“Distracting Vampires”

by ESP on September 7, 2012 · 14 comments

If you don’t grow any vampire killing giant timber bamboo culms do not fear, all is not lost. If you suspect that a vampire is unfortunately stalking you silently in your own garden in the twilight hours you may need a diversionary strategy.

It is a well documented historical fact that the average vampire-Jo cannot resist the intoxicating damp-blooded visual appeal and aroma (they have an enhanced sense of smell you know, vampires that is) of a blooming Moy Grande Hibiscus,

Texas Giant Hibiscus


The largest flowering perennial rose mallow hibiscus in existence!

Plant it directly into water features at strategic corners of your pathways to distract your particular “Nosferatoe” http://www.eastsidepatch.com/2012/04/sweet-fairchild-of-mine/  from your pasty neck as you run, arms flailing and screaming,

into the safety of your house, just be sure at this point not to invite him or her in,

not that you would.

I treat my true-blooded jugular-safeguard as a marginal plant, semi-submersed in my pond in a large pot, it likes to have its feet wet.

“Oh come on ESP this was 35 years ago!”


The aquatic looking purple passion vine,

Passiflora incarnata!

a host and and nectar source for our

Western Gulf Fritillary butterflies, among others.

Ironically for this post, Native American tribes used to soak the crushed roots of this plant in drinking water to make a “blood tonic”. The plant was also used as a sedative to treat nervous conditions and hysteria.

I find this out now, now that school is back in session!

Thunder Cloud ™

Leucophyllum candidum


Reflective heat, Texas temperatures, this slow growing little plant can take just about anything except over watering. Make sure it is planted in sharp, fast draining soil and it will do the rest. Perfect for driveways, parking lots and those little sun-baked areas that nothing else will grow in and remain small.

A few more of these will be going into the Patch this fall.

Moving “sharply” along:

Pampas have started to bloom this week.  I used to have a lot more pampas grasses in the Patch but for arm and leg lacerating reasons (of which there were many) I am now left with this pink one tucked way up high on a mound.

This grass is not suitable for foot traffic areas (unless you are on a golf course where it is mandatory) but for secluded arching drama it does take some beating.

I think it is worth a bit of pain and suffering, well, at least with just the one plant.

“Ach, she canna take any mere satsumas ESP, look at the poor wee thing all buckled over with too many satsu….”

Okay Scotty.

They are starting to ripen, they are getting eaten, but they are starting to ripen.


Here are a few images that I have drawn up for a client who wants to remove a good chunk of their thirsty St Augustine lawn.

Inspirational Image of the Week:

Joanna Stoga, 1st Place, Portfolios. International Garden Photographer of the Year 2012 competition.

I will leave you to ponder…

 …Dynamic Architecture (Dubai)

Stay Tuned for:

“House Elf”


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

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1 Bob Pool September 7, 2012 at 7:46 pm

I would think that if you can get a client to let you show your unbelievable “images” they would be automatically agreeable to the job. They are just incredible and impress the hell out of me every time I see some.

Did the Texas Star Hibiscus have a lot of blooms this year? Ours has stayed blooming all summer, the first time for that.

Is it lonely with out the mini’s around, now that school is back? I would think

2 ESP September 7, 2012 at 8:08 pm

Hi Bob and thanks.
I hope to get going on this install soon.

This is the first bloom this year on my Star Hibiscus…yes it took it quite a while! Still, better late than never with a bloom of this size. Luckily I do not have an issue with the fanged folk personally…only the little ones with poisonous darts.

It is very quiet around the house without the halflings, well, at least it is until the postman arrives and Kumo has his customary conniption which in turn sets off my newly acquired facial tick and an aggressive scream.

3 Gail September 7, 2012 at 8:20 pm

I agree with Bob. Beautiful Star Hibiscus.

Nutsy Kumo! What (who) chases water with such energy?

