“The Haunted Garden”

by ESP on September 22, 2011

“Ah, ha ha ha ha ha, look at your garden now ESP, even the ghost plants are dying…Ah, ha ha ha ha ha.”

Oh very funny Ernie.

Oh wait they have!

This used to be a proud stand of

Graptopetalum paraguayense

here it is in the good old days when we used to get rain:

and here they are now looking like the Fallen Trees at Tunguska:

Another one bites the dust…and another one down, another one down…blah,blah,blah,blah,dust.


From ghost plants to ghost ants…

Really, these are ghost ants, 

Tapinoma melanocephalum (Fabricius)


they have clear abdomens and turn the color of whatever they eat.


In Malaysia they are known as “corpse ants” because of the unpleasant odor they secrete when crushed.

There are an increasing amount of corpses down at the bottom of my garden, I am sad to say that my already large compost pile has got a little larger of late, especially considering that I only hand water once a week at this point,

a fact that this gopher plant did not seem to care for one little bit.

The cactus man even needs a little eye moisturizing lotion at this point, his pained expression summing up the summer.  I won’t even mention how the Botox Lady’s appearance has deteriorated in the heat….

Shocking, I know.

As you would expect, the cactus man and his family are weathering the dried up tide well.  Look at his head now…quite surreal.

It is interesting that his cousins located in my hell-strip appear a lot more stressed out than him…

…so much stress in fact, that veins are now standing out on the shrunken paddle heads.

It appears that even opuntia is not totally immune to the effects of our prolonged drought and our 2oooth consecutive days of above 120 degree temperatures…well that is how it feels. [Insert the general weather moaning you are accustomed to here].

Now this could make for a terrible camping accident.

Even this pine cone cactus seems to be conserving its energy, very little new growth this year.

Yucca and sotol are still looking good, they are the stars of the drought, though I have noticed some whitening of the leaves…it is not the weevil…it is not the weevil…it is n….

I rather like the new look.

This is one severely parched Patch. I really need a substantial nursery trip to fill in all my bare areas.

But I will wait, bide my time…

just a little longer, (drumming fingers) until our hot weather dissipates once and for all.

The front of the Patch has received only a couple of waterings over the last three or four heated months, a true testament to some extremely adapted-tough and native plants.  It has done relatively well with only my gaura and artemesia, oh and some blackfoot daisies and the odd loquat kicking the dried-up bucket (though I have not fully given up hope for my artemesia Powis Castle just yet).

On a lighter annoying note:

My Mexican feather grasses are looking really good now, especially flattened in front of one of those bare patches I mentioned.

 Oh and do not get me started on this mess again, this is only a weeks-worth of squirrel-nut debris…deep breath…and relax.

I recently came across these detailed illustrations by Si Scott Studios.…amazing detail:

Stay Tuned for:

“Counting Sheep”


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!

Previous post:

Next post: