“Pick, Pick, Picking”

by ESP on May 11, 2013 · 4 comments

Pennisetum setaceum

There is nothing nicer to come home to than a roaring pennisetum fire.

Pennisetum setaceum


‘Fireworks’ (Variegated Purple Fountain Grass)


The mid-vein is the typical burgundy color, it is flanked by red-pink margins. New growth on the grass is much brighter than regular burgundy fountain grass, as the plant matures the foliage turns darker until both plants look very similar.

This one is now in its 3rd year.


Being in Texas I cool mine down with some santolina ice.



Here are the standard purple fountain grasses (Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’) with darker coloration.

I said Rubrum!


All these grasses are supposed to be annuals, but they usually return here in Texas. The dark foliage makes a great backdrop to brighter plants and foliage.

Talking of fireworks, these Jewels of Opar, ‘Kingwood Gold’

Talinum paniculatum

are putting on a fine display in my small circular bed.

Talinum paniculatum

Small pink flowers quickly turn into thousands of ruby spheres.

foliage A great plant to brighten up a shady spot, but beware,


it seeds readily in every nook and cranny. I have not had a problem controlling the plant though, I just pop out any plants that I do not want.


Behind the jewels there is all manner of horticultural pandemonium going on, larkspur, hoja santa, wild sunflowers with


ridiculous tiny heads, I have had larger 4 nerve daisies than this!

I really wanted to pull these before they developed a large root system but they were covered in ladybugs and a host of other insects. A gold finch stops by regularly to hop around on its lower branches to feast.


Everyday I see her pick, pick picking on them.


Moving Along:


This Duranta erecta ‘Sapphire Spears’ never seems to stop blooming. The plant did not die back last winter so it is already around 8ft tall, the plant can double this height under the right conditions.




What is that smell?


“It wasn’t me!”



Imagine a large bucket full of rotten eggs and “trapped wind” (UK), cover the bucket with Saran wrap and allow to fester in the sun for a few weeks. Take off the Saran wrap, toss in a few more ‘unmentionables’ then open bucket in a semi-enclosed environment, say a back deck. This would approximate the stench of a freshly opened bottle of Microbe-Lift.

It even makes the shipping packaging reek!


Usually really excited when we get any box in the mail my son got a rather ‘rude awakening’ with this particular parcel which, once past the cellophane exterior, was enough to send anyone’s gag reflex into overdrive.


Oh yes it is bad, I mean really bad, but with small bunches of oregano stuffed in each nostril (I will spare you this photo…watch out for the stalks), a few glugs of this organic stuff is extremely effective for removing algae and improving pond water quality,


and do I need it.

A combination of rising water temperatures and an over-abundance of tadpoles from the gulf coast toads always produces this murky soup around this time of year and if it is not addressed, fish will start a-floating.

Now that the


has been solved, it is time to move on to those peculiar hanging ropes on the bottom of datura seed pods?



“Watson, kindly remove this datura strand, we have work to do.”


King Tut Papyrus headdress.


Dull days…in May!


Arizona ‘Blue Ice’ Cypress


Stay Tuned for:

“Fly Away Home”


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 gail May 11, 2013 at 8:15 pm

It’s nice to see Miss P is dressed appropriately in sequined skirt for the pick, pick, picking and the Kumo kissing while sitting with alien son. Fashion in the patch.

2 Desert Dweller / David C. May 13, 2013 at 8:11 am

Cooling down w/ santolina ice…I need to steal that (borrow with proper citing, of course), for future design application. Never thought of santolina as cool until now! Hola from wayyy south Austin for a day or two more…

3 ESP May 22, 2013 at 7:44 am

Hi Gail.
Yes, she always dresses ‘appropriately’ for work in the garden. Her outfit this day made her look like she was part of this planting bed.
Kumo can keep his kissing to himself :-)

4 ESP May 22, 2013 at 7:46 am

Hi David.
I have posted another fire and ice combo in my latest post, I think it is my favorite to date.
Hope you had a nice and successful time in Austin, sorry to have missed you.

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