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"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 $40...it 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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TM Garden Design

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( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 10th, 2009 03:04 pm (UTC)
Pam/Digging (http://www.penick.net/digging) says:

Oh no, why'd you have to tell me about The Great Outdoors 50% off sale?! I was driving by TGO a couple of days ago and thought I saw a 50% Off Everything sign, but I turned my head away and refused to look back. But now you've confirmed it, and I must go. In the heat. To look at plants. Argh.
Aug. 10th, 2009 06:02 pm (UTC)
Sorry Pam, it is tough I know, we all have to make sacrifices, we cannot turn a blind eye to these things, no pain, no gain... etc.etc.etc.

They still had a good selection of agaves and grasses, they were running out fast in the bamboo arena! Happy shopping!

Don't forget your "iced turban" Pam.

Edited at 2009-08-10 06:04 pm (UTC)
Aug. 11th, 2009 02:33 am (UTC)
Sure looks to me as though it's a different wold out there at the patch. Must be the brew.
Aug. 11th, 2009 03:08 am (UTC)
Hi RR!
I love to brew, and I make a nasty one! Lots of crawlers, lots of stink! My garden has been smelling like the Scottish cattle barns I used to play in as a kid of late. Strange, but I love that smell!
The brew seems to help the plants, but more importantly, it helps me emotionally, bringing back memories of wet days, wellies, and the damp smell of cattle, silage and crap!

Edited at 2009-08-11 03:11 am (UTC)
Aug. 11th, 2009 12:24 pm (UTC)
Hi ESP - I'm a gardener/client of pam's.... found your link off of her site.

I'm interested in adding bamboo to my backyard garden. How have you controlled your beautiful bamboo? I'm assuming they are runners, not clumpers. Where did you get your beautiful bamboo?
Aug. 11th, 2009 03:06 pm (UTC)
Re: Bamboo
Hi Chris, glad you found me.
The bamboo I have in the patch is nearly all clumping so no control required...just quite a decent diameter of space for them to grow into. The largest bamboo I have is Giant Timber then I have a few Mexican Weeping bamboos and a variegated Alfonse Karr. All are growing well. I got my Giant Timber bamboo,and Mexican Weeping bamboos from the Great Outdoors, the Alfonse Karr from the Natural Gardener. I also have black and golden running bamboos, but these I keep securely contained in large "Callahan's Store" stock tanks.
Hope this helps.

Edited at 2009-08-11 03:16 pm (UTC)
Aug. 11th, 2009 05:56 pm (UTC)
I'm so pleased you (and potentially Pam) are keeping on under these extraordinary circumstances. I am determined not to spend money on new plants while I can yet barely afford to water what we have in a way that will guarantee their survival. And there's the question another garden blogger/I wrestled with earlier today amidst generalized hand wringing. Which is more thrifty? Watering what I have or letting the thirstier plants go for now with plans to buy other new plants once it begins to rain again.

Because it will begin to rain again, right? (right???)
Aug. 11th, 2009 07:14 pm (UTC)
Hi TD.
It is a chore isn't it! It feels like I have been lugging buckets of water around for months now - It really is no fun at all doing anything in this heat. I have soaker hoses buried in all of the places I can logistically, it makes life so much easier.

I hear you on the watering vs new plant dilemma, but with 50% off, and being the certified plantaholic that I am,(I am in a program), that is just too good of an opportunity to not buy anything. The plants are also for the most part drought tolerant, they have to be it seems!

Keep those plants alive! Only a couple more months to go!
Aug. 13th, 2009 01:20 am (UTC)
I laughed and LAUGHED at the thought of your cat bronco-busting the white feral kitty! And then I laughed some MORE! That is something I would have paid real money to see...

I'm very glad to hear the Nanabooboos (remember, a slightly different spelling in my neck of the woods) are carefully guarding their territory - I'm sure the heat you are experiencing can cause unusual behavior, and I have heard that some members of satellite tribes have left their dwellings for the cooling embrace of modern pleasures, like ice cream and cartoons in air conditioned houses. Yours are obviously made from stronger stuff!

