“Poppy Patch”

Poppies are popping at the front of the patch.

Some are so dense I have had to thin them out to allow light to reach my Gaura lindheimeri (whirling butterfly) plants, that were in danger of being engulfed by the waxy red explosion.

Ripping at the seams!

“The poppies are really putting on a good show this year, look Ben.”

“Don’t you think I can see them with these eyes of mine Penelope?”

Everything is mounding up pretty well in the ESPatch this spring…the burgundy cannas are on the move and the Mexican feather grass is already in its prime, they are already full of seed pinnacles…

Forests decay, harvests perish, flowers vanish, But grass is immortal.” – John J. Ingalls

…they looked spectacular the other day with the wind ripping through them,

and then the setting sun igniting them.

The spring stragglers are my Barbados cherry that is slowly greening up (center left) and my Mexican lime tree that so far only has two small green sprigs on it’s lower trunk.

My artemisia is also filling in quite nicely, that is the greener variegated variety (front right) that I am keeping a close eye on…it has spread significantly since I first planted it, but for now I will let it run wild up the slope.

“We’ll build dwarf palmetto spears, twice the length of a Naboo man…Hold, Hold, Here they come lads, Hold, HOLD, Here come the snails, HOLD.”

“Don’t be ridiculous William”.

I do not think I have ever seen so many snails in the ESP!

The inland sea oats have risen at an alarming rate…

…I have been spreading my sea oats all around the patch for a number of years now.

Is he serious Barb…Nicky…Margene?

While we are on the topic…

When I opened my compost bin today I was emphatically greeted by a cloud of these, they were tiny, in fact when I first leaned in to take a look I thought it was only one insect.  I was shocked to find these “push-me-pull-you” escapades going on with almost all of them…soldier flies gone wild!

Hermetia illucens Linnaeus

Black soldier fly

Moving on…

Why the faces?

Well, I was weeding with my youngest hobbit, who has a hard time discerning what is a plant and what is a weed, when I glanced over and saw this little morsel of fun…

Oh yes, I had to do it, I don’t know why, I never seem to learn, a word of advice…do not prod the unknown!  From a distance it looked like it had a “shell” of sorts on the outside, but oh-no how wrong I was.  My finger sunk into the martian spore like it was a marshmallow…shocked I retracted my finger (which now had a glob of the martian-mallow stuck to the end of it)…and yes, you all know what was to happen next.

“No don’t do it, don’t even think about it!”

Ahh, but I was about to, and I did, and I immediately regretted it, yes, as if my last post was a prequel to my current predicament, I made a really bad choice and smelled my own finger. Oh like you wouldn’t!  Oh you wouldn’t?

From my kneeling position my body went into an irreversible backward arc.

I narrowly avoided taking my hobbit along with me in the recoil.

My over the top reaction naturally captured his full attention, he loved it.  I ewwed, he ewwed, the adjacent Botox lady ewwed,

Photo from: “The Pygmies Plight”, Smithsonian.

And a Naboo member prodded the spore with a rather small stick.

He thought the stinky martian-mallow was the best and hunkered down over it for a front row seat waiting to see what would happen next.  And apparently he wasn’t disappointed.

He let out a fit of squeals and giggles as I “smeared” the spore like rotten margarine with a piece of pine-bark.

The smell?…well look at this thing, I will spare you a detailed graphic description.

Something a little more refreshing to cleanse the pallet…

Santolina chamaecyparissus

A small flowering plant native to the Mediterranean area (flowers are yellow and daisy like), santolina and artemesia are two silver plants that hold up well in our Texas summers, though in my experience santolina is just a little more fickle. I still have to have it dotted around. Unlike artemesia it grows very slowly, at least it does in the Patch. How does it grow for you?

Ivy thicket, pruned up agave and an attractive hose!  I am trying to establish three more ivy beds like this under the deep shade of my large Post Oak tree, it will take a few more years.

This Threadleaf ragwort or (and I hope I have this right)

Senecio flaccidus

is a native of the southwestern great plains of North America, and a member of the daisy family.  I have three of these and they all look like this right now, a great sprawling plant when planted up against boulders.  It has a faint copper canyon daisy aroma.

Stay Tuned for:


All material © 2010 for eastsidepatch. Unauthorized
intergalactic reproduction strictly prohibited, and
punishable by  late  (and extremely unpleasant)
14th century planet Earth techniques.

  • Pam/Digging April 9, 2010, 4:21 am

    I see that bamboo is irresistible for carvers. The Naboo have been busy again! (Love that picture)

    At first glance I thought your Senecio flaccidus was damianita, but I see now it lacks the stiff shrubbiness of that little native. Yes, my santolina grows very slowly too. And I have that variegated artemisia in a stock tank and am now terrified of it. It has sent runners all around the tank in an attempt to burst free, and it’s popping up all though the tank bed. Good heavens, to think of it unleashed in the garden gives me the chills. You’re a brave man, but at least you have the Naboo to defend you if need be.

