“Test of Courage”

by ESP on April 28, 2013 · 8 comments


It seems to have been a long spring this year and we have been making the most of it spending as much time outdoors as possible before the tigers

ruin it all, and they will.

Especially with our recent downpours and now greenhouse-like conditions.


Taking advantage of these final relatively bite-free days, we have once again been busy breaking open geodes, as you do, snort.


We got lucky with this one.


This is “Natures Treasures” in Austin, they have a large selection of rocks, crystals and minerals…a color and texture for every plant, planter and container.


It is one of their favorite places to shop, I cannot believe we all have punch cards.

Armed with buckets they run around gathering different colored raw rocks that will be later smacked with a hammer and tumbled.


On our return trip home I spotted this century plant,


these are beginning to bloom all over Austin right now. Someone had recently hacked off this ones lower limbs in preparation for its imminent demise and subsequent nasty stinky rotten messyness.


You’re okay Kumo.

On a smaller scale this Yucca Recurvifolia


is putting out the first flower spike of the year, offering protection for this lacewing:

Yucca Recurvifolia

Moving Along:

I have a couple of these Star Jasmine ‘Star of Toscane’ scrambling up a 10ft high section of my bull-wire fence. It is evergreen, richly fragrant and hardy.

'Star of Toscane'

But the best thing about this plant…

…is how it looks against our house and trim color. The dark green leaves punch out the gold tones of the flowers.


I expect this fence to be completely covered next year.

Staying with vines for a moment, this is another great plant when you can find it,

Bauhinia corymbosa

Orchid Vine or


Bauhinia corymbosa



Fatsia Japonica gets very happy with some additional moisture.


Pittosporum tobira



pruned up, looks like a miniature big tree.

I think I can say this bed is officially out of control:


As are these oxygenating pond plants,


I always have to thin these out after their initial spring fling.

Reaching into the uncharted murky depths of my pond is not for the feint-hearted, oh no,


it is a test of courage.


I am just happy that it was my daughter’s hand that came up with this bloodworm stuck on the side of it.

blair witch


On that note,


Stay Tuned for:

“Brains”…Case Closed!


All material © 2013 for eastsidepatch. Unauthorized
intergalactic reproduction strictly prohibited, and
punishable by late (and extremely unpleasant)
14th century planet Earth techniques.


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1 Jenny April 28, 2013 at 6:27 pm

Gorgeous first shot. Whoa, that is a super geode. Never heard of the rock shop. The grandchildren might like to go there. Ours geodes never had anything in them. The orchid vine is lovely. Star of Toscane is a perfect match for the house. Must check it out. If you are cleaning out those oxygenating plants I know a tank that would love some. I don’t have enough covering the surface and have algae. let me know when you do the job.

2 ESP April 28, 2013 at 7:05 pm

Thanks Jenny and yes a super geode…finally! Most of them are just solid or have just a few pale lame crystals.
Yes definitely check out Natures Treasures http://www.ntrocks.com/ it is worth a visit…make sure you go outside and onto the next building (it is not clearly marked), the grand-kids will not be disappointed.

Both of these featured vines have done very well in the Patch…nice looking too.

Those oxygenating plants are unfortunately already in the compost bins, but I am sure I will have a second harvest soon :-)

Algae is always an issue this time of year as the water warms up, also the Gulf Coast toad-spawn does nothing to alleviate the already murky situation. I have used this product for years, it is great for clearing cloudy water and eating sludge: http://www.microbeliftstore.com/home/ml1/page_6/microbelift_pl.html
I have just ordered another gallon of it myself.

3 Lori April 28, 2013 at 9:32 pm

Oh my god, bloodworms are a THING?!!!!!!! Your pond scares me. Have you ever stumbled upon mysterious hooded figures surrounding your pond in the dead of night, chanting incantations? Maybe that would explain the unique fecundity of that particular pool of water in your backyard. AHHHHHHH.

4 ESP April 28, 2013 at 10:56 pm

I adorn a hood “in the hood” occasionally Lori, though my hood is more of a turban just to freak out my neighbors. I believe it is working, although my chanting and ‘make the water clear again’ incantations I am sure, leave a lot to be desired with my UK accent.

Bloodworms are nasty but really good to have in your pond apparently as everything feeds on them…if only they looked a little better.

5 Gail April 29, 2013 at 8:12 am

What a magnificent prize for the kids to find in the geode!

Also, I want some of those yellow jasmine vines. Lovely.

6 ESP April 29, 2013 at 8:34 am

Hi Gail.

Yes they were very excited when it split open, so much so we spent a few hours yesterday watching other people breaking their geodes on YouTube…zzz

Yes the vine lives up to its name.

7 Katina April 29, 2013 at 12:12 pm

GAH! Bloodworms are a thing? Are they like leaches or something? :::shivers:::

8 ESP April 29, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Yes they are I am afraid Katina.

No, just worms, like in the ground they are a good sign of a healthy ecosystem, they feed on decaying organic matter and sometimes roots of floating plants and fingers. They also apparently have a ‘bristle-like’ mouth (err..brr) that looks really scary when viewed under a microscope.

Like I will be doing that any time soon.

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