“All Quiet on the Eastern Front”

” I must get out there and keep weeding”.

“Relax ESP, your tour of duty (ahem) is over,  you must rest now”.

Phew, what a crazy week it has been in the ESPatch.  I have actually been watching all five episodes of the Rime of the Ancient Mariner back to back as a form of deep relaxation and depression educing therapy to bring me down to earth a little. As readers, you will be drawing ever closer to the dramatic finale yourselves with the forth riveting installment at the end of this post, I can sense your anticipation.

First there was the build-up to the Conservancy tour, the grueling midnight weeding shifts that involved Davy lamps, loincloths, and copious amounts of mosquito spray (FYI: the Naboo insist on this attire for anyone in the Patch after dark). Then the tour itself happened, what a mad day that was. I cannot remember a time I have talked for so long, by the end of the day I was sounding like:

Marty Funkhouser.

We had a really good time on the tour and thanks so much to all my Patch helpers, and all who visited the Patch on the day.  You can read some great accounts and see some pictures at the following links, if you haven’t read them already. I think I took only two pictures the entire day! :


And here:


Thanks Pam and Rock Rose!  If you couldn’t make it, here is a rather wobbly walk-through of the Patch just before the gates were opened. Oh come on Mr circular-bed Sotol! You can grow faster then this!

My daughter sold enough limonada on the big day to purchase a toy she has had her heart set on for quite some time:

These little bundles of fur are called Zhu Zhu pets and when you first meet one they seem harmless enough.  We naturally had to purchase two of them to mitigate a potential war breaking out between our two hobbits.

“They can take oor’ lives, but they will never take oor Zhu Zhu pets”

Have you quite finished William?

They make cute snuffling noises, roam around freely and have character shifts when different accessories are attached to them, naturally. Oh yes, initially they seemed like a perfect non-real pet…no mess, no hair drop…but then the realization of the purchase kicked in, the snuffling noises, the squeals, oh the repetition.

I sit here typing on my laptop with two of these creatures running circles around my feet, their chirps and snuffles long having lost their appeal . I am now seriously resisting the urge to get up, get my metal shovel from my shed, and…well, I will leave the rest up to your imagination…I’ll give you Zhu Zhu pets!  (I wonder how long their batteries last)?

A couple of days after the tour we had the friendly crew from the Gardener’s Supply Co come over to the Patch.

They spent the day setting up and photographing planted window boxes on the outside of our house for their catalog. After they had left, we found the fantastic surprise they had left for us near my back deck…

I could not believe how many plants they had left us!

My daughter and I have a long history of:  “Daddy, why don’t you ever buy pretty plants with flowers?” “Well, I just prefer foliage plants, that’s all.” “But daddy why don’t you…” and on and on this monologue usually continues.  Imagine her surprise when she was confronted by this scene as she went down the back steps, she could not believe her eyes.  Her expression says it all.

Guess who was thinking more about the box that the plants came in?


Yes, between obnoxious Zhu Zhu’s and garden tours and photo shoots, it has been a busy time in the Patch of late to say the least,

even this Texas spiny lizard seemed more immune to foot traffic and the camera after the tour and shoot, allowing me to get in closer then usual to this extremely shy creature. This was the largest one I have seen to date.

This plant most certainly got a lot of attention from a lot of people.  I cannot tell you how many times I said celosia on the day.

The seedpods are now huge, and visually striking set against a backdrop river of artemesia…jumping salmon!

Bluebonnets are also popping up in the Hell Strip. (Thanks once again RR).

I will finish with a couple of shots of the Salt Lick, an infamous Texas barbecue destination. They have recently opened up a side garden and wine tasting house on the property, selling wine, cheese and pate’…

The central fountain is surrounded by gaura.

A huge stand of lantana and numerous roses and salvia line the perimeter of the garden

Inspiring Images of the week:

Peter Allen is the Marketing Director for UC Santa Barbara’s College of Engineering and Scientific Illustrator/Animator for Engineering and the Sciences. As a pre-medical student at UCSB he got his start doing hand drawn/painted cel animation for Developmental Embryology tutorials in 1984.

His subject matter can range from tau protein mutations in Alzheimer’s disease… to tuna fish. Using protein recognition software and numerous scripts and tricks to get the biological and chemical structures into Maya and Mudbox ready for rendering, or traditional modeling and texturing for the more playful artwork that he does in his spare time.

