Post image for “Seeds & Weeds”

“Seeds & Weeds”

by ESP on April 11, 2016



Aw come on!

I think I can safely say I have had a few stray seeds blow in to this area of late…one has been especially prolific this year:


Wild carrots!


What I did not know until writing this post was that wild carrots

Daucus carota


are actually baby Queen Anne’s Lace plants, and the carrot / taproot is completely edible.


A word of warning though, Queen Anne’s Lace has a rather lethal doppelganger…poison hemlock, which if mistakenly ingested causes this to happen:


followed by immediate death.

How do you tell them apart?

Poison Hemlock

Conium maculatum



has purple or black spots on a smooth stem whereas Queen Anne’s Lace has a hairy, completely green stem.

In ancient Greece, hemlock was used to poison condemned prisoners.


He drank the contents as though it were a draught of wine.

The most famous victim of hemlock poisoning is the philosopher Socrates. After being condemned to death for impiety and corrupting the young men of Athens, in 399 BC, Socrates was given a potent infusion of the hemlock plant.

This account is only slightly disturbing! :

Coles’ Art of Simpling: ‘If Asses chance to feed much upon Hemlock, they will fall so fast asleep that they will seeme to be dead, in so much that some thinking them to be dead indeed have flayed off their skins, yet after the Hemlock had done operating they have stirred and wakened out of their sleep, to the griefe and amazement of the owners.’


Talking of feeding upon things,


when the loquats fruit like they have this year, it is a sweet bounty for all manner of creatures.

DSC01119Squirrels, birds, insects…

DSC01075we even jumped into the fray with a time consuming loquat cobbler.




This NERIUM oleander ‘Hardy Red’ has been blooming for weeks now.

 'Hardy Red'

It has grown so large with the rains that it is receiving a regular pruning to keep it from totally obscuring the sidewalk. I recently witnessed a pedestrian performing a sideways limbo to get past it from my living room window.

Right in front of the oleander I noticed this opportunist growing out of a crack in the concrete.


Staying in the front of the Patch,

IMG_0244bamboo muhly and soft leaf yucca make great companions.



Later in the day our front door burst open with a force that brought back odd memories,


“Dad, Dad quick, you need to see this!

Swinging around the front of the house he pointed skyward.

DSC01125A very large Great horned owl complete with glowing orange eyes and a storybook hoot.

mocking birdsI managed to get a couple of shaky shots in before a panicking pair of mocking birds, no doubt with a nest close by, started screaming and dive bombing the owl. It slowly turned and with a few beats of its wings it was gone.

Talking of wings.

small wings

I assume this Giant Leopard Moth (with not so giant wings) is in the process of metamorphosis?



I will leave with a recent design and installation I have completed.


This one had a significant slope to deal with and overall it felt a little claustrophobic due to narrow pathways and funneling gates. There were also some significant clumps of Nandina that were first on my list for termination,


followed quickly by the existing fence.


The front lacked order and getting from the front door to the side door needed definition.

Here are a couple of visuals I used to communicate the broad strokes of the design:



A ga-ga pit was introduced by the client becoming a main feature of the scheme.

Ga-ga is believed to have been brought to the United States by Israeli counselors working at Jewish summer camps. It was played as early as the mid-1960s. Children often learn about ga-ga through summer camps across Canada and the United States, with varying sizes and shapes of pits…let the work commence!










Determining position and scale…framing begins and area is prepped.


The final pit surrounded by Oklahoma flagstone and varying sizes of river rock.


The front steps were taken out and replaced with a wider solution.


Where the red chairs are I introduced a small gallery deck for the ga-ga pit – visually tying the two structures together and expanding the front porch.


On the right side the driveway was widened and a new limestone dry-stack retaining wall constructed.

retaining wall


Stay Tuned For:

“The Mona Leveridge”


Mona_LeveridgeAll material © 2016 for eastsidepatch. Unauthorized
intergalactic reproduction strictly prohibited, and
punishable by late (and extremely unpleasant)
14th century planet Earth techniques.



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