“Pressing Along”

Giant Timber Bamboo
Can you guess what this is?

Giant Timber Bamboo culm

The maroon hairs (oral setae) on this Pubescent Giant Timber culm will eventually disappear as it matures. The color on the new growth ranges from purple to red to green. The larger culms seem to have a lot more of this coloration going on. Giant Timber Bamboo Bambusa oldhamii is native to China, and the most commonly cultivated clumping timber bamboo here in the United States.  It is also commonly used in furniture making, most notably in Taiwan, and is even becoming adopted in the laptop market?

Giant Timber Bamboo Asus bamboo laptop
Asus U6: Ecobook bamboo laptop

Giant Timber Bamboo

Bamboo is the fastest-growing plant on Earth, it has been measured surging skyward as fast as 121 cm (47.6 inches) in a 24 hour period. This one is a giant of the bamboo world, it is the largest member of the grass family and it is thriving despite our dry conditions. This one has a soaker-hose weaving around the base of the culms and it receives a deep soaking once a week.  A great tropical look with an equally tropical rustle when a breeze hits it, we even have a bamboo wind chime hung in it for an added sailing boat sound effect!

Talking about sail boats…imagine taking a trans-Atlantic crossing on one of these beauties:

Butterfly boats
Angel Villanueva, 1492 (2008). Oil on Canvas, 24 x 36 in. Private
Collection, U.S.

morpho butterfly
Morpho Butterfly

In the artist’s own creatively descriptive words…
“1492 is a visual metaphor for Columbus’ ships. The ship’s sails are based on
the patterns found on the underside of the wings on the South American
butterfly Blue Morpho. My inspiration for this piece was a cross between the
history of the Americas and psychoanalysis: in Freudian theory the butterfly
symbolizes transformation and change. Here, the ships are rendered as the
vectors for this change. Carl Sagan once said that the discovery of America
(and all the destruction that came with it) was inevitable, bound to happen
around the time it did. Thus, the conquest is suggested by the painting as
being the result of natural forces”.

What a stunning painting! See more of Angel’s work here: http://www.angelvillanueva.com/en/paintings/index.htm

While we are on the subject…

Black Swallowtail Butterfly

The electric blue color on this Black Swallowtail butterfly’s wings was incredibly vibrant, the orange spots quite fitting against the Pride of Barbados, Caesalpinia pulcherrima that it was drinking heavily from. Each flower on this plant is composed of five showy petals with very prominent six inch long red stamens, reminiscent of the legs of the swallowtail.

Black Swallowtail Butterfly

I have had a bumper Pride of Barbados year, this year. I started out with two plants and afer a few years of self, (and helped) seeding, I am now up to eight. The best thing about these plants is that it can never be too hot or too dry for them, in fact they thrive on it!  I have no idea what or how their root structures works, but it could not be any more efficient. So much color, so little maintenance, perfect for Texas, especially this year.

Sotol Braveheart_McGoohan_as_Edward1
“The problem with sotols, is that its full of spines.”

Another bunch of drought warriors are the Sotols, they may take quite some time to reach maturity, but it is well worth the wait.

Looking like tribal tatoos, these Agave Americana are also no strangers to the heat.

Moving on…

The following scene may be a little disturbing to some sensitive readers, things have got worse around the decaying Cactus Man. It seems as though my over-zealous face-carving “proceedures” have created their very own Guyana Tragedy. The scene looks totally absurd now, like a bunch of dead cacti-heads wielding green table-tennis bats.  All that time I spent swelling the base nodes, then I cause this to happen! It appears that all of the main paddles were connected via a common root system / tubor/ something or other. One by one they are shriveling up and keeling over, in a way that only cactus paddles can.

Cactus Man

The Cactus Man wiggled his little green bat to indicate he had something to say, so I leaned in close. In a parched, sandy voice, he rasped out the blood curdling words…”your serve”.  I flicked him over his dead head and still got a bunch of cactus barbs in my finger…Stupid Cactus Man, with his healthy table-tennis paddle.

Cactus Man

I could have sworn that his “smile” widened somewhat when he realized he had spiked me. In his honor you may have noticed that I have made him my new online avatar.

RIP Catus Man, 2005-2009 (sorry I killed you and your friends).

Pink Pampas

On a softer note, (well at least this part of the grass), the first new blooms on my pampas grass have started to emerge. This one is my favorite with its slightly pink plumes.

Ghost Plant, Mother of Pearl Plant
Pretty, Huh?
This writhing tangle of stems belongs to a Ghost Plant, Mother of Pearl Plant
Graptopetalum paraguayense, these clusters have really struggled in this year’s drought. It used to look like this:

Ghost Plant

And finally a couple of before and after shots to offer some appeal to a house that is going to be sold…



Front scheme

“Softening a corner”.