4 ESP September 7, 2012 at 8:43 pm

Thanks Gail.
Hmmm, I wonder who :-)

5 Lori September 7, 2012 at 10:33 pm

Oooh, love those Thunder Cloud Leucophyllum. Where did you find yours? I need a few for my front berm where my ten foot strip of thyme is pining for the fjords.

6 ESP September 7, 2012 at 10:49 pm

Hi Lori.
Good question…I have no idea where I purchased my Thunder unfortunately. Please let me know if you find some and I will reciprocate. It is a fantastic little plant for the more parched areas of our landscapes.

I also have quite a few plants that are presently pining for the fjords…still, cooler temperatures tomorrow, just a few more weeks then true fall.

7 TexasDeb September 8, 2012 at 6:54 am

I’ll second the Thunder Cloud Leucophyllum love- though it could be just a little bit about the name. Think if we plant them in sufficient amounts they can call out their namesakes? I’d be tickled to hear a bit of thunder if it brought a good rain along for the ride. Short that I think even my tropical plants would be happy for a quick trip to the fjords these days.

I’m guessing Kumo recognizes either the sound of the bus or whoever’s car is responsible for re-delivering your wiggles each day after school. That must be almost as exciting as mail delivery day in and day out.

Finally, those drawings! So persuasive! Representing perfection as they do I am reduced to deep sighs upon viewing. For one of those to be applicable to my spaces there would have to be the addition of a smattering of dead stuff and a healthy sprinkling of noxious weeds throughout.

Hi TD.

Ahh for a bit of thunder and rain, still, got to be happy with a little drop in the temperature.

I have been trying to get a shot of Kumo for weeks, head to the window, one paw tucked up to chest, look of fearful expectancy on his face…”are they home yet, is that them?, Are they home yet etc, etc. Every time I reach for the camera he stops this look. I will catch it one of these days.

Glad you enjoyed the renderings D, are you suggesting that I should throw in a few icons that represent noxious weeds? :-)


8 Desert Dweller / David C. September 8, 2012 at 12:13 pm

As always, I crack up on the interspersing of Scotty, etc into the imagery and text…and it works. Amazing!

But more amazing is how some plants like pampas grass is doing there what it is here. Thanks for sharing the 3-D design renderings…as a jealous designer, I need to be doing those instead of by hand. But the hand sketching calls…

Hi David.

Scotty worked out perfectly, It is fun to find an image that is looking in the right direction and is adorning an appropriate expression.

I know it is officially fall when this pampas starts to bloom, that and the ripening of the satsumas and late fall when the cattails start to split…who needs calenders.

Thanks on the 2D that looks 3D front, I always start out with hand sketches until I am comfortable with a layout and “flow”…no work-flow is faster to generate lots of ideas than brain-sketch after all.

9 jenny September 8, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Fabulous designs and ‘want it’ ‘want it’ ‘want it’…. that Leucophyllum. You need to find out where, where where!

10 ESP September 8, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Hi Jenny.
It is funny, I was thinking of you when I was writing about this plant, wondering if you had it.
I am about to start scouring the nurseries again and will keep a look out. I also want a bunch more for a Patch Hell-strip mass planting.

11 Plant Stands September 12, 2012 at 10:20 am

Gorgeous Texas hibiscus and the purple passion flower is too weird and beautiful for words…hope they actually help control the vampire infestation.

12 ESP September 12, 2012 at 9:58 pm

They are my last resort.

13 Pam/Digging September 14, 2012 at 11:08 am

Cosmo chases water like that too — it is quite amusing how he snaps at the stream coming from the hose. That Thundercloud sage looks adorable. I’m wishing I had more sunny space so I could grow a few. But my sunny beds are so small that I guess I’ll stick with tiny purple skullcap instead — similar color but a lot less real estate. My clients are ripping out lawn too — very satisfying!

14 ESP September 14, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Hi Pam.
Kumo will do this until he vomits, it was funny at first now…not so much :-)
Thunderclouds on the ground, in the air, great everywhere. Now If only I could remember where I purchased it?
Yes, partial or total lawn removal is certainly on the rise, and I agree, very gratifying.

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