“Tricksy Hobbitses”

With the temperatures beginning to soar this week,
Central Texas has started to once again
feel like the red planet. This recent heat has
had a really strange effect on the “Cactus Man”…

“My eyes, my eyes, what is happening to me?”
He seems to be developing a rather alarmed “expression” of sorts.
The sun has caused a contraction of the “skin” during the healing
process (post cacti operata), this was especially apparent around the
delicate eye tissues around the cacti paddle.
It appears my cactus pad is unfortunately aging prematurely!

“Damn it Jim, I am a doctor, not a botanist.
I will proceed to sick-bay just as soon as my hair has stabilized”.

I knew I should have sprayed him with sun-screen
after his “delicate” surgery (drill-bit, not key-hole).
Still, I am really happy he is developing his own facial features…
It gives him his very own unique “cactus character”.
I hate to say this, but the “Botox Lady” had a sly grin on her
face at the “cactus man’s” accelerated aging process, I think
she felt somehow threatened by the introduction of this once
handsome chap into the patch.

The rising heat was also causing this Little Glassywing Skipper Butterfly –

Pompeius verna to drink rather heavily from one of my cone flowers.

Skippers are named for their rapid, erratic flight, they differ from the
true butterflies in their proportionately larger bodies, smaller wings,
and hooked antennae (like a crochet hook),
Butterflies have club-like tips to their antennae.

Skippers also have generally stockier bodies, with stronger wing
muscles, they are one of the hardest butterfly species to identify;
their markings being frustratingly similar.
I hope I have my identification correct.

On a more refreshing note, these recently watered and fallen california poppy 
petals caught my heat stricken attention this week…Ahhh…ssssss!
This year I planted a bunch of these poppies in, and around, my mass planting 
of Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’. The combination of the silver, the whites, and amber
of the poppies works very well.

Silver and orange, can you beat this color combination?

The intense sun has been great for ripening the limes on my mexican lime tree.
This tree is really producing well right now. Every morning there is fruit strewn
on the ground. Today the “Patch Pickers” harvested these!  The flavor of these
limes is amazing, small limes – big flavor. This is the first year this citrus has
produced any fruit of any significance, the same goes for my satsuma tree, and
my tomato plants.

“My precious(es)”             So far so good on the tomato front!Remember last years culinary tomato fiasco?

Inland Sea Oats, Chasmanthium latfolium

A great plant for spring color, foliage and animation. The plant is a valuable wildlife
resource, providing both food and cover.  This grass grows great under trees and in
shade. I have mine planted under my towering post oak where it has spread into a
large swath. I have found it easy to control like amaranth, yes amaranth! I let both of
these get to about four to six inches and if I don’t like their position, I yank them out,
simple. I have not found this plant to be invasive in my plantings.  Great spring,
great fall color…one of the staple plantings in the patch.

The seed heads really do glow when back-lit from the sun.
This scene just gets better as we enter fall when the
seed heads turn rustic brown, and do
what they do best… bob in the breeze.

And what is this?

A mangrove swamp?  

Surely not!

The roots of an Ent perhaps?

Or more likely the roots on my clumping Giant Timber Bamboo.

“And mighty fine “Roots” 
they are ESP”, ahem.

No wonder bamboo is so strong. I once (and I repeat once) tried to
divide a mature clump of giant timber bamboo. I demolished two
shovels and one pick axe…enough said, I was done. 

Giant Timber Bamboo   Bambusa oldhamii, the culms
look like they are painted…albeit very badly.

I finally did manage to get a few culms separated from the mass,
and interestingly the transplant grew faster and healthier then any
others I have purchased since.

One division was enough for me though, I probably could have
purchased two bamboo plants for the cost of replacing all of my tools,
plus the cost of advil etc…never again!

Beach Vitex, Vitex rotundifolia.
I know this plant has become a real problem in a few coastal southern states,
taking over sand dunes and threatening native species, but mine is growing
slower than a really slow growing thing. It has started to bloom recently though.
I really like the foliage on this little plant.
After learning of the invasive nature of this plant on the dunes of southern Carolina,
I made sure I filled up the immediate planting area with sand…it seems to have
worked a treat!

The cat tails are in their prime right now, a towering containerized
structural plant in my main pond, it returns from the ground reliably
every year, no-matter how root-bound it becomes.

And finally…
Burning Cannas catching the last hot rays of the sun.

All material © 2009 for east_side_patch. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Inspirational Image of the Week:

“Premonition” .


~ by eastsidepatch on June 6, 2009.

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