“Between a Rock and a Hardscape”

by ESP on May 28, 2012 · 8 comments

Just when I thought this Nierembergia had as many flowers on it possible, it produced even more,

at the base of my sotol beanstalk.

A quick update on that beanstalk:

The top of it is now filling up with small flowers to be, and it is packed in there.

Sotols bloom once every few years and can do so multiple times during its lifespan. (Unlike Agaves it does not die after it has bloomed).  Also in contrast to Agaves and yuccas, lots of different insects pollinate sotol flowers, yucca are pollinated only by a moth

Tegeticula maculata

and agaves mostly by bats:


One lone bug,

on one lone Madam Ganna Walska flower in my feeder tank.

Staying with bugs for a moment, a couple of new ones were caught on camera this week in the Patch:

Coming in at the two inch mark and sporting a fine pair of fake eyes and some spray-painted coloration I give you the Click Beetle,

Alaus oculatus


As the name suggests these beetles “click” as a defensive mechanism. When threatened the beetle bends its head and prothorax backward then quickly straightens out with an audible click, launching the creature several inches into the air, though as you see, mine did not get very high at all. I won’t go into exactly how it does this for fear of boring you all to death but I will say this; it does involve prosternums and mesosternums…snort.

The next bug was very shy,

always maneuvering itself to the opposite side of the stem from the camera. I finally tricked it by coming at it with a stick from the opposite side with my camera lying in wait. 

Even then, it did not venture all the way around after seeing through my rouse with the most amazing planetoid eyes. This is a Fishfly which belongs to the Alderfly and Dobsonfly group of winged insects. It has most likely been feeding on the tadpoles and baby fish in my pond. Fishfly adults are a challenge to find because they are only around for a few weeks each year.

 The rather flamboyant B/Lady has recently started adopting a bug of her own…as a Bob “beauty-spot”.

 Moving along:

I have had a few more rock procurement trips this week with no further bog-encounters.

Some of these rocks have interesting features, this one may have a future life as a bubble-fountain.

as may this asteroid.

“There is absolutely no reason for public concern

Remember this:

Now Kumo…it appears we are all slowly turning into Mexican feather grasses.

“Mulder, Scully – you may want to take a look at this”.


Palm grasses are getting ever larger.

Evergreen wisteria is developing the first blooms of the year, you can see where I am going with the brickwork, it will continue under the bench and it will be sunken flush with the DG.

Mmm…smells like Grandmas old cashmere scarf…and I like it.

The appropriately named (size and markings) Tiger Swallowtail,

Papilio glaucas


this is a male on a stand of Buttonbush.

Cephalanthus occidentalis

This is one Hell-Raisingly unusual plant that is actually in the coffee family.

Stay Tuned for:

“Oops! I did it again”


All material © 2012 for eastsidepatch. Unauthorized
intergalactic reproduction strictly prohibited, and
punishable by late (and extremely unpleasant)
14th century planet Earth techniques.

Bizarre image of the week:

Brrr…(wakes up screaming in a cold sweat).

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1 Bob Pool May 28, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Wow what a load of rocks you got there. Some thing special about to be built in the Patch? Oh, I’m sorry, should I have asked for an interview first?

Congratulations on the Patch getting a little recognition. I didn’t hear any mention of the little people that live back in the nooks and crannies of the Patch. I guess it’s better to leave well enough alone, National Geographic would be doing the next interview and you know what a mess they would make of the Patch.

2 ESP May 28, 2012 at 9:20 pm

Hi Bob.
Yes quite a collection of rocks…lets just say I think my arms have stretched a few inches since last week, my knuckles now hug the ground, ape-like :-)
There is something special about to be started though it does not involve these limestone boulders…more later.
As you know, I try to discourage cameras (and filming) in the Patch just for Naboo liability “darting” issues.
National Geographic actually shot here last year (a segment about the evil snout weevil)…only the sound-man made it out my back gate alive, and you should have seen the horror in his face exiting…Brrr.

3 Cheryl May 31, 2012 at 8:41 am

Just how big IS that fishfly? Imagine, a fly that eats fish and tadpoles instead of the other way around. Thats amazing! Love your rock collection… those holey ones will make a cool water feature and the birds will flock to it/them.

Hi Cheryl.
The fishfly was much larger then it looks in the picture, I would say it was close to the two inch mark.
I cannot wait to turn that first rock into a naturalistic bubble fountain in a secluded spot somewhere.

4 Denise May 31, 2012 at 9:36 am

Wonderful post and a different look at your incredible garden via the video. How sedate you are on camera! — as a contrast to the antics on your blog, flushing out fishflies and such. Never saw a sotol in bloom before either.

Hi Denise.

Thanks and yes, being on the opposite side of the camera has a way of quickly changing one’s demeanor. I can honestly say when the camera started to roll, I was far from sedate :-)
The sotol will be blooming any day now, I will show more images of it as it progresses.


5 Gail May 31, 2012 at 11:50 am

Sedate. Hmmmmm :-)

You know me too well Gail :-)

6 Chris Giaraffa June 1, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Is your stock tank in full sun? part sun?
I’m thinking of getting one – to keep up with you and Pam! ha. I’m not sure where exactly to place it…. most obvious place will be in pretty big sun…. your thoughts?

7 ESP June 3, 2012 at 10:26 pm

Hi Chris.

My large stock tank is situated under my post oak tree, so it has quite a lot of shade. I do have to pick out a lot of leaves when the tree drops, but I do not consider this a major chore. It is no more of a pain than thinning out the water lilies that I need to do regularily at this time of the year and this material makes for some fantastic nutrient-rich compost-bin material. You should certainly introduce a tank! The increase in nature and insects is well worth the effort.


8 Pat Cheshire April 28, 2014 at 11:14 am

I live in the Texas Hill Country and probably have over 30 Texas sotols lining my driveway. last year many of them bloomed. This year not so many appear to be getting to bloom. Unfortunately, the deer eat them as soon as they start coming out of the plant. I notice this year that the center of the plants have a lot of white sticky looking stuff. Is this anything I should be concerned about?

Pat in Comfort, Texas

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