have long slender legs which are easily broken and may be missing in some specimens.
Crane flies are a food source for many birds and many other insects and carnivores…
“Well, we love them don’t we honey?”
“We certainly do George”.
To finish on a “Ewww” note…
Giant carnivorous plant
Botanists have uncovered a carnivorous plant in the Philippines that is large enough to digest a whole rat. (The plant is about a meter across with these cups at the end of stalks to catch prey).
Here is the carnivorous pitcher plant preparing to tuck into a rat. Can you believe this? Look at the remarkable painted coloration on the lips of these cups.
“Oh no! I told him he should have become a head-chef ” Brrr… (whiskers involuntary twitch and large teeth bite upper lip, tiny limb and small ear movements).
Stewart McPherson, one of the botanists who trekked deep into the Philippine forest to make the discovery, described the plant…
“Around the mouth of the pitcher are secretions of nectar which attracts insects and small animals. The rim has lots of waxy downward-pointing ridges which help prey fall directly into the pitcher. The pitchers are half full of a liquid consisting of acids and enzymes which help break down its prey. These plants grow in really harsh areas where soil quality is very poor — often pure gravel or sand. Catching insects allows the plant to augment nutrients that it otherwise wouldn’t have access to.” … Mmmm perhaps a mass planting in the hell-strip? That would be novel!
Inspirational image of the week:
Talking about the top of a remote mountain! I have decided that this is where I want to spend my Autumn years when they arrive, a house nestled up in the trees, a Heli-drop of deli produce and beer once a month, fast internet connection, and “raised” (ahem) vegetable beds…you get the absurd picture.
“I like that place Carl”
“Me too Ellie”!
Stay Tuned for:
“Life and Death”
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