“Close Encounter”


the story book flower.

mother nature must have been hitting the datura hard when she dreamed up this plant.

She also did pretty good on the frosty white and tropical coloration of this butterfly iris (also known as Peacock Flower, Bicolor Iris, Evergreen Iris, Spanish Iris and African Iris, phew!):

Dietes bicolor


This little beetle was hiding under one of the plant’s veils.

This plant has been throwing out blooms for some time now…(full sun), it will be divided in the fall.

“uh oh!”

This “Man in Black” pulled up in one of the innocuous grey vehicles the other day, for some reason he kept inspecting the ground below my opuntia tree which is in full bloom right now.  As dusk fell he proceeded to venture deep inside the dangerous Naboo territories of my back garden.

I have absolutely no idea why.

“I knew it all along Scully, didn’t I tell you those Mexican gazing balls were in fact beacons”.

“We mean your species no croak…harm”.


Santolina is in top frosty form right now.  I always seem to worry about this plant at various times throughout the year, it gets leggy at times and occasionally browns in sections just to give me a scare. This slow growing plant requires some periodic pruning attention, but the results are well worth it. I need more of it.

Here is another one decorating a tree fern.

This evergreen wisteria

Milletia reticulata Benth

has more Gothic blooms on it this year then I have ever seen.  It is covered in these old-suit-in-the-back-of-the-closet purple smelling blooms.

I like it.  The heavy aroma fills up a good part of the Patch at this time of year. This plant, being the eldest always blooms first and it will keep on producing well into the summer, my other wisterias pick up the hard-to-describe smelling baton a little later.

I made the fatal mistake of planting this one on a metal support which it has consumed and is now proceeding to drag skyward…word of warning.

This beach vitex has almost made it half way round this stock tank, a couple more years should do it. It has also started to bloom.

This plant is a major problem in many coastal regions where it flourishes and smothers native plant species.

Polihale Beach, Kauai. Image by Forest & Kim Starr.

The same stock tank is also currently full of toad spawn,

wrapping the emerging water lilies shut…Madame Ganna Burrito.


Feather grasses catching the breeze.

Gaura or aptly named “Whirling Butterflies”.

I am still trying to get to the bottom of these Datura seedpod strings that are touching the ground. What are they? Why are they there?

Stay Tuned for:

“Rikky Ikky Ivy”

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

  • Gail May 20, 2011, 5:58 pm

    Love your “man in black”!

  • ESP May 20, 2011, 6:28 pm

    What man in black? :-)

  • One May 20, 2011, 10:26 pm

    I have so many questions. Why do your photos look mystical? Why is there a UFO? How on earth did you manage to get such a wonderful shot of the toad?

  • ESP May 20, 2011, 10:36 pm

    Hi “One”…should I call you One or Setia?

    Ask away with any questions:-)

    The UFO mysteriously appeared shortly after my “Man in Black” did…naturally!
    The toad I snapped this week at a client’s house on my stomach…I took many pictures of him as it rained (a very rare thing in Texas of late), this was the only image that came out a) in focus and b) having a great perspective, I was very happy.


  • Gardenista May 21, 2011, 7:37 am

    I do love me some echinacea. Last year I gathered up their dried seed bombs and tossed them wherever I hoped to see more of their stubborn beauty appearing. I realize it takes a couple of years for the plants to develop to bloom stage but while keeping one eye to the sky (blasted beaming gazing balls!) I can and will be patient. (I WILL be patient, I WILL be patient, I WILL be patient….). Except for that predicted end of the world thing today at 6PM of course. If we get past that, then…..all bets back on!

    Bets including working on convincing the troops here that a water feature is not only desired but desirable. I mean, who doesn’t want lilies and frogs around? What day wouldn’t be improved by both? So thanks ESP for loads of gorgeous photo ammo to use in my Fight for the Right to Install A Water Feature. Onward! (at least until 6 PM today…)

    Hi TD…Still here!

    Echinacea really is the bomb! What a crazy plant and so photogenic, mine bend this way and sway that way, attempting to get their spiky noggins into the frame…ridiculous. I also toss those seed bombs around the Patch when they get brown and wizened, some of them occasionally germinate, but I think the birds get most.

    Deb…get a water feature.
    You will never look back…trust me.


  • Hjordis Owens May 21, 2011, 8:31 am

    The plants are great, but the photography is awesome! Love it!

    Hi Hjordis.
    and thank you.

  • Iris/Society Garlic May 21, 2011, 6:25 pm

    I haven’t had great luck with echinacea in the past, but you’ve inspired me! I love gaura and Mexican feathergrass for their fluttering, wavy, cheeriness. Okay, that last sentence was very poorly composed, but you get my drift. Cool photos!

  • ESP May 21, 2011, 7:02 pm

    Hi Iris.

    I was the same with echinacea at first, it seems like the plant just takes some time to find it’s roots and when it does…”wallop”! all of a suddenly there is a stand of them, then they glacially spread out a little further every year. This is another one of those plants that I always wonder why I just don’t purchase more of them every year and speed up the process, but if they produce copious amounts of seeds, like they do, I am apparently old school :-)

    Thanks Iris.

  • Iris/Society Garlic May 21, 2011, 8:24 pm

    I’m sold! Thanks.

  • ESP May 21, 2011, 8:41 pm

    Hi Iris.
    Also, Mexican feather grass and gaura is one of my favorite combinations, can you tell?

  • Linda Lehmusvirta May 23, 2011, 7:25 pm

    Most phenomenal pictures I’ve ever seen. I am so honored to know such a family of true artists. On gardening “stuff,” in my soil, it took a few years to get coneflowers right and I had the same problems with santolina. But who cares, you’ve got it tapped!

  • ESP May 23, 2011, 7:57 pm

    Thank you Linda.

    Coneflowers do take a while, I really should just buy a bunch of them and dot them around, as it will take them three or four years to really get spreading. Glad I am not the only one with the santolina “issues”…a plant well worth a bit of TexasLC, but really, it is probably less maintenance then artemesia and I have hillsides of that…what am I complaining about!


  • Les May 24, 2011, 5:02 pm

    Beach Vitex is EVIL, EVIL I say!

  • ESP May 24, 2011, 5:05 pm

    Haha Les…I was waiting for you to see the beach vitex…but here in Austin it is a saint :-)

  • KatyLandscaping May 25, 2011, 4:37 am

    Love those Santolinas. They add character to the landscape although they seem to be delicate and fussy.

  • ESP May 25, 2011, 12:47 pm

    Hi Katy.
    I like silver so I will tolerate losing a few and planting some more. They are great looking (most of the year) for full sun…mmm, I must get a couple for my hell-strip.


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