“Anchor’s Aweigh”

Prolonged rains this week in the Patch, and do we need them!

My “everything but the kitchen sink” rainwater collection “system” is fully replenished once again

…and the stock tank sea has been boiling up a “Perfect Storm”.

[warning Billy over the radio] Billy? Get outta there! Come about! Let it- let it carry you out of there! What the hell are you doing? Billy! You’re steaming into a bomb! Turn around for Christ sake! Billy, can ya hear me? You’re headed right for the middle of the monster! Billy?…

RIP Billy.

Remember this? : http://www.eastsidepatch.com/2010/07/%E2%80%9Cgarden-coffins%E2%80%9D/

As you can see we went out to our halfling-friendly restaurant the other day and, well, I just had to take another shot of the sarcophagus planter, it is a tradition at this point after all.  As I walked up the strip-mall pathway toward this morbid scene I thought to myself:

“what if I rounded the corner and was suddenly confronted by an inviting and lavish planting scheme (complete with jungle lighting and piped-in tree-frog croaks”)? Imagine what a great post and ending to this sad saga this wou…as my mind contemplated these odd thoughts my body rounded the now familiar corner…

…nope, there it still was, in all it’s “Bela Lugosi” glory, long dark shadows crept up the surrounding walls as I walked toward it.  I couldn’t help but subtly lean over the concrete edge to see what I could see. I did notice that there had been some significant “shuffling” of plants since my last visitation, the shards of broken terracotta pots had actually been REMOVED! Eeek Eeek Eeek!

Once inside the front doors of the establishment all darkness and morbidity immediately lifted, the spell shattered.  After the customary family seating kerfuffle there followed some obligatory dough capers which were coincidentally in-keeping with this posts watery theme. She was Squidward apparently, and he was a pirate, obviously. I ordered the crab cakes, naturally.

Moving drizzling on:

These wet Crepe Myrtle trunks look like they have been varnished,

as does the leaves on this loquat, that is starting to set fruit.

This patch of

Hedera colchica

‘My Heart’

or Persian ivy is threatening to consume one of my decomposed granite pathways, a good looking plant in the winter rains. I am not sure what is going on with that draping agave americana? Or is it a large crustacean?

Another great “all year rounder” is rosemary, this one blooms more than any other in the ESPatch, if only I had kept this ones name tag all those years ago!


Bauhinia corymbosa

or Phanera as it is commonly known, is one of my favorite evergreen vines.  It has attractive and unusual foliage with small orchid-like flowers and unique 2 lobed leaves that give a clue to the plants placement within the pea family.

This plant is cold and drought resistant, though a good soak in the middle of summer does make it look more luxuriant. This visually fine textured vine makes a great trellis subject but looks even better when allowed to grow up, through, and on other coarser foliaged shrubs and trees. I allow this one to grow up a loquat on one side and a larger conifer on the other. Unlike other vines Phanera does not look ungainly even when it gets large. Another one of these will be going in the ground come spring.

Dwarf miscanthus also looks great at this time of year, it’s brown hair streaked with purple, and who can beat…

…the explosive qualities of a sotol to warm you up on a cold and wet winter day?  I keep this one pruned up so that it is easier to maintain and to stop it draping over the adjacent plants.  The aloes on the left have already flushed with frost damage.

All this water talk made me want to re-run the “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” series once again, just in case anybody missed it the first time around…no?

Stay Tuned  for:

“Walking On Thin Ice”

All material © 2011 for eastsidepatch. Unauthorized
intergalactic reproduction strictly prohibited, and punishable by late  (and extremely unpleasant) 14th century planet Earth techniques.

  • Diana January 16, 2011, 11:22 am

    We did need the rain — and it does transform the garden into something unrecognizable sometimes! Your Americana Agave does look a little withered, but everything else still seems pretty green. I’m going to have to check out that Phanera — I don’t know it and am in search of evergreen vines — but not a house-eating monster, mind you! Stay dry!

  • ESP January 16, 2011, 11:53 am

    Hi Diana.
    We did indeed.
    I did not even notice how flat that Americana was until I saw it on the photo! Between ants and now whatever this is, It seems like I am not having much luck with this agave at the moment :-)
    Phanera…great vine, highly recommend you try one, and let me know where you find one! I got this one years ago from the BRSun.

