“Smiling Dragons”

Lots of dragons were zipping around
the ESP this week.

Predating the dinosaur and Jeff Goldblum, this fascinating
insect of the order Odonata (meaning “toothed”)
has long been the subject of myths and legends,
around the globe. The dragonfly’s syringe-like
appearance has earned it a variety of
bizarre names in global folklore
including “Devil’s Darner,”
“Water Witch” and “Snake Doctor.” 

In European and early-American myths, The dragonfly
was given the name of “Devil’s Darning Needle” because
of a particularly horrific superstition involving the dragonfly
sewing the mouths shut of sleeping children.
“mmm,ddammmned dddrrraggonm m m m-flies”! 
Children were told that if they misbehaved,
a dragonfly would sew shut their eyes,
ears and mouth as they slept, (must remember
this for a future idle threat inside the patch).
I surmise this is where the word  ‘darner’ as in
“Green Darner” originated?

This ‘skimmer’ Dragon is a Common Whitetail

(Plathemis lydia).
This one is a female, the males have a very different wing pattern.
This is the first Whitetail I have ever seen in my garden, and it did
not stay long. I only managed to get these two shots in, then she was gone.
Please click on, then click again, and then zoom in once more on these dragons
for a really detailed look at their structure, it is worth it!

Excuse the offensive finger!
Another myth warned that dragonflies were in cahoots with
snakes and were able to wake them from the dead or warn
them of impending danger.

In the Appalachians it was considered
bad luck to kill a dragonfly. They were
thought to be the protectors of snakes
and if you killed one, its snake would
come after you.

“Delta four-winger you have been cleared for take-off”.

These two blue dasher dragons looked like they were
waiting for clearance to take off on this agave leaf.
Look at this one’s cartoon eyes!

And finally in Swedish folklore
It was believed that dragonflies
were used by the Devil to “weigh
people’s souls”, and that if a
dragonfly swarmed around
someone’s head weighing his
or her soul, that person could
expect great injury.

I am watching all gardeners,
especially those with
water features.

Blue Dasher  (Pachydiplax longipennis)
Amazing body coloration.

“Yeah, baby yeah”! 

And here is where the dragons love to perch in the ESP, on the tips of these cattails, (or bulrushes
if you are in the UK). Nesting birds have been demolishing these flower spikes over the
last few months, as you can see, some of them have been totally stripped.

On a culinary note:


 In Bali,  people call                           “Sky Prawns?”
dragonflies ‘sky prawns,’
they are traditionally fried with
coconut oil and vegetables and spices.
Dragonflies, grilled, apparently
have a carbonized crispy quality
to them with a subtle, fatty flavor.
Now before you go ewwwww…
Most of us readily consume
shrimp and lobster (which, like
insects, are arthropods.)

How to catch them?
One effective capturing method
in this region utilizes sap from
the jackfruit tree… 

The Jackfruit tree  Artocarpus heterophyllus
(The largest tree borne fruit in the world).

The sticky, latex plant juice from this tree is applied
to the end of a slender stick. This stick is tied to
a longer, sturdier stick which is then lowered to
a resting dragonfly, with a quick tap, the dragon
is stuck to the tree sap. The device is called a
onang, and the hunting was done by children.

The catching of dragonflies for consumption
purposes is a very rare practice now in the region
due to the decreasing number of rice fields and
the scarcity of jackfruit trees in urban areas.

“And thats all I have to say about

Moving On…
Mexican feather grass continues to burn and dance it’s way into
the scorched winds of summer. Any time now the seed heads
will start sticking to each other for that really ugly “matted” look.
Then it will time for haircuts all round.

Another feather I have to post one last picture of!

Fragile coral vine blooms,  Antigonon leptopus.This plant always disturbs me as I like the way it looks but it always insists on creeping
up to high branches where it eventually dies, turns brown, and becomes an eyesore.
I only allow select patches to survive in the patch, and I never permit it to climb too high!


Also soaring up high was this damaged Swallowtail, catching
some of the thermals above my satsuma tree.

The swallowtails are busy laying their eggs on the citrus trees
in my middle bed right now. I started planting this cacti and
succulent bed earlier this year. I mostly used divisions from
plants I already had, and a few more from my in-laws containers.
I already had the Texas holey rocks, the large barrel cacti, and
the old cedar carcasses, I just needed to pull it all together.

Middle bed: Jan10, 2009    

Middle bed today, it is amazing what only six months can do, and the barrels are still healthy!
(fingers are crossed).

Some other patch-filled events this week…

This pair was really healthy for a while………………..and then…medic!

Large culms are popping up everywhere
on the giants. My oldest giant timber bamboo
that did not produce a single culm last year, is
making up for it this year – eight at the last count!

“Oo, oo, you cannot be serious with this connection ESP”.
One very strange looking unidentified moth!

Anybody? Almost bat-like!

And the latest craze in the patch…

‘Balloon Jousting’.

“On-Guard little brother!”  

“Am I not Maximus the merciful big sis?”

And finally…

“Here’s Johnny!”
More horror from “cactus man” next time.

All material © 2 2009 for east_side_patch. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Inspirational Image of the Week:

Garden Art by Bruno Torf.


~ by eastsidepatch on June 15, 2009.

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