August 8th, 2009

"The Cat's Cradle"

Cradled under the safety of my variegated ginger, this cat is
extremely nervous of me and everything that moves in the ESP,
and for good reason. It does not belong to anyone but gets
food from everyone judging from the size of it.
I regularly see it at night, hunting in the Patch,
augmenting his diet. 

My now deceased cat was extremely territorial until she got
too old to really care, this cat was her living nemesis.

She once jumped from under this Douglas Fir 
onto the back of this cat and "rode" it all
the way down the right side of my
property fence-line. It was one of the funniest
animated things. 

What made it even funnier was the way my cat
was having to move "in the saddle", all jerky,
and un-natural, her head being thrown
around with every panicked stride
from her newly acquired furry "Steed".
She hung-on like a feline rodeo rider 
for a good five seconds.

Beauty and the Beast:

Bougainvillea Glabra is sometimes referred to
as "paper flower" because the bracts are thin and papery. I love the rice-paper
quality of these bracts, they look so fragile, yet they last for ages, on and off the plant. 
Bougainvillea is such a cheerful plant, it always reminds me of good times in Mexico,
where it grows in all colors, and is everywhere!

I used to have one of these growing over my front porch,
that is until I scraped my knuckle bone with one of it's hooked
thorns pruning it. It was painful for months. The thorns are
tipped with a black, waxy substance that I don't think helped... 
oh no, never again, it had to go, but it wasn't going without a fight.
Bougainvillea is one tough character to extract.

I am lucky in that my neighbor has a fine specimen
climbing up the front of his house, we see it everyday
through our kitchen window, it blooms continuously.
I love seeing it, I just don't want to deal with it.

My pampas grasses are starting to have that waterfall cascading look to them.
This seems to happen just before the blooms start to shoot up. I get lacerated
on a daily basis trying to turn on and off that faucet (visible in the right picture).
I have developed a sort of hunched over, backside out, shuffling technique to
limit the leg and arm thrashing this plant administers.

A small member of the Nabooboo tribe,
hiding in the grasses, recently shot a
dart in my arse thinking I was 
performing an act of tribal aggression 
with my rather unorthodox
"maneuvers" in and around this pampas.

Talking of unorthodox behavior, this massive giant timber culm is the
first one I have ever had that apparently struggles with the simple
concept of growing upward. The shrimp plant it is emerging from is
also doing well under the shade of a couple of large pecan trees and
a drip feed from a buried soaker hose.

The culm lurking underneath my mortared brick edging continues to
push north.. "Mind the gap" It has already loosened two bricks,
we will see if it has the strength to "break on through
to the other side".

"That was just bad man".

The Hoja Santa in the same bed is also bucking the Texas drought
pretty well. The foxtail ferns performing in the amphitheater   
Asparagus densiflorus 
are only just hanging in there, somewhat yellowed.

The Mexican bush sage,
yucca and bulbine never even break a sweat.

This trailing lantana needs but an occasional beverage,
this little bed gets a daily roasting.

Anything that was not drought tolerant has long since shriveled and vanished,
I have even lost a dwarf miscanthus this year, outrageous!
Apart from staring out of windows, watering and pulling the occasional
weeds (it is almost too hot for them also). I have tried to spend as little time as
possible outdoors, but today, everyone in the Patch began to show
distinct "cabin fever" symptoms. It was time to brave the elements,
and go OUTSIDE!

Cabin fever hits the patch!

We ventured to "The Great Outdoors" for a smoothie and a snoop
around the plants. I was not even considering purchasing anything,
but then one of the assistants had to say the four words I did not
want to hear..."Everything fifty percent off".
I trudged straight back to the entrance to pick up a cart.

Armed with our drinks we headed straight
over to the agaves via a short
stop at the bamboo section where I picked
up a weeping bamboo for $ does not
get any better than that!

Back in the Patch, and now thoroughly resigned to
spending quite a few hours in the blazing heat. I loaded up
a massive drinking vessel of iced water,
put an iced turban on my head and ventured timidly
out into the rays of the day-star to empty my compost bin.
The new plants will need all the help they can get after all! 
This anole was having a field-day munching on all the
bugs and roaches, he was shortly joined by two of
his friends. I decided to leave them alone to gorge
themselves in the fresh compost for a while. . .
I had a cauldron to get going.

I emptied my compost bin juice catcher to obtain a few pints of the good stuff.
I then added some sea-weed emulsion to this and diluted the "real ale" with
some water...a lethal growing brew.
One of the ESP witches looked on inquisitively at a distance.

I figured if any plants can make it, these can.
They all got a seriously good start with the compost and
stinky tonic water...more on these new additions later.

Other observations this week...
I know I promised not to post any more images of these,
but I lied.

This Sedum nussbaumerianum
continues to grow, albeit extremely slowly.
I really like this succulent and it's unusual mustard coloring,
great illuminated with a setting sun.

As are these purple fountain grasses
Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum'

Just one more!

And finally...

Crusty cone-flowers and burgundy cannas.

Stay Tuned For:
"The Ace of Spades"

All material © 2009 for east_side_patch. Unauthorized  intergalactic reproduction strictly prohibited, and punishable by  late  (and extremely unpleasant) 14th century planet Earth techniques.

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