“Notre Dame it’s got Cold”

by ESP on October 7, 2012 · 4 comments

One final fling around the water park before the cooler temperatures descend over central Texas.

A water park that comes to life with an amazing light show as the sun goes down.

There are also lots of plants providing great fall color in the Patch,

they may be leggy (pruning negligence on my part) but these Mexican Leucantha still pack a snaking purple punch.

Salvia and the first celosia seed heads are starting to form,

these will be turning little fingers pink when I bribe my halflings with some extra allowance to harvest the seeds.

Thryalis is also putting on a fine performance at the back of my post oak,

head high, they are attracting shiny tiny hover flies / flower flies.

Allograpta obliqua

Flower Flies resemble wasps and bees. Despite their tribal markings, they are totally harmless and beneficial pollinators of flowers.

The larvae are also partial to aphids.

There are a lot of yellow flowers currently in bloom, it has been a bumper year for bitterweed all over Austin this year. Bitterweed is a yellow-flowered annual weed that thrives in poor soil and turban defying Hell-strip temperatures. Bitterweed poisoning is a major problem for sheep in the Southwest, it is a member of the sunflower family and is closely related to Colorado rubberweed both in appearance and in the rather nasty effects it can have on sheep if ingested. 

Luckily for me, I do not have any sheep in my Hell strip, an occasional lost chicken perhaps, but no sheep. I like the free-form meadow aesthetic this cheerful plant creates and it works well set against a backdrop of bamboo muhly, another Hell-strip veteran.

“The bells, the bells…Esperanza.”

One more that is in the process of turning yellow:

Satsuma. The fruit this year are particularly large. I wonder if this little tree will beat the previous fruiting record of 97 set in 2009?


There may well be a blogging competition in here; guess (or be the closest) to the exact number of satsumas? And no, the winner will not inherit our house elf.

Other things observed this week:

Bluebonnets are on the rise,

and the mysterious “brains” have been spotted, floating once again in the pond.


Interestingly these have not yet “grown” the disturbing spinal column that I usually see dangling on the underside of them.

This just in…

Remember this?


Well at the persistent and repetitious “aww can we go to that new place, you know the one where the other one was, can we?” monthly monologue from my elder halfling, we finally broke down and took her to the newly reopened restaurant. I say this somewhat lightheartedly as I really had my own hidden agenda for going there, and it wasn’t the food.

I wanted to see for myself if new ownership had decided to tackle the now infamous, sarcophagus restaurant planter.

And to my amazement they had!

I got out of our vehicle, heart pounding, and rounded the familiar strip-mall corner (mild panic attack) only to come face to face with a healthy and centrally planted loquat…a loquat! Squeals ensued followed by a considerable amount of shushing and hand waving on my part in case the front of house was listening to us just inside the establishment doors.

A pleasant end to a rather long, drawn out story I thought to myself, then I remembered the The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and started craving shellfish.


I will leave you with some before and after visualizations of the latest ESP design:

A silver and gold approach eats into the hell-strip, widening and softening the property entryway. Two ‘blue ice’ cypress sentries stand guard flanking the gate.

The small box store pond was not at all fitting with the scale of the grounds, it was also situated opposite the front door, a natural entry-place to the garden. I replaced this with a wide and inviting limestone edged pathway that draws the eye down into a seating area and up around the second tier planting beds.

Here is the left side of the same bed with a meandering pathway leading up to a second tier shade bed.

Here is something to sleep-on courtesy of my friend Bob over at:  http://dracogardens.blogspot.com/

Sweet dreams.

Brrr…and a bit more Brrr!

Stay Tuned for:

“Fantastic Mr Phlox”


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intergalactic reproduction strictly prohibited, and
punishable by late (and extremely unpleasant)
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1 Toni - Signature Gardens October 8, 2012 at 11:17 pm

Okay. Can we order up a cordyceps fungus for fire ants and grasshoppers? Very freaky! Coveting your salvia leucantha! Quite spectacular, leggy and all :-)

Hi Toni.

I watched a documentary on fire ants only last night on Netflix “Fire Ants, The Invincible Army” they are amazing little creatures and I had no idea that the colony can float, move and survive on water for days.

Got to have leucantha, great for humming birds also, I look out from my computer table and get a great up-close show.

2 Heather/xericstyle October 9, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Oh my – our kids would FREAK if we took them to that water park! It looks so fun :) bitterweed!!!!!!!!!!!! We camped at inks lake last week and most all the way from San Antone to the park we saw that yellow flower blanketing the fields….I was wondering what it was – thanks ESP!

Hi Heather.
This water park is one of the best and at this time of year, with it getting dark earlier, the halflings get to play around in all these colors after the sun sets.

Bitterweed is everywhere this year, and the best thing about it? You never have to buy any. I have seen numerous Hell-strips covered with it, the blooms lasting ages.

3 Cheryl October 9, 2012 at 8:13 pm

OMG! Kumo’s eyes! Hilarious!


4 Bob Pool October 10, 2012 at 10:50 pm

I swear man, you have got the computer garden design thing down. Those, for a better word, renderings of what the garden will look like are simply amazing. I am just so impressed with them. Your designs are wonderful as well.

I hadn’t thought about the water park and how that boy would enjoy it. The way he likes water, it has got to be his favorite place to go in the whole world.

The Naboo must have drugged your dog to make him get zombie eyes like that. I would keep an eye on him to make sure he doesn’t attack you in your sleep while you are growing horns and mush rooms.

Hi Bob.
These “in-situation” renderings really do help the homeowner to visualize what the final design is going to look like when mature, a lot of people struggle with plan views. They also help / force me to mentally work through the area / space, which really helps with the design process, proportions and install.

The water-bug loves this park, he gets in there and runs around muttering and grumbling to himself. Lets just say he goes straight to sleep as soon as his head hits the pillow every time we go.

That’s not our dog, it’s our house elf! Oh and Brrr.

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