“All that Glitters is not Gold”

by ESP on August 14, 2011 · 6 comments

I considered starting this post once again with a rather long drawn out moan about the current conditions in central Texas, but then decided I would not subject you to another barrage of images of scorched foliage…at least not immediately.  No, this post will start on a very different tune,

a fancy glittery tune.

This glittery mess on my back deck could have been the result of an arts and crafts project, or perhaps some sort of face painting mishap, but this time it wasn’t, this time it was caused by something much less predictable.

  Our young puppy Kumo has been devouring considerable amounts of rather odd artifacts (of which there is no shortage) he finds lying around our house.  On this particular occasion he came nose to nose with a vessel filled with glitter which, feeling very proud of his discovery, he quickly ingested…(I think you know where I am going with this)Now I will spare you the rather disgusting details of the party that exited him some time later, but I will say that all that glitters is most certainly not gold.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

Now back to the burnt and crusty foliage and incessant moaning you have come to expect from me in this, our year of relentless triple digit heat.

Nothing is crusty in this bed though.

Lets take a peep through some barrel cactus eyes and see where the latest heat damage has occurred.

First out of hell’s kitchen and looking more than slightly overdone,

is this Persian ivy appetizer. Followed by a main course of Flambé Mexican bush sages and roasted artemesia on a bed of dry soil, drizzled with a dressing of absolutely nothing, naturally.

“Excuse me sir, would you like a side of

crispy cast iron with that”?

For dessert witness this poor post oak quickly seared on its extremities over my neighbors fence. This old tree has been getting watered regularly since the damage was initially noticed in the late spring..

It is going to take quite some time to see the extent of the carnage of this prolonged drought, especially on our larger mature trees.  Keep a close eye on your specimens extremities and should you see some defoliation, just remember, long slow soakings are the ticket. (Now that is something you don’t get to say every day without a few odd looks).

The yuccas continue to perform well in the heat. 

After my last attack from the snout noses (the evil weevils), I put down generous amounts of Diatomaceous earth around all the rest of my yuccas and so far it appears to be working, of course having no precipitation helps to not wash it away…a rare drought benefit. I think I will stick with this regimen for a while as I hope the Diatomaceous earth sticks to the noses of the weevils.

Check out Wizzie Brown http://www.urban-ipm.blogspot.com/ discussing the uprising of the snouts on a recent CTG episode, and thanks Linda http://www.klru.org/ctg/blog/ for the image credit on the show and your blog.

Moving on:


It has been a poor year for butterflies in the Patch, they have been few and far between. I did come across this Western Gulf Fritillary

Agraulis vanillae incarnata


this week on one of my yellowing rosemary plants. I leaned in close, hoping to catch a subtle breeze as it slowly fanned the surrounding heated air with the most amazing of wings.

More dead giant timber bamboo culms were felled this week…

“Thou shalt not pass!”

Talking of Gandalf the Gray,

he was looking a little dustier than usual so I swept off the cobwebs with an impromptu hosing…that took his breath away.

Evergreen wisteria continues to bloom as it has done sporadically since the spring,

and this purple oxalis hovering above a soaker-hose offers a welcome illusion of wetter and cooler days.

This brickwork is destined for removal in the fall,

Stop being dramatic William.

mainly for drainage issues. I have decided to continue the decomposed granite around this circular bed for better continuity.

Stock tanks are still providing color and 

the opuntia tree in my Hell-strip seems to raise up its paddles to gather in even more of the sun’s rays. This is one tough trio.

and fitting to finish on a Mexican fire bush.

Inspirational image of the week:

Here is another idea for a rather unique garden shed should you have the time and the wine.

Images credit : The Bottle Houses

Edouard Arsenault started collecting bottles in 1979.

In the spring of 1980, at the age of 66, he began his construction, a mere hobby yet. As his six-gabled structure was taking form, visitors started coming in. Impressed by his work, they encouraged him to continue and to advertise it as a tourist attraction. And so, in 1981, the first Bottle House was open to the public. From 1980 to the spring of 1984, he cleverly cemented over 25,000 bottles of various shapes, sizes and colors, into three fantasy-like buildings.

Stay Tuned for:

“Ashes to Ashes”


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

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1 Linda Lehmusvirta August 14, 2011 at 4:15 pm

Yahoosers for puppies! Not sure which is worse: the glitter event or when a pup scarfed up a pound of raw catfish waiting for the fryer. And on fried, yes, isn’t this a drag? Plants that have scoffed at drought before are hanging out the white flag. Great tip on the DE for the pesky snout weevils! And wow, what a gorgeous garden shed. Makes me want to go start one right now. Okay, off to find the corkscrew. . . .

Hi Linda.