Drum-roll please…as promised, here is the latest installment of the…

Stay Tuned  for:

Pumpkin “Patch”

This was more fun at stop lights then an iced turban in the middle of summer!

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

  • daphne richards October 23, 2010, 7:18 pm

    fabulous! always love to see what’s going on in the patch. had a great time chatting with folks at your place during open days. can’t believe you had another huge event so soon after the tour! but it really was quite perfect timing—all the prep work from the tour carried over—two birds with one stone and all that!

  • ESP October 23, 2010, 7:28 pm

    Hi Daphne.

    Glad you had fun in the Patch, and thank you so much for your help on the day.
    It was perfect timing for the photo shoot and they were such a nice bunch of people…and all of those plants!!!
    I have been in a planting frenzy since they have left. I have got all of the plants that were not annuals in the ground, lets just say the empty side of my Hell-Strip is not so empty anymore. Very happy.


  • Pam/Digging October 23, 2010, 7:58 pm

    How nice to receive so many free plants, plus a gift certificate I assume. Fantastic! Your tour was fantastic also. Thanks for the link to my post.

  • ESP October 23, 2010, 8:14 pm

    Hi Pam.
    It really was a great surprise to get all of the free plants, they are also going to send me a couple of window boxes to re-use the holes that they drilled into the house. I told them not to be concerned drilling the holes, after the Chevy Tahoe incident, a couple of small drill-holes are nothing! I think I will be filling my future window boxes up with succulents and small cacti in preference to colorful annuals though…well, you know me :-)

  • Bob Pool October 23, 2010, 9:57 pm

    Wow, free plants, the best kind. I’m sure your ready for a little r&r and didn’t plan on having to plant a bunch more plants. But, free plants are free plants.

    The pictures of the Porter Weed are up on my blog. I remember you were interested.

  • ESP October 23, 2010, 10:27 pm

    Hi Bob.
    They are indeed, and yes I was not quite ready for another planting frenzy, but who am I to grumble! I will be popping over to Draco for a look at that Porter Weed immediately!
    Thanks for helping last weekend Bob.
    Did you get your Bob yet? :-)

  • Amy October 24, 2010, 6:27 am

    It was wonderful to see the East Side Patch in person last weekend! With all its great plant and object groupings around every garden bend. And I’ve gladly added celosia to my plant vocabulary. Thanks for being on the tour, and for answering my planting in decomposed granite questions. Speaking of, I’m off to weed mine now…

  • ESP October 24, 2010, 8:27 am

    Hi Amy.
    Thanks for dropping by the ESPatch last weekend and for recounting the experience on your blog. Did I give you some celosia seeds on your visit? I gave out so many seed heads, I now have no idea to whom! Anyway I hope you got some. I am about to head out and start my first day of seed gathering myself to sow for next year. Thanks, happy weeding.

  • Linda Lehmusvirta October 24, 2010, 1:49 pm

    Thanks for a fabulous tour! And congratulations on the Zhu Zhus. Oh boy, I think I must have one now. Maybe I can set up a limonada stand.

    And I envy you getting ahead of the weeding. I think the rest of yours got scared and came over to my house in the meantime.

  • ESP October 24, 2010, 7:33 pm

    Thank you Linda for helping out on the day, oh and do not get me started on the Zhu Zhu’s, you are quite welcome to adopt the two we currently have rummaging around under foot in the Patch :-)
    I have not been able to pull a single weed since the tour or even clean up the mess my pecan trees have made…I must be burnt out!!!

  • Toni - Signature Gardens October 26, 2010, 8:48 pm

    A much-deserved break should be on your agenda! Cool on all the free plants!! I’ll have to check my Gardener’s Supply Catalog for shots of your place. The picture that Pam @ Digging took of your prized Celosia, Salvia greggii, yucca, aster, Mexican Bush Sage and gazing ball is magazine material for sure!! Gorgeous!!! Say, thanks for adding me to your blogroll….just one little request. Can you change the name to Signature Gardens (formerly Diggin’ in the Dirt). Having a blog identity crisis, I guess :-) Thanks! Toni :-)

  • ESP October 26, 2010, 9:08 pm

    I should be so lucky Toni!
    Yes, I was very “chuffed” to receive all of the plants and yes, please let me know when you see the Patch in the catalog!
    Pam’s picture was a beauty, she did a great job capturing the plants and giving everyone online a virtual tour of all the gardens on the Conservancy tour this year.
    Changed your blog title on my blogroll.
    Thanks for dropping by.


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