  • jenny January 17, 2011, 9:09 am

    Some months ago some friends and I went to dinner at “the sarcophagus” restaurant. I recognized it as soon as we walked in there and joked about your post. You should have dropped off your plans at the front desk! Mind you, that spot barely sees the light of day.
    Gardening around a sotol is no fun but I’m glad to see your has maintained its singularity. Mine started sprouting all over the place and lost its shape. I got ‘somebody’ to take it out and literally threw it on the ground outside. It quite happily took root. Once again it is the wrong place.
    Love the Bauhinia vine and he tell tale cloven leaf structure as well as the orchid like bloom. Must check out at the nurseries.
    Are you sure you’ll be able to keep all that water? Seems to me I remember a young man who doesn’t like to see containers full of water and he grows stronger every day!

    Hi Jenny.

    Haha, I was wondering when someone would figure out what “the sarcophagus” eatery was! Yes not much light at all under there, it would be a challenge to say the least. How about a some cedar carcasses?…They would look great on top of the sarcophagus with some creative / warm under-lighting…I need to stop thinking about this area :-)

    Very funny on the sotol front, curious, how old was the one with the multiple trunks? I love sotol, and planted four more last year including the twisting variety. They rank up there with mountain laurel on the painfully slow to grow front! Okay, not quite.

    Bauhinia is a reliable trooper and so different looking then a lot of vines, if I remember correctly there was a San Marcus nursery that was carrying them? If you find some snag one for me too!

    He does indeed grow stronger, and so far so good on the full pots and pans water front. I think I have told him a few hundred times not to dump them out, perhaps something has finally sunk in?


  • Cheryl January 17, 2011, 9:23 am

    Wow. George Clooney AND Crepe Myrtles in the same post! What’s not to love about that? :>) I’ll have to remember to check the loquat trees here… I have no idea (memory) of when ours start setting fruit. The squirrels harvest the crop before I realize there was a crop. We’re on about our 5th day of non-productive fog here. Ugh and phooey!

    Hi Cheryl.

    Sorry to hear you are all fogged-in, (sounds like good Scottish weather). We are all over the place at the moment…rain, rain, cold, then sunny and warm today!

    We usually have good crops of loquats, perhaps this will be the year we actually use them? We usually just pick the ripe ones and snack on them on the spot.
    Clooney AND Crepe Myrtles?…settle down Cheryl!


  • Toni - Signature Gardens January 17, 2011, 11:17 am

    Were you out in the pouring rain taking pictures of the stormy seas?? Such dedication. Love the look of the sotol. Just wish it weren’t so wicked to the touch.

  • ESP January 17, 2011, 10:22 pm

    I was indeed Toni, the life of a garden blogger is sometimes fraught with peril, as was my camera. I am convinced that I am unconsciously trying to kill it, with it’s ancient 5x zoom…the button to take pictures no longer even works, it goes off when IT decides to…must keep clicking, must keep clicking, mus…

    Cannot beat a sotol for a spiky arc of drama, they are the best. Keeping them pruned up dramatically helps reduce the amount of arm flogging and flesh-loss. (Insert Hannibal noises here).


  • Bob Pool January 19, 2011, 10:07 pm

    Oh that wonderful rain. Now if we could just get some more later on. I shouldn’t gripe as all eight of the 3000 gallon cisterns are full. Come on drought, I don’t care now. I still think you need to think more on the tank fence idea.

  • ESP January 20, 2011, 7:12 pm

    Hi Bob. All hail Tlaloc!
    24,000 gallons! Err Bob? Are you SURE you have enough rainwater?
    Yes, the tank fence…I need to talk to you further about this at the next “you know what”.
    The carcasses look amazing, now I need to take a trip to Miguel’s to obtain a couple more gazing balls to top them off…thanks so much!

  • Les January 22, 2011, 7:21 am

    It’s a shame that rain can’t be parcelled out over the whole year so you have it when you need it and not when you don’t, but nothing is ever perfect, in the garden or otherwise.

  • ESP January 23, 2011, 11:11 am

    It is indeed Les! Wait though…if you are Bob at Draco Gardens you can!

  • jenny January 24, 2011, 3:13 pm

    You know something? It’s only the likes of us that like cedar stumps and agaves. Most people seem to want the green and lush look.

    You have that right Jenny!

  • Laura January 24, 2011, 6:39 pm

    That looks like quite the downpour! We’ve been getting it good here too. That’s not too surprising for B.C in January. It does make me ache for spring though! Great imagery as usual! You are incredibly talented, your posts always spark my imagination!

    My blog has moved, stop by for a visit when you get a chance! http://www.FlorabyLaura.ca

  • ESP January 25, 2011, 11:08 pm

    Great new site Laura, very clean!
    I have added you to my blogroll…and thank you.


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