“Victorians Gone Wild”

by ESP on November 2, 2015 · 2 comments

 lily pad


“Evaluation, Mr. Spock.”


“Fascinating. I believe this is the early stages of the unfurling of a Victoria amazonica lily pad found in the still waters of all the great rivers of the South American continent such as the tributaries of the Amazon, Earth. The first published description of the genus was by John Lindley in 1837, along with his colleague he concl…”



“Yes, yes…but we need to know what it wants, what it desires…

why…why it has armed itself with rows…of defensive spines?”

defensive spines

“And why were people from the Victorian era obsessed with standing on them,


…a primitive teleportation device?

Spock I need answers!”


Victoria amazonica

This Victoria amazonica water lily stopped us in our tracks at the Hill Country Water Gardens and this is a small one! The leaves of the giant Amazon water lily can grow over 2.5m (8’) across.

To answer Kirk’s question, the sharp spines on the flower buds, leaf stalks, and underside of leaves are a defense mechanism for fish and other animals like chomping manatees.

The flowers of this water lily are pollinated at night by a specific type of scarab beetle (Cylocephata castaneal) in an amazing process…

Cylocephata castaneal

 photo extracted from ssaft.com/Blog/dotclear/

…this is how it works:

The pure white flower opens as a female on the first day – emitting a pungent pineapple aroma to attract the beetle.


The scarab leaps into the flower and is trapped in there when the flower closes the following morning. At this point the petals start to turn pink in color signaling that the flower is undergoing a rather quick sex change to become a male.

Now coated in male pollen the beetle escapes when the flower reopens, off it flies to another fragrant white female bloom (they are not attracted to male form) and so the pollination process begins / continues…amazing.


Aw come on!


Moving along…

Oh yes, I knew she was going to get me involved in the creation of her Fairy garden.

I just couldn’t stand by and watch her putting small stones here and there and then wondering why it didn’t look very good…

oh no, I was going to get involved.


It needed the structure of a large cedar stump, some outside illumination (naturally), a few metal insects (Thanks Bob),


and some rather large ‘mountains’.

The rest was up to her.






(Relatively) cold weather is my excuse to light fires and burn things.



It is their excuse to boil pots full of mystery gross things…


…and when fully rendered down attempt to get me to smell them.


“I don’t mind smelling it espatch”

Quiet Baldrick – no one is smelling anything.

DSC00528 2

I will leave you with a few shots of a garden I designed (over a number of years) and recently revisited in East Austin.

Here it is when I started:



This time I was brought in to remedy a bare-dirt / muddy area, solution?


Retaining walls, dry creek bed and lots and lots of rocks.


It was great to see how other parts of the garden were filling in.


Bamboo muhly softening up the pathways.


A nook.


This fig ivy was so tiny when it went in the ground I remember wishing it good luck…as in a sarcastic ‘good luck but your probably not gonna make it way’.


Stay Tuned For:


“Mountains & Meteors


All material © 2015 for eastsidepatch. Unauthorized
intergalactic reproduction strictly prohibited, and
punishable by late (and extremely unpleasant)
14th century planet Earth techniques.

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1 katina December 6, 2015 at 8:54 pm

Ms. P’s fairy garden is going to look spectacular – all it needed was a few bones.

Lets hope Kumo does not add one of his own.

2 Pam/Digging December 13, 2015 at 1:35 am

It’s good to see the family enjoying the garden, which is looking mighty fine, by the way. Another go-go sometime in 2016, perhaps?

Thanks Pam. I am in the process of doing some major structural changes in the Patch, a go-go would be fun…perhaps late in the year or the following spring.

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