“Holey Bridges”

by ESP on April 15, 2014 · 3 comments


Feather grasses in their prime.


Majestic little grasses that dance on a whisper of a breeze…


…of course for most of the year they suffer from bad-hair days and debilitating dreadlocks, but for the few weeks they are in their prime, they are so worth it.


Not looking so good back then!

There is something much much worse than bad hair days that can afflict this grass.

Oh yes,

we have all witnessed it…

…too much shade,

(+ a massed / commercial planting…naturally).


I see it all the time, usually at stop-lights as I am thinking about something really nice. My eyes will unconsciously wander as I am thinking about getting a morning:


perhaps even a slice of lemon cake?

MmmMy premature emerging grin immediately mutates into a

feathergrass as the shady scene registers.

Brown matted feather grasses laying flat to the ground.

Did I already say they were flat to the ground…and matted, and brown?

The people who plant these grasses in these understory conditions must be suffering from some form of…



Chrysactinia mexicana


Oh yes they are completely chrysactinia!

Chrysactinia mexicana

This drought-tolerant, evergreen shrub packs a ton of amber punch combined with great aromatic and very green foliage.


I pair it in the Patch with purple heart for striking color contrast, it is one of my favorites.


My post oak has a canopy of fresh green leaves.

It has never looked so good.

I cleared out the cast-iron plants that were smothering the flare of the trunk about 6 months ago and the tree has responded in kind,


perfect for shading our annual botanical gurning competition.


This year’s trophy and cash prize went to this Jerusalem sage flower head.

Moving Along …

We tracked this black swallowtail caterpillar


Papilio polyxenes


from a tiny speck on some fennel to the full-grown and very animated and grumpy looking toxic beast seen here.

A gentle prod reveals the osmeterium, a forked glad that secretes a foul smell.



butterflyCheckered Whites have been appearing in the Patch this week, their eyes blend right in with the artemisia.

More whites courtesy of a soft leaf yucca,


this one has two flower stalks.


The flowers had a bunch of ladybugs on them.


This one was obviously performing some ancient Maori dance.

Staying with the natives,


The treacherous bridge over this holey rock is used by the little folk as a major trade route saving a two-day excursion around the perimeter of the rock.

It is rumored that hideous subterranean creatures live in the dark depths of the cavern.



You just had to go down there…didn’t you ladies!

Talking of horror…


Stay Tuned for:

“A Very Big Mistake


Back_GardenAll material © 2014 for eastsidepatch. Unauthorized
intergalactic reproduction strictly prohibited, and
punishable by late (and extremely unpleasant)
14th century planet Earth techniques

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1 TexasDeb April 21, 2014 at 7:14 am

We do share certain fondnesses… Damianita, check! Feather grass, check! Ladybugs, check and double check! I’ve been stalking a profusion of sphinx moth caterpillars here. Their stripes and color patches are similar to the swallowtail but run horizontally rather than vertically and they’ve been happily munching away, turning primrose futures into moth futures (so to speak!). Say – do your natives perform rain dances on demand? I’d be happy to chip in!

We do indeed Deb…and lets not forget the oleander ;-)
Not sure if the Patch natives do anything on demand, I am just happy that incidents of cannibalism appear to have diminished of late.

2 Katina April 24, 2014 at 11:43 am

Wait – did you redo the hardscape by the grill since the last time you had bloggers over? I swear it didn’t have the pseudo-swirly concrete (I assume, may not be) portions…

Well spotted Katina…it was always there, I recently gave it a good clean and now you can see it once again.

3 Diana/Sharing Nature's Garden May 5, 2014 at 7:42 am

Your feather grasses are stunning. You’re right – it is absolutely the best time of the year for them and I wish they’d stay like this forever. I lost a lot of agaves this year, too, including my giant franzosini. I replaced it with a whale’s tongue that will be more cold tolerant and won’t make 10 new pups a week!

They looked great for a few weeks Diana and I agree, if only they looked like this all of the time! Bamboo muhly has better aesthetic longevity.
Cannot beat the whale’s tongue for form and presence.

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