by ESP on October 8, 2010 · 12 comments

The flaps are up, the landing gear is down, please return to your seats and fasten your seat belts, we are on our final approach to the you know what, you know when.  I am now in a constant battle with this pilot, as fast as I clean an area up for the http://gardenconservancy.org/opendays/, this maverick is tearing it up and scraping it down.

As fast as he keeps landing his highly efficient plastic airplane, creating deep gauges in my granite pathways, I am there covering them back up with some frantic boot scraping and very dark muttering.  It is as though he senses that the conservancy tour is looming ever closer and has upped his destructive tendencies accordingly…of course, I may just be a little more sensitive then usual in these “final days”!

“It’s the Yellow Bells ‘Esperanza’!...they are late again!!!”

I have no idea why mine seem to bloom so late in the year, but they do.

This stressed out shield bug cringes deep inside this yellow bell every time the plastic jet careens around the decomposed granite pathway in its immediate vicinity.  His antenna says it all, is he biting his fingernails behind there?

And after a fighter pilot’s day is finished, what better then a debriefing near a stock tank with a neighborhood cat (yes, we have a few)…this cat drinks deeply from my stock tank on a daily basis, it’s stare all the while unwavering on the fish swimming just out of claw’s reach.

Moving up even higher into the cosmos, my moon flowers at the entrance to the Patch are also in full flight at the moment.

Resembling flattened datura blooms, and equally as large. I started this vine from a seed earlier this year, I thought the summer heat was going to fry it to a crisp, but it pulled through.

Very elegant.  The underside of this plant is as dramatic as the top…a moon and a star!

From the waxy bold to the feather spikes on this black fountain grass:

Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Moudry’

Picture courtesy of De Groot, Inc.

Pennisetum translates as “feather bristle”, referring to the bristly structures surrounding the flowers on the inflorescence, in maturity it looks like water spraying from a fountain (hence its common name).  This is my first year with this grass, I got a bit of a late start with it, but in the words of Captain Picard…“It has performed admirably”.

The plant has its origins in Japan and East Asia  and it will readily self seed.  I have read that it is better to cut the stems before flowers go to seed to control growth, naturally I will ignore this until it begins to be a problem. My palm grass was also a prolific self-seeder, I had quite a few for a few years and after last years freezes I now have none!

“Seed yourself freely young Moudry”!

Mexican bush sage and purple fountain grass orientating themselves at the sun. I like fountain, in fact I like all grasses, can you tell?  The view from my front window (right) as I type this, really is quite something. Zzzz.

All manner of dwarf miscanthus are shooting out different shaped seed heads right now…great set against broad-leafed burgundy canna lilies.

Another rather unusual grass:

Chrysopogon zizanioides

or Vetiver Grass.

Vetiver’s roots grow downward (naturally) to an amazing 2-4 meters in depth.  This makes vetiver an excellent stabilizing hedge for stream banks, terraces, and rice paddies, it is used for erosion control as this company in Hawaii demonstrates: http://vetiversystems.com/

Anita Cooper’s water color of vetiver grass

I planted it precisely for this attribute on one of my mounds and it has worked out a treat.

Vetiver is mainly cultivated for the fragrant essential oil distilled from its roots. Due to its excellent fixative properties, vetiver is used widely in perfumes. It is contained in a staggering 90% of all western perfumes (Lavania).

In perfumery, the older French spelling, vetyver, is often used.

Another use for the grass is to make mats, these are constructed by weaving vetiver roots and binding them with ropes and cords, these are typically used in India to cool rooms in a house during the summer months. The mats are typically hung in a doorway and kept moist by spraying with water periodically, this cools the passing air and emits a refreshing aroma.

Moving on:

Oh don’t you dare!  Don’t be a complete aster…you have to wait another week!

I have my fingers crossed that these short lived fall aster blooms will still be going in the next week or so, after all, we all know how attractive they look after they have bloomed!

Inland sea oats are looking seasonally festive right now.

The oats got huge this year almost to the point that they are falling over.

Can someone identify this:

A really difficult plant to get a decent shot, this is about as good as it gets!

The next image can only mean one thing…the ESP witches are once again on the move, no doubt gathering herbs and all manner of poisonous plant parts (of which I have many) in preparation for their obscene Halloween shenanigans.

“There was three horrible ladies daddy, sitting on the bench…they looked like “motners”! I knew exactly what he meant, he went on…

“One of them had a big…”

My intuitive eldest also sensed their despicable presence, channeling her concerns into her art as she usually does in such situations.


Oh no, I haven’t forgotten!

Did you think you would escape the next “light” installment of the ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ ?

So go grab a bottle of rum, take yet a few deep nautical breaths…here is part two of the slimy, rather depressing mariner’s affair…You better watch it all, there WILL be a written test at the end of the series, oh and a fake gold sovereign for the winner, naturally.

Stay Tuned  for:

“The Eve”

All material © 2010 for eastsidepatch. Unauthorized
intergalactic reproduction strictly prohibited, and
punishable by late  (and extremely unpleasant)
14th century planet Earth techniques.

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1 Bob Pool October 8, 2010 at 8:18 pm

Gettin nervous are ye?

I don’t think you have any thing to worry about. It looks great in the pictures. At it’s worst it’s still better than most.

What is that mist in the one picture? Is it your secret DDT spray or witches mist?

The video of the water bug was great. Lyn was watching and said that kid is another Sea Hunt. That may be before your time but it was a compliment. See you soon, Bob.