    Hi Pam.
    The Naboo are always busy carving something, a large (1ft) carved bust of Spock of all people greeted me the other day as I rounded the corner around a large rosemary. They have carved “The East Side Patch” on each of my giant timber bamboos in the far four corners of the Patch, I think is a territorial warning to other tribal factions that may be planning an attack. I just hope they will behave themselves when the tour descends on the Patch.
    Yes that variegated artemisia looks like a bit of a bully at the moment, I will see just how far he goes in the next year or so, and deal with it accordingly (crazed “Here’s Johnny” expression).

  • Cheryl Goveia April 9, 2010, 5:13 am

    Wow, the patch is looking lovely. Artemesia is like a weed in my yard. I cut it off, scrape up the stem and shove it in the ground. It does a little fainting trick for about a week, then takes off. Love, love your blog!

    Hi Cheryl.
    Thank you, thank you!
    Yes I have done and witnessed exactly the same fainting trick on the new mounds in my front garden…I had about a 70% success rate for the cut off stems living. I thought that pretty good going considering the sad soil they were all poked into, more like construction slag/clay then soil. Got to love the resilience of artemesia! My wife just threw a glance up to the heavens when she realized what I had planted. (She thinks I have too much already)… “Oh no I say” in my bad ancient Greek accent.

  • Les April 9, 2010, 5:19 am

    I have seen all kinds of critter habitat boxes, but never a lizard box. I don’t grow Santolina, but my mother bordered one of her gardens with it where I grew up in zone 7 of Richmond, Va,. It did just fine, but after several years it would flop over exposing an ugly brown underside. She never cut it back which is probably what it needed. I always thought it smelled of Listerine mouth wash.

    Hey Les.
    I was making my rounds just to see how many of my nest boxes were inhabited when I discovered the anole couple living in marital bliss in their “new wooden dream-home”…they must think they have really scored! It will only be a matter of time before they put up an elevated white picket fence and attach a postal address.
    Santolina does get like that, and it takes a long time to bounce back and thicken back up after it has been pruned…listerine you say? I will check on that tomorrow.

  • Laura April 9, 2010, 9:51 am

    Your garden is looking amazing! What beautiful Poppies. I’m looking forward to when mine bloom!

    Thank you Laura. I tried to identify the different types of poppies but gave up, to many subtle differences! I thought my time better spent on the martian-mallow :-)

  • Jenny April 10, 2010, 8:40 am

    The patch is looking absolutely magnificent. Those Mexican feather grasses. What have you been feeding them? It is just April. Are you sure they won’t take over and grow as big as the bamboo? The photo of the poppies is an absolute winner. Are those a different kind from the pink poppies, They are such a pretty clump.

  • ESP April 10, 2010, 9:48 am

    Hi Jenny.
    The Mexican feather grasses have me totally confused also. They look as if it is September? And they all have seeds? What is that all about, any ideas? Space / time travel? Wormhole in the fabric of space perhaps?
    I have no idea about poppies or their names! This is a really nice clump. I have another one just starting to bloom in my front bed.

  • Nicole April 11, 2010, 12:34 pm

    Glad to see your garden just taking off. The poppies and grasses look great.

  • Diana April 12, 2010, 9:07 pm

    The feather grasses have loved the weather lately – they look lovely this year and make a wonderful outline for your paths. Love the lizard box and the Artemesia…but the spore thing…only one word: Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. Seriously. Gross. Seriously gross. And now I am going to have nightmares — either about that, the mating bugs or the Naboo. Take your pick…it’s gonna be a rough night after all that!!!

    • ESP April 13, 2010, 9:05 am

      Hi Diana.
      How about that martian spore! It ranked up there with the stink-horns for a thing you do not want to encounter while in the garden…of course I had to prod it! Luckily you are never too far away from a pond in the Patch. Ewwww indeed. I have some more nightmarish material in my next post, just to ensure insomnia.

      The feather grasses are amazing this year, I think I am going to even more soon after all of these have seeded, which they are doing right now. My pathways may turn into feather grass walkways, mmm…now there is an idea?


  • ESP April 13, 2010, 8:58 am

    Hi Nicole.
    Yes the Patch has taken off the last couple of weeks or so…and so have the weeds! Still hoping my Mexican lime tree makes a return from the dead, fingers crossed.

  • ESP April 14, 2010, 5:42 pm

    Matt in Austin April 14, 2010 at 4:03 pm [edit]

    Great photo of the Patch! I especially like the circular bed at the bottom. What all is planted in there? I can see Four Nerve Daisy and a Prickly Pear (I think).

    Thanks Matt, welcome to the Patch, and yes you are correct on your ID…there is also a central sotol, a yucca, even a single strawberry plant in this bed…the purple and pink flower name escapes me, but it is from home depot and it never stops blooming or spreading. This circular bed has sort of developed into my test bed / holding bed of sorts and it is always in flux. This will all change though as the sotol matures and prevents access. The rocks are Texas holey rocks.

  • noel April 18, 2010, 1:30 pm

    aloha again,

    i love your photo clip/line with the big love cast-that is a truly classic line (what do you think barb, nicky, margene?) …i love it!

  • ESP April 18, 2010, 5:16 pm

    Aloha noel.
    I do not think I have ever used the cast from big love in any of my posts until this one. Now the Waltons?…Hundreds of times!
    Thanks Noel.


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