Bamboo Muhly and contrasting soft leaf yucca provide a simple and hardy planting scheme that provides a lot of punch and movement. An extremely low cost scheme, to cover a large area. I cannot wait to try this one out on the ESP hell-strips, (obviously with a more abundant amount of yuccas)!

Stay Tuned for:

“Ghost in the Machine”

All material © 2009 for eastsidepatch. Unauthorized
intergalactic reproduction strictly prohibited, and
punishable by  late  (and extremely unpleasant)
14th century planet Earth techniques.

Inspirational Image of the Week:

Crying Flowers

  • Bob Pool August 29, 2009, 5:11 am

    The bamboo is looking so good. The crooked ones really add some visual appeal. I so wish I had deeper dirt so I could grow it. As with what you mentioned it is also the very best material for long bow limbs. For bows material as with making split cane fly rods, it is tempered like steel, heated and then cooled rapidly, albeit not at as high of temps. I’ve always seen it referred to as Tonkin Gulf Cane but don’t know the exact type.

    Your idea on the house is super, very simple, not to expensive, almost maintenance free but with a really nice look. Are they going to do this to the house?

    On Pam’s post with the skulls, one of them seemed to be looking right at me. Now I get to your weekly image and there is a crying green face giving me the stink eye. I must be feeling guilty about something.

  • eastsidepatch August 29, 2009, 2:10 pm

    Hi Bob.
    This giant timber is the healthiest looking plant in the patch right now, and by far the greenest. The crooked ones are bizarre looking, I like them too. I remember when I was younger staring at split-cane fly rods in mail-order catalogs, they were always way out of my price range. Interesting on the Tonkin name, I will look into it.

    I got the idea for the house from the way the soft leafed yucca looks in the patch, surrounded by a bunch of feather grasses. I really liked the contrast. I needed a grass with similar “soft” qualities but which had a larger/wider growth habit…muhly fitted the bill perfectly. I am not sure if this scheme will be executed. I plan to do this design as a mass planting on my hell-strips anyway though, after I have pick-axed the whole thing that is…my joyfull task set for the fall.

    All these faces staring back at you Bob from cyberspace. I wonder what it means?

  • Bob Pool August 29, 2009, 10:35 pm

    Hey there, I see you won the photo contest. Congratulations. When I saw your photo I told my wife that it would win it. However I must protest the picture. I didn’t think that we could use professional models in our photos and I think that particular Nabooboo tribal member is a pro that I have seen in some of your previous posts. If I had known how devious you are I would have hired her myself. Don’t let my clothes fool you, I have money.

  • Germi August 29, 2009, 10:50 pm

    Hello, ESP!
    My Bambusa vittata vulgaris is hairy, too. Whenever I have to skin the bottoms (I like to see the striped canes naked – so I skin them, like a savage) the little hairs stick to any exposed skin – and itch like MAD! Died laughing when I saw the leering comb-over photo … Eeewww!
    The butterflies! The Yucatan was WILD with butterflies when I was there last – I am not kidding, I must have seen a thousand of them having a rave on the way to my job site. It was the most magical thing I’ve ever seen – but I didn’t have the presence of mind to pull out my camera – I was just too swept away by the moment! It is amazing seeing the detail on the Black Swallowtail! Thank you for that!
    The revenge of Cactus Man! Ha! I must say, i’m shocked that ALL the paddles are dying! He is ice-cold, that Cactus Man -taking down the whole team to make you suffer. To me, it looks like he’s shooting you the finger … and it’s a mighty healthy finger! Take that!
    Love the Yucca/Muhly treatment! It’s so simple and effective! And that house is great – if I were inclined to move to Austin (and I am inclined , almost at a 45 degree angle), I would buy THAT house! And wouldn’t touch your landscaping … well – I’d TRY not to … you know!

    The Inspirational Image is breathtaking! I want to tattoo it on my … my … my husband’s back!

    Always pleased to hang in The Patch,

  • eastsidepatch August 30, 2009, 10:01 pm

    Hi Carla.
    I like the Mud Maid too! It was the inspiration for my much smaller scale “Botox Lady”. I had no idea the “Hills” were responsible for this one as well!

  • Germi August 31, 2009, 7:08 pm

    Okay, I KNOW you are super busy, so I had to give you a MeMe award which just gives you more work to do, should you chose to accept it.
    It’s because you are my favorite blog!
    If you WANT to move the blog admiration forward, pop onto my blog and collect your award/task.
    Funny how this is half award and half apology!


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