2 ESP October 8, 2010 at 8:40 pm

Arrr!…Nerves on an old sea dog? Nay Matey!
Hi Bob and thanks for your supportive words.

The mist was naturally emanating from a Weber full of the finest chicken wings :-)
DDT spray…Me?
The mouth-watering smell did attract and pull the witches out from their post oak home that evening though, they always start emerging and get active around this time of year.

Glad you like the water bug video, he featured heavily in this one!
Sea Hunt? I have a vague recollection of this show, I remember “Daktari” (same producer) much more vividly :-)

Yes, see you soon Bob and Lyn…should be fun.

Thanks for helping once again.


3 TexasDeb October 9, 2010 at 7:08 am

Aww -I was hoping somebody helpful/knowledgable had already identified your mystery plant . I send photos in to Mr Smarty Plants at the Wildflower Center {AFTER spending an hour or two dutifully pulling up and poring over dozens of identified plant photos while failing to find a match}. He is astounding.

I am certain your garden will WOW the crowds at the tour and know your crackerjack tour helpers will only add to the overall ambience. I hope you’ll relax and enjoy it all because if we can’t enjoy our outdoor spaces I’m not sure why we persist in gardening there. (And I write that as a little lesson to myself, mostly….). Have a lovely weekend ESP!

Hi TD.

Not yet! This plant pops up in different places in the Patch every year, I usually pull it before it gets as big as this, this year I thought I would let it go to see just how big it would get, I just know someone will ask me what it is, hence my query.
Yes I have a great line-up of people helping me on the big day, and yes I will try and relax, the emphasis naturally being on the “try” :-)
Thanks TD, have a great weekend yourself and enjoy this weather…I hope it lasts!


4 Diana October 9, 2010 at 7:40 am

Ain’t it great to have all that help in the garden?! Looks great from here, but then I’m almost legally blind (just kidding!). I’m sure you’re just a wee bit stressed. I meant to ask if I can bring anything with me when we come next week? Beer, wine, valium?!!! I know your garden will be awe-inspiring and I can’t wait to see it again. Hope your checklist is shrinking.

5 ESP October 9, 2010 at 11:01 am

Hi Diana.
Haha help indeed, let me just say he is keeping me quite busy, as is my eldest…I caught her the other day with her top off, snorkel mask on, and her head in the pond looking at the goldfish! She came up with a line of oxygenation plants on her head saying: “That was sooo cool!”
I do not think you need to bring anything next week just yourself.
My checklist appears to have a strange sense of humor…it just gets longer the closer I get to the day!

6 Linda Lehmusvirta October 9, 2010 at 6:32 pm

I can’t wait to see everything in person and maybe put a finger on your mystery plant! Oh yes, the asters will hang onto to their ass-ters: mine have yet to bloom. And ditto on Esperanza late: other folks have them blooming like mad. We must have a pox upon us. And I must check out the latest pennisetum. Looks gorgeous.

Thanks for the CTG link and mainly, thank you to you & Leah & the hobbits for the best GC tour ever in history! You’re on the landing strip now, so go relax. Linda

7 ESP October 9, 2010 at 7:07 pm

Hi Linda.

I am afraid you would have to dig deep in a brush trash can to put a finger on my mystery plant…I am afraid the plant did not pass the Patch’s final selection process, as didn’t a number of oddly located celosia that are now lying on top of it.

My ass-ters went into overdrive today with yet another bright sunny day…I just knew it…complete and utter asters!

I see Esperanza everywhere, even down my own street, usually paired with Pride of Barbados that have been blooming forever, and mine have just started now? Most peculiar!

I wish that my pennisetum was the size of the one in the picture, but yes, I like it already.

Thanks Linda,
See you Saturday!

8 Les October 12, 2010 at 5:50 pm

Admirable indeed that Moudry. Took me four years to rid the garden of it. Even now I freak a little at any unidentified grass that pops up where I did not plant one.

I wish you blue skies and intelligent questions for the garden tour.

9 ESP October 12, 2010 at 8:30 pm

Hi Les.

I will see how my little Moudry behaves, and keep a close eye on it.
Thanks on the tour front, the weather looks right now like it will be fine…fingers crossed. I am in the process of mapping out my garden as a schematic…I had no idea I had so many plants! Yikes, taking longer then I initially thought.
Four days and counting.


10 Toni - Diggin' in the Dirt October 20, 2010 at 9:08 pm

If I am not mistaken, I believe the mystery plant is none other than….drum roll, please… Perilla frutescens. Check it out and see what you think.

11 ESP October 20, 2010 at 9:24 pm

Hi Toni.
Yes, you got it! (insert symbol crash).
Thanks for this, I have had this pop up over the years here and there and now I know!
(Added you to my Blogroll)

12 Toni - Diggin' in the Dirt October 21, 2010 at 11:31 am

Glad I could help on the mystery plant, perilla frutescens. It was introduced to my garden by a “freebie” from a garden club plant sale. Sometimes you get more than you bargain for. At first I let it grow to see what it would do, but after it started to engulf the rest of the perennials, I decided it could no longer be a free-loader in my garden. It would have to move on. So I ripped it out — or so I thought. Apparently seeds were dropped in the flinging process, and they keep trying for a comeback. Not on my watch. Perilla magilla, however, can stop by any time it wants :-) Hey, thanks for adding my blog to your blogroll! Appreciate it. Sure wish I could have come to your place on the Conservancy Tour!! Pics look amazing! You have an “interesting” sense of humor, to say the least.

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