Portfolio:

“So Many Weeds, So Little Time”

“Maverick, stop the bike. Look down there, there is the new “Pot V1NE”
prototype. Rumor back at base, is that the designers used a plant as
inspiration for the aerodynamic shape.”



This burgundy Potato Vine resembles the US Air Force SR-71 Blackbird spy plane…well it does.

The purple-blue coloration of the leaves and stem is really unusual. I plan to put quite a few of these in front of sliver artemesia next year.



Frosty “Powis Castle” Artemesia always cools down a scene. I have my newly formed alpine mountain lurking behind these. I plan to continue with this plant until the whole hill is silver. I also plan to hide the end of the fence with something other than a pampas! It looks a bit ridiculous right now. The Loquat will take care of the left side in a year or two.

“A hill of silver he says? mmmmm.
Hard a port ye scallywags, hoist the main sail,
we be bound for the port of Houston, and avoid
that water lily at all cost!”



The protective outer petals close so seemlessly around
the flower, an almost manufactured, molded look.


And now for something completely painful:


Edvard Munch…”The Scream” (Skrik, 1893-1910)
We have had a mystery in our household for quite some time now, a rather painful and really annoying phenomenon that usually strikes late at night, on the dark barefoot journey to the bed. Up until today we had no idea where these horned foot demons were coming from. There have been approximately five alarming screams an evening for the last three months, blood curdling screams, screams to wake the dead. These things hurt when you stand on them, especially the larger ones, and I am puzzled as to how they always insist on laying spike up!

I picked a few from my front porch mat and took a close-up
of these foot mines so you can see their primordial,
and very effective design.


These stalagmites have infested our house, lurking in the rugs, lounging on the stucco tiles, laying quietly in wait to “heel-bleed” their next innocent victim. Our crawling youngest stops dead in his tracks, looks shocked for about ten seconds, then wails like a banshee, kneecap impaled, riveted to the long leaf pine floor.

Anyway, how did I come to stumble on the source of all these tacks? well today I scraped away at this patch of Eden:

My “Hell Strip” between the sidewalk and the street.
If I thought the trash soil was bad when I dug out my lavender bed to be, it is nothing compared to this compacted Panini soil. I am not even going to attempt digging down an inch here…oh no,…not me, not with my half shovel.



“Sire, I have a cunning plan”!        “Oh here we go, yes, what is it Baldrick”?

I have already administered two rounds of round-up on this area to irradicate the bermuda grass, crab grass and all the other abmoninations of nature that found a home in this area. Today I scraped away with my heavy duty rake and took off most of the now dead top layer. This was the scene at the base of the Desert Willow before I began:



A really tragic affair, bermuda grass infested the base of the tree, intermingling with the stargazer lilies, a complete disaster. I cleared as much of the grass away as I could and now that I can see what I am doing, I plan to do a final dose of round-up in here, now that I have room to spra
y without killing the lilies inthe process.



My cunning plan is to line the edge of the sidewalk with boulders, some quite large, then back-fill the entire area with, yes, you guessed it, decomposed granite. I plan to cover the pathway leading to the street in the process, to create one large bed, rather than two seperate squares.


A design I did some time back, you can see the “Hell Strip” plan…it really has not changed.

The boulders will allow me to build up the granite to about a foot and a half, with the larger rocks allowing me to sculpt in some additional moundage. The boulders will also break up the straight lines of the sidewalk to attain a more natural, meandering aesthetic. I have another Hell Strip to the left, inhabited with these fellows:



These should look pretty good surrounded by the boulders and decomposed granite. We planted these when we first moved into the house, when the backyard was still a flat sea of Bermuda grass. The sago palm has grown steadily over the years despite the atrocious soil conditions in here.  I have been continuously trimming up the cactus over the years to get some elevation. There is also a yucca tucked in here as well (not visible).



Getting back to my sticker investigation, after I had raked off the top layer of rubbish, I needed to drink a gallon of water. The short walk to my front door revealed a certain clue where they have been coming from, the crunch underfoot. I took off a boot on my front porch and low and behold there must have been twently little spikes attached into the sole, the other boot was the same!



“Why you little!”


Deep inside the cactus mound there is a crazy, hidden landscape complete with asteroid textures.

“Sticking” (ahem) with the front yard for a few more shots:

My purple girls, this Mexican bush sage has really filled in this year, even though I lost two plants, positioned right of these to this year’s drought. One of my favorites.



A wider view, from the inside of the house looking out, the bamboo against the window works well.  I have the mexican weeping bamboo central, and golden bamboo containered on the right in a Callahan’s stock tank.



Here is the stock tank with a green potato
vine waterfall – one plant!



Here is another front bed plant, actually it is a succulent,
what kind? I have no idea!
This plant is amazing, with zero water, zero maintenance,
it has still bloomed and flourished throughout this
summer’s relentless onslaught.



Arguably the all around toughest palm of them all.
Mediterranean fan palm ~ Chaemerops humilis ~

The beauty and the curse of this plant is its slow growth, taking years for the palm to get 10′ tall. The patch of fountain grass in here really struggled this year.

Some other stunners right now:


Early morning sun back-lighting some yellow bells Esperanza.


Morning sun against some pampas plumes. This pampas produces slightly pinker plumes than my other plants.


Late September back yard.



The wind-catcher broke some time ago on this wind chime at the side of our house…had to improvise. The fishing lure actually works better doing this then it ever did catching fish in the water.



The name ‘passion flower’ is said to derive from a resemblance of the blue passion vine’s flower to the crown of thorns placed on Christ’s head. This one is somewhat unusual in that every other flower I have had on this vine has been a deep red color, this one was pink?



“Oars up”!
Detail of the sago palm (featured earlier) that suceeded in tattooing my forearms red today when I pruned it. I really must get some of those “long” gardening gloves.



Variegated Canna and leaf detail. This containered canna seems to last longer into the year than its burgundy brother.



Kabooom!

Stay Tuned for :
“The times, they are a changing.”

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