Glitter, plastic parts, raw catfish…it is a wonder these animals ever make it to adulthood without some serious gastric intestinal problems!

This frying summer will for sure change all of our landscapes, I just noticed another blackfoot daisy has bit the dust and rolled over in my hellstrip, you know things are bad when this plant starts pushing up the other daisies!

The DE does appear to be working for now, I dumped a copious amount of the earth in circles around my remaining soft leafed yuccas – fingers crossed the trenches will hold and not be bridged…(I hear the dark lords are adept at constructing tiny wooden horse structures to circumnavigate such human defenses)).

Horse of Troy

How about that bottle shed, I knew we should have saved all of our wine bottles in the Patch and not just the corks…we could have built our own glass Taj Mahal by now!

2 Bob Pool August 14, 2011 at 9:01 pm

Things are looking bleak aren’t they? The Spanish Oaks are dying by the thousands out this way and the Cedar Elms are not far behind. If it weren’t for the pond plants I wouldn’t have very many blooms in my gardens.

I’ve got to get me one of those Wisteria. I love vines but have not had that good of luck with them.

Hopefully the dog problems will get better with maturity. My dog, Bonnie, had a puppy trip to the vet because she was eating coon and possum poop and got an amoebic infection. Two weeks later, another trip because she was eating grass hoppers and got a bacterial infection. Two weeks later, another trip because she ate a bunch of aluminum foil. She got a forced lube job on that one. Every trip was costing around a hundred bucks. There have been few problems since she matured though. Good luck with the poop that glistens.

Aye, bleak they are indeed Bob.

Sad on the Spanish oaks front, people tend to forget that the large, mature trees are really just big plants…they still require vigilance and liquid help in these trying conditions.

You should certainly give evergreen wisteria a go, it is a real trouper and once established it is one of those few plants that just glide through whatever the elements throw at it, be it drought or floods…perfect for Austin.

I am sure Kumo will grow out of this phase, and not soon enough! Puppies are severely lacking it seems on the common sense front. Ironically the B/Lady now screams at him to come over to her everytime we let him out…I think she wants some shimmering, fancy highlights in her stone hair?

3 jenny August 15, 2011 at 7:15 am

I would say that all in all things are looking pretty good at the Patch. I remember seeing that wisteria, flowering in your garden, and thinking what a stunning flower it had, even with the rather musty smell. Having a puppy around is like having another baby. Need to keep everything out of their way. Not easy with little tikes around.

Thanks for the encouraging words Jenny, plants are panting, coughing up dust and kicking the bucket on a now weekly basis…just got to hang in there for another month or so – you know how it is.

The evergreen wisteria is one plant I do not have to be concerned about though, thank goodness.

A puppy is totally like having another baby…hmm and I thought I was done with that. To be fair, Leah brilliantly takes on the brunt of the “nasty” work…I go “Ewww”! occasionally when a pile of glitter suddenly appears in the hallway…”Leah…Kumo has had another party in the hallway!”

I do not need to describe to you the resulting dark expressions that are thrown in my general direction :-)


4 Les August 16, 2011 at 7:14 pm

I will share a similar dog story. My old basset Otto once ate a whole bowl of Hershey’s Christmas Kisses. Fortunately the chocolate did not kill him, but it did make for colorful droppings flecked with red, green, and silver foil.

I hope your weather breaks soon. My boss was in Dallas two weeks ago for a Little League tournament. He came back full of gory details as to how the Texas summer has treated the landscape.

Hi Les.

It makes me happy that I am not alone in the fancy-dropping / turdy arena, I also find it quite amusing…can you tell?

Yes, conditions are rough in the Lone Star State right now and they look like they will continue to be quite crusty for some time yet, I am waiting for the first tumbleweed to blow through the Patch.


“In this world there’s two kinds of people, my friend. Those with loaded guns, and those who dig. You dig”.

Clint Eastwood
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

5 Pam/Digging August 18, 2011 at 11:05 pm

That’s what my cast-iron plants look like too. And a gum bumelia tree growing out of solid rock in the back yard. Sad. I do hope things can hang on until October — and that we get some fall rain. Don’t know if we can count on it this year, and now we’re moving into Stage 2 watering restrictions. It ain’t easy being a Texas gardener this year, isn’t it (cue violins)? If it weren’t for the snout weevils, I might go totally agave and yucca.

6 ESP August 19, 2011 at 10:44 am

And the cast-irons look rustier with every passing day.

Hi Pam, yes things are tough out there, I think the soil temperatures have officially risen to root frying levels. I have also heard from a few people that their fatsia japonica have turned into soot! Shocking I know. All my citrus are also now paling into a yellowish state of general stress, yes, roll on the fall and hopefully some rain.

Right there with you on the agave and yucca front, those evil weevils ruin everything.


Dr Evil

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