“Fly Away Home”

by ESP on May 22, 2013 · 6 comments


I relate to the futility of this scene at the end of Saving Private Ryan every time I position myself by the side of my Bermuda-grass-infested barrel cactus with my large pliers in-hand. I have learned my lessons painfully over the years and found this to be the ‘almost’ perfect extraction tool.

I say ‘almost’ as you can never actually defeat the roots of this grass by pulling at them.


“We will fight Bermuda in the berms, we will fight it in the planting-beds, we will fight it…etc.”

Propped up against my satsuma tree, thoroughly defeated (and usually wounded myself),


I feel like repeatedly squirting a water gun filled with ‘RoundUp’ at it in a last ditch attempt at conquering my enemy, but of course that would be futile and only result in killing the cactus.

My only tactic at this point, as it has been for years, is to inhibit it spreading.


“Aye, extracting the grass from the barrel cactus killed me son…but your gloves are new William. Have the courage to use them…

wait, are you asleep?”


“That is a bit of a stretch even for me ESP?”

Don’t you have some bugs to jump on?


Dramatic Anole?

Moving swiftly along:


Here is another great full-sun, fire / ice combination, the view from my front window.

Nerium oleander ‘Hardy Red’ and  ‘silver king’ artemesia.

Remember all the pick, pick, picking?

Well there has been a lot of developments on these wild sunflowers over the past week.


They have grown, a lot.


Standing proud now at about nine feet tall with small flowers they will make a complete mess when I finally extract them, but for now they are home to many creatures.


Of course there are these, (don’t think about the proboscis, don’t think about the proboscis, don’t th…),


and plenty of these.

Ladybugs, (or ladybirds in the UK), lay their eggs where there is a plentiful supply of aphids to feast on, the ants appear to like them too.

The whole ladybug development cycle was visible on these sunflowers:


Ladybug Larva




It takes a few days to turn red.


No Bear, it has not ‘ripened’!





 Jerusalem Sage,

Phlomis fruticosa


continues to put on a fine display, as do the Jewels of Opar:


Here is a shot of the tiny flowers mentioned in my previous post.



Inland sea oats developing seed heads, and I promise the last shot of this duranta, for a while.


Stay Tuned for:

“Two to Tango”



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1 gail May 22, 2013 at 9:35 am

Life-cycles….lucky kids!

2 ESP May 22, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Hi Gail.
Yes, they have had a lot of fun watching all the changes taking place on these sunflowers. I had no idea they consumed each other.

3 Bob Pool May 22, 2013 at 10:56 pm

I have a couple of the huge sun flowers myself. The stalk is as big as my arms.(guns) It will take a back hoe to dig them up when it’s over.

One of the little foam paint brush thingies dipped in weed killer and brushed on the grass will work when it is close to your desirables. No, not those desirables. Don’t tell Meredith you use weed killer, she has already chewed my butt out for using it.

Hi Bob.
I would never go anywhere near my spiky desirables with a brush loaded with RoundUp :-) It is just too risky, if some accidentally got onto my barrels (ahem)…it would be a total disaster.

4 Jenny May 23, 2013 at 10:19 am

That sunflower is a great teaching tool. Cilantro was my nursery this year, and there were hundreds but haven’t seen one adult in weeks. Where do they go? I will allow only one native sunflower this year but am pulling every other. They will suck the life out of the bed if I don’t.

Hi Jenny, it really has been. I just hope the ladybugs hang around for a while, – they do have a habit of vanishing don’t they!

5 Cheris May 23, 2013 at 2:53 pm

Violet & Graham laughed at that video for hours. Although, the white cat freaked them out a bit.

6 ESP May 24, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Hi Cheris.
My kids were also obsessed with the dramatic cats and yes, that white one definitely wins the prize.

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