You lucky Austinites! You have the best nurseries! A nursery that you can get SMOOTHIES at? I'm lucky if I can get PLANTS at my local retail place, much less beverages. They do have a water fountain, but it only gives warm water. Ick.
I LOVE weeping bamboo, I just put in 5 and am wanting more. Aren't they just the most beautiful, expressive plant?
And I swear I could smell that stinky compost brew... good stuff for the fresh plantlings! I'm crossing my fingers that they do well!
It was fun taking a little bit of a field trip with you and your small Minions - stay cool in your frosty turban (I'd really love to se an image of that - is there one in your archives?)
Rainy thoughts,

Aug. 13th, 2009 02:24 am (UTC)
Hi Ivette.

My Cowgirl cat has to be one of the most ridiculous things I have ever witnessed - It was surreal watching it, my brain could not register what was actually happening! So, so funny. If I could have captured it on film I am convinced the footage would have won America's Funniest Videos. I still laugh out loud just recalling the mental image.

I have also had reports from a Nabooboo neighborhood watch group in New Mexico, they claim to have also seen members of the tribe becoming more "urbanized". It is quite a disturbing phenomena that appears to be spreading within the fragile tribal network. An unconfirmed report actually described one member (still adorning tribal attire), trying to order an iced latte using the traditional mouth clicks and gutteral whistle-snorts of their native language. I am just happy the central Texas tribes seem to be preserving a more traditional way of life.

We ARE lucky here in Austin to have some fantastic nurseries. I am sure they have had a gross reduction of sales the last few months due to our relentless drought - I am sure a lot of people have just given up planting anything, seeing their spring purchases go up in a puff of summer smoke! I have my fingers crossed for the weeping bamboo - I love this one also! I have four now, can you really have too many?

The compost juice is just the best, I get so much satisfaction brewing it and administering it. I also love the way it smells for a few days afterward...is that odd? It just smells like it is helping to sustain things.

I do not have an image of my iced turbans in my archives. My patent attorney advised me to get a major retailer to stock the product before I post images of this revolutionary, innovative East-meets-West design...:-) Kidding!

We actually got a thunderstorm, yes a thunderstorm this afternoon, not enough to make a dent, but hey it was weather!
Cheers Ivette,
Aug. 13th, 2009 03:34 am (UTC)
That picture of you is a little scary, like a wild eyed Kevin Kline. No wonder that cat is so spooky around the patch. And what is with the boy child having a full compliment of clothes. I guess you have to clean 'em up to take 'em out.

That has got to be the fattest anole I've ever seen. He's so full his back is humped and his belly is bulged.You take good care of your helpers, don't you.

I feel your pain on your nursery expenses. It's almost time for the big end of summer special at Forever Gardens, my closest nursery. I've never seen a woman smile so big as when Sandra sees me come through the gate. It's a sickness, I agree. I need counciling.
Aug. 13th, 2009 02:16 pm (UTC)
Hi Bob.

I told my wife about the wild eyed Kevin Kline, she cracked up.

It is rather unusual the hobbit was wearing clothes. It has been hot for so long I think he has forgotten what it feels like to wear anything garments at all!

It is funny but all of the anoles in that part of my garden are the same, fat and contented. They must be having a veritable feast on all the critters lurking around my two compost bins. They went on a feeding frenzy when I dumped this one out.

I have never been to Forever Gardens, I will have to check it out one of these days, perhaps I will ride up there and my massive mechanical spider!
I concur, it is a sickness!


Edited at 2009-08-13 02:21 pm (UTC)
Aug. 13th, 2009 03:39 am (UTC)
Darnit, I forgot to leave my name. It was me, Bob at Draco. There is so little of interest in the garden right now I'm writing about bugs. Thank goodness there are other interesting blogs to go to.
Aug. 13th, 2009 02:18 pm (UTC)
And what a bug that one was on your blog - it looks fake...Bob are you winding us all up with your whipping, lobstery-scorpion thingy?

It is just plain wrong!
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )



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