“The Incredible Bulk”

by ESP on November 27, 2011 · 15 comments

Oh yes, I think I can officially say that I am ready for our bulk pick up to happen, as I am sure my neighbors are who have had to unfortunately look down on this rather hillbilly scene for the last few weeks.

“Dang, squirrel! And darn.”

I am convinced that these pallets are procreating, they have to be. There are definitely more stacked up with every passing day.

There are also more of these bog cypress leaves in my pond every day along with those strange unidentified “brains” I keep reporting and wittering on about. Today we all banded together to get to the bottom of the mysterious brains…today the experiment started:

I went into my shed and grabbed my white lab coat and notepad while my halflings got busy picking some of the larger specimen brains out of the pond.

There were some beauties…

…”Ack ack ack ack-ack”!

We placed the brains with their brain-stems facing down in a pot (it seemed logical), filled it with soil and returned the pot to the pond.

I will report next year, or as soon as something emerges from the damp soil.

All this talk of brains quickly turned to zombies,

Though to me he looked a lot more…

“Village of the Damned” than zombie.

Brrr…Moving On:

These suspended milkweed seeds were launching themselves in all directions the other day with our recent freshening breezes.

I snagged some and planted them in the ground in an attempt to increase their chances of germination.(snort)

Other notable events in the Patch this week…

Flowering loquats are covered in honey bees and my satsumas are the size of grapefruits.

This little tree only produced two satsumas this year as it focused all of its energy on staying alive during this summer’s drought. 

Here is the same tree two years ago with over a 100 satsumas on it (and a lot more rain).

Yucca filamentosa looks like the morning after a serious party, especially when backlit from a wintery sun. The leaf margins carry numerous white curled filaments which catch the light, hence filamentosa. 

Also should you find yourself out in the wild and cold, the flowering stalk of this plant is an excellent wood to use to make a friction fire because the wood of this yucca has one of the lowest temperatures for catching a flame. And, should you also be getting a bit funky in the odor department, the root of the plant can be shaved and used as a rudimentary soap to wash yourself, your clothing and hair.


Here is a festive winter ground-hugging planting combination:

Santolina and plumosa fern.

And here is the latest addition to the Patch:

Ramie is one of the oldest vegetable fibers and has been used for thousands of years. It was used in mummy cloths in Egypt during the period 5000 – 3000 BC, and has been grown in China for many centuries. Ramie 

Boehmeria nivea


is commonly known as China grass, white ramie, green ramie and rhea, it is one of the group referred to as the bast fiber crops. The ramie plant is a hardy perennial belonging to the Urticaceae or Nettle family (leaves are a give away), which can be harvested up to 6 times a year.

I have no experience with this plant in central Texas…do you?


I never really know what to expect when I look in my rear view mirror, in fact most of the time I try to ignore what is going on back there in an attempt to keep my blood-pressure from elevating. But these distinguished “gentlemen” were sufficiently ridiculous, it warranted a reverse in-car shot.

He was to be appropriately known as professor “Mad-Pants” and she, for whatever reason, became professor “Toddy”.

“Carpe diem”

Professor Toddy taking a leisurely and reflective fall stroll through the campus grounds and some waning purple fountain grasses.


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 Caroline November 27, 2011 at 10:51 pm

Lovely visit to the Patch, as always! Love the shots of the milkweed seeds taking flight, and the purple fountain grass. Can’t wait to see what the “brains” morph into.

2 cheryl November 27, 2011 at 10:52 pm

Love those milkweed seed photos! It will be so interesting to see what comes up from the planted brains. Your kids and puppydog are just too cute for words. Tomorrow I will have to see if my loquats are blooming…………. providing the fog isn’t too thick… ick.

3 ESP November 27, 2011 at 11:02 pm

Hi Caroline.

Nice to have your visitation :-)

Those milkweed seeds were the highlight of the week, well, them and the professors.

I am also very interested as to what the planted “brains” will yield, they have been a mystery to me for years (insert dramatic 2001 music here).


4 ESP November 27, 2011 at 11:12 pm

Hi Cheryl.

I just hope I am not putting my family (or humanity) at risk by planting the “brains”…I would hate to be responsible for more of this nonsense:

I wish you luck in the fog.

5 Gardenista November 28, 2011 at 1:55 pm

I was so happy to hear bees buzzing around our loquat blooms this year as well. Last year was a total bust fruit wise – hoping for better this go-round.

Brrraaiinnnsss. They certainly look like they’ll grow something. I can’t wait to see your photos of the Emerging Whatevers…

Will you be using the ramie for its fibers some way? Are the leaves reactive do you think because if they are maybe I’m trying it around plants I want the deer to stay off!? Great grasses in the sun shots ESP – I think they may be your second specialty – the one appearing on the list right after the “professor” shots.

6 ESP November 28, 2011 at 2:37 pm

Hi TD.

Yes it is looking better for some loquat fruit this year, what do you do with yours?

What are those brains? I never see them growing, or dropping into my pond…they seem to just appear out of thin air! I look forward to solving this mystery once and for all, in fact I am already checking on the little pot on a daily basis…it is also an exciting experiment for the kids.

Ramie is new to me – really great leaves and texture…Hmm what to mummify? Ramie requires chemical processing to de-gum the fiber, quite a complicated process apparently, so no, I will not be weaving anything out of it anytime soon :-) It would be interesting to see if it is a deer deterrent, you should try some, though it is a perennial.

I have a great west-facing orientation in my back garden, perfect for back lighting ornamental grasses.



7 Annie in Austin November 29, 2011 at 11:51 am

Your Patch does look like fun, ESP… but Toddy? Sounds like you were watching old Brit musicals …. or maybe Victor/Victoria!
One loquat is in full bloom here, too – sooo many bees of all sizes and so much fragrance. My tree usually makes a lot of little loquats but they seldom make it through the freezes so we’ve only tasted a few. That doesn’t bother me too much but even 2 satsumas make me jealous!
The 7 satsumas that were on our young tree in June were gone by the end of August… critters ate them, every one.

Wikipedia says ramie was used for Egyptian mummies… makes it seem perfect for your garden!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

8 ESP November 29, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Hi Annie.

Very funny on the “Toddy” front, yes it was a very odd name she came up with.

Loquats struggled through this summer, I lost a few but then I also lost some copper canyon and blackfoot daisies. Luckily I have a lot of loquats around the edge of the patch and yes how the bees go after their blooms.

I had a lot of flowers on my satsuma early this year, but only the two pulled through two set actual fruit (both on the same branch)…weird. We will be tasting them soon.

Ramie is perfect with its mummifying attributes for the Patch…If I ever learn to make cloth with it, I could perhaps utilize it to construct some summer turbans. Now how fitting would that be :-)


9 Daphne December 1, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Can’t wait to see the brains in full bloom!

10 ESP December 1, 2011 at 3:38 pm

Hi Daphne.
You think they will bloom? Do you know what they are?

11 katina December 2, 2011 at 10:42 pm

Congrats on your Gardening Gone Wild Photo Contest Win!

12 ESP December 2, 2011 at 11:41 pm

Hi Katina.

I am not sure if I did / have won a silver…a little bit of confusion.

but thanks either way :-)


13 Michael - Plano Prairie Garden December 4, 2011 at 12:52 pm

Is it possible that the mysterious brains are the fruit from your cypress tree? They bare similar looking cones. My second guess is that they are alien growth pods.

14 ESP December 4, 2011 at 2:58 pm

Hi Michael.
They could indeed be from the cypress, though I have never seen these on the tree. I think your second guess is probably more likely.

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: