by ESP on August 25, 2011 · 4 comments

It has been an eventful week in the Patch. 






The gleaming surfaces,

the clean shining grates, I love getting a new grill can you tell?

My old Weber was, to say the least, looking very much under the weather, its visual hygiene compromised by the confounded laxative popping doves that seem to follow the grill around up in my pecan trees. I am convinced the accidents are not accidents at this point but a stupid bird conspiracy. As the summer is drawing to an end (tell me it is) I am looking forward to some much more humane grilling weather. I also fear for our sanity if the temperatures do not start to taper-off soon…

I found this rather peculiar sign taped to my daughters room the other day,

 naturally curiosity got the better of me and I immediately had to “dstrib” her.

This is what shuffled past me as I entered the room, very “dstribing” indeed. The heat is certainly getting to us all at this point.

The long hot summer has been good for some things:








She practically grew gills this year,

whilst he weathered the heat, brushed up on his short game and tried to ignore the rather large dinosaur looming behind him. 

Talking of gills and golf…

…I shot this writhing mass of feelers on a golf course this past week…Brrr.

From cat whiskers to horsetails:

This plant is dependable no matter the conditions, (well it is housed in a large container underwater).  Unlike a lot of aquatic plants that outgrow their pots, get root bound and go into a steady decline in their maturity, this reed does not seem to care about its confinement at all.

I have grown it in the same container for years now and it always puts on a dependable great fall show.

Cattails are also great as tinder to ignite say a brand new Weber grill, did I already mention how I love getting a new grill?

Moving on…

One plant that has completely impressed me is this baby 

Leucophyllum candidum


Thunder Cloud ™ (it is trademarked by Texas A&M University). Its naturally compact growth form, silver- white foliage color, and very dark purple flowers all combine to make this a great small, drought tolerant shrub. It gets to about three feet high and three or four feet wide.  I planted this little one in the middle of our continuing 70 days of consecutive triple digit temperatures in a place that has killed many a healthy plant, and then I neglected it.

I was a very surprised when I put on my sun / UV reflective attire the other day to safely venture down my garden to see it not only alive but positively thriving…

…and covered in these deep purple blooms. 

Make sure this one is planted in soil that has most excellent drainage.

I did bump into Ernie (my neighbor) on my dangerous venture to the back of the Patch, I think he may have spent just a little too long watering his vegetables.

As you can probably tell I am desperately trying to avoid publishing…

more pictures like this. It appears the heat is now randomly selecting loquats to fry up in the garden wok, garnished with some of my society garlic.  This is one of my neighbors but my death toll is also rising, I have lost two well established trees so far.

A slight forgetfulness on my part with the garden hose gave Kumo “the opportunist” the chance to a) cool off in a wallowing-pig like fashion and b) dig out what was left of my Salvia leucantha whilst yanking out some dead gaura with his teeth as a sort of cooling-off hobby, well it saved me the bother.

Picture courtesy of my eldest halfling.


Considering that my garden looks like it is hovering in that parched veil between life and Ernie, I though I would leave you with this rather melancholic but very fitting poem for all central Texas gardeners right now. 

Relax, I am not re-running the “Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner”…at least not yet. 

This is a rather long poem but stick with it…

…there will be a multiple choice test on it next week. The winner stands to win Ernie’s ashes glamorously displayed in a nice contemporary vase, it was what he would have wanted.

The Garden of Proserpine


by Algernon Charles Swinburne 1837–1909

Here, where the world is quiet;
Here, where all trouble seems
Dead winds’ and spent waves’ riot
In doubtful dreams of dreams;
I watch the green field growing
For reaping folk and sowing
For harvest-time and mowing,
A sleepy world of streams.

I am tired of tears and laughter,
And men that laugh and weep;
Of what may come hereafter
For men that sow to reap:
I am weary of days and hours,
Blown buds of barren flowers,
Desires and dreams and powers
And everything but sleep.

Here life has death for neighbor,
And far from eye or ear
Wan waves and wet winds labor,
Weak ships and spirits steer;
They drive adrift, and whither
They wot not who make thither;
But no such winds blow hither,
And no such things grow here.

No growth of moor or coppice,
No heather-flower or vine,
But bloomless buds of poppies,
Green grapes of Proserpine,
Pale beds of blowing rushes,
Where no leaf blooms or blushes
Save this whereout she crushes
For dead men deadly wine.

Pale, without name or number,
In fruitless fields of corn,
They bow themselves and slumber
All night till light is born;
And like a soul belated,
In hell and heaven unmated,
By cloud and mist abated
Comes out of darkness morn.

Though one were strong as seven,
He too with death shall dwell,
Nor wake with wings in heaven,
Nor weep for pains in hell;
Though one were fair as roses,
His beauty clouds and closes;
And well though love reposes,
In the end it is not well.

Pale, beyond porch and portal,
Crowned with calm leaves she stands
Who gathers all things mortal
With cold immortal hands;
Her languid lips are sweeter
Than love’s who fears to greet her,
To men that mix and meet her
From many times and lands.

She waits for each and other,
She waits for all men born;
Forgets the earth her mother,
The life of fruits and corn;
And spring and seed and swallow
Take wing for her and follow
Where summer song rings hollow
And flowers are put to scorn.

There go the loves that wither,
The old loves with wearier wings;
And all dead years draw thither,
And all disastrous things;
Dead dreams of days forsaken,
Blind buds that snows have shaken,
Wild leaves that winds have taken,
Red strays of ruined springs.

We are not sure of sorrow;
And joy was never sure;
To-day will die to-morrow;
Time stoops to no man’s lure;
And love, grown faint and fretful,
With lips but half regretful
Sighs, and with eyes forgetful
Weeps that no loves endure.

From too much love of living,
From hope and fear set free,
We thank with brief thanksgiving
Whatever gods may be
That no life lives for ever;
That dead men rise up never;
That even the weariest river
Winds somewhere safe to sea.

Then star nor sun shall waken,
Nor any change of light:
Nor sound of waters shaken,
Nor any sound or sight:
Nor wintry leaves nor vernal,
Nor days nor things diurnal;
Only the sleep eternal
In an eternal night.

In the classical myth Proserpine was kidnapped by Pluto, the god of the underworld, to be his wife. She begged to be returned to earth, but because she had eaten some pomegranate seeds Pluto confined her to his kingdom for half of each year.  Her reemergence each year ushered in the forces of spring and the growth of vegetation, causing Proserpine and the pomegranate to forever be linked to the emergence of spring.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Here is a depiction of her consuming a pomegranate which symbolizes captivity.

On Proserpine, Rossetti wrote:

She is represented in a gloomy corridor of her palace, with the fatal fruit in her hand. As she passes, a gleam strikes on the wall behind her from some inlet suddenly opened, and admitting for a moment the sight of the upper world, she glances furtively towards it, immersed in thought. The incense-burner stands beside her as the attribute of a goddess. The ivy branch in the background may be taken as a symbol of clinging memory.


Stay Tuned for:



All material © 2011 for eastsidepatch. Unauthorized
intergalactic reproduction strictly prohibited, and
punishable by late (and extremely unpleasant)
14th century planet Earth techniques.


If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!
1 David C. August 26, 2011 at 9:23 am

Always enjoy your many vignettes, esp the tough plant ones! I can’t wait to read the poem, once I catch up on sleep w/ a beer in-hand. If I could, I would send you some of our “mild” weather – and for free! Hang in there – December is just over 3 months away…

Hi David.

Yes best get a bit of rest before tackling this one, I almost nodded-off posting it all, and the beer will be perfect for drowning your sorrows after reading it :-)

Three months…it is hard to imagine that it is indeed really that close.

Madame Ganna Walska_lily

j j just got to hold on a few more months.


2 Gail August 26, 2011 at 12:05 pm

And I too enjoyed the many vignettes in this post. Some very strange sightings. I’m laughing at the 2 x 2 pictures of you and the kids. Notice girl halfling’s expression does not change. I imagine her saying something like “just sit tight and soon the boys will calm down”.

Hi Gail and thanks, Ernie cracked me up when he suddenly popped into the post, before popping his clogs!

Yes we all had quite a laugh messing around with the “Photo Booth” application…lots of belly laughs, and yes I did notice her disconcertingly calm demeanor in these shots.

Photo Booth

There, thats more like it.

3 Toni - Signature Gardens August 26, 2011 at 12:33 pm

This whole summer is very dstribing and dpresing

This verse sounds like my garden:

There go the loves that wither,
The old loves with wearier wings;
And all dead years draw thither,
And all disastrous things;
Dead dreams of days forsaken,
Blind buds that snows have shaken,
Wild leaves that winds have taken,
Red strays of ruined springs.

Looks like fun was had by all at the beach :-)

Hi Toni, almost as dstribing as:

I am very ready for this summer to be over.

That verse does sum it all up quite well.

We did have fun at the coast and even got to witness some rain!

We actually did squeak out a tiny shower the other day in Austin but I think any liquid evaporated before making landfall.

4 KatyLandscaping September 1, 2011 at 3:16 am

Enjoyed this post. Lots of funny and interesting stuff coming together. Loved the catfish. But loved the Leucophyllum candidum (Thunder Cloud) more. Amazing contrast of purple and silverwhite. A landscaping dream.

Hi Katy.

Glad you liked it, I especially liked “Ernie” on this post, he still cracks me up when I see him all carved out of wood in his protective space-suit.

I am right there with you on the Thunder Cloud front…but oh do we need some real thunder clouds, you know, the ones that actually produce rain. This little plant would work very well planted en masse at the base of Leucophyllum frutescens, a combination I cannot wait to try out.


Previous post:

Next post: