“Ghost in the Machine”



Gulf Coast Toad Eye
The Eye of Sauron has shifted his gaze in the patch…

Feather on Feather Grass
Could the eye be focusing on this tiny dove feather that somehow miraculously was caught by a single strand of feather grass? A feather caught by a feather grass!  Ahh the irony!  Another feather I caught this week had a much more tragic scene orbiting around it.

Feather and Wasp  titanic-winslet-dicaprio_l
This “crying” drowned paper wasp in my rain-water collection tank looks like a scene from Titanic. If only it had found the feather raft in time. Goodbye Jack!

Sauron’s eye actually turned its attention this week to a rather small area of the patch, an area that has for quite some time troubled me.  I just had to wait until the temperature dipped (at least slightly) below triple digits to tackle it.  Today it seems was my “lucky day”, I had a plan…hot sauce festival in the morning, then a couple of iced turbans strapped to my head whilst hauling rocks in the afternoon… a perfect late summer’s day in Texas!


This area lacked any visual cohesion, it had different elements and a myriad of mediums all colliding at awkward angles, and those radial Home Depot bricks, I have now really come to dislike.  All of this area nonsense had developed over time, and for numerous reasons, but today this was about to change…I was about to restore order, It was time for change.


Recycled bricks, Home Depot circular bricks AND moss boulders?…something had to give, starting with the location of these two grasses.


The Home Depot circular bricks began to annoy me over time, I am not really sure why or when this started, but I think it has something to with the fact that, oh yeah,… THEY ARE UGLY!


SO OUT THEY COME  Lots of unmentionables were lurking below, and in-between these rocks, along with at least thirty geckos, lying in waiting to eat all of the unmentionables.


I decided to extend the edging with the same brick laying design I have used in some other beds in the ESP, snaking them around my papyrus filled stock-tank.


Here is the final, less frantic scene.  Finally the stock-tank looks like it is “incorporated” into the design.  Taking out the grasses has alleviated the sense of clutter…quietness is once again restored in the patch, at least this part of it.  Only another five more areas to tame!  All I need now is for Jack and Rose to angle themselves precariously from the front edge of this stock tank, and I will be finally done with this area.


“look at that new ESP bed and brickwork Jack”!  “Calm down Rose it is only a central Texas garden blog.”


Now, if I could only get that sticker off my stock-tank!

Moving on…

Texas Red Wasp
Click on any image in the patch then click again for a full-resolution shot.
This Texas Red Wasp looked on intently as I worked on the Patch’s hardscaping.

Texas Red Wasp

It seems like all the activity made it thirsty!  A tiny piece of wayward Popsicle warranted a veritable feast for this old man, perhaps his last supper, and ooo, how sweet it was.

Texas Gulf Toad DSC08814 
It turned out that the Eye of Sauron belonged to this gulf coast toad I found under one of my rosemary bushes.

The “Whirling Butterflies” Gaura, aka, White Indian Feathers are in full bloom to the delight of my oldest elf, (I think she just likes the name).


I caught this Reakirt’s Blue Hemiargus isola  flitting around on the tiny blooms.  


One of my favorite visitors in the patch…and so tiny.

Odd Chap!
And as for this nosey Damsel? Talking of eyes!

Happy 2nd “Notty Dreads” and he loves his new dump truck tchnic tchnock! ty.

Stay Tuned for:

“Fahrenheit 911” 

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:

Subway Underground Garden
‘Photo curtesy of Ruth and Dave on Flickr’
 http://www.flickr.com/photos/ruth and dave/407501928/

Underground gardening. This garden is in a subway in Japan. It is surrounded by glass, lit by sun lamps and is watered by misters…amazing.


~ by eastsidepatch on August 29, 2009.

16 Responses to ““Ghost in the Machine””

  1. The eye of Sauron has shifted indeed. Let’s hope it doesn’t look this way again with intensity until next year. (Yeah, right!)

    It’s amazing what a neat edge will do. Your fix was the perfect solution. Now can you come over and do some edging for me, ESP? I have many areas that trouble me and only pitiful excuses to account for not taking care of them already.

  2. Hi Pam.
    Right there with you on the eye front, just keep looking that way! The new Almanac looks quite promising though – a wet winter followed by a “sweltering” (so what’s new), but wet, next summer.

    A neat edge really does clean things up, and I would be happy to come over and do some edging, if you will come over here and hack out my hell-strip? No?


  3. Yeah, you win. :-) Good luck with the hell strip.

  4. Wow, the border looks great! Excellent work.

  5. Thank you Katie, I feel much better about this area now, it has been bothering me for quite some time!

  6. I keep reading that neat edges carry a lot of design weight – your post could be the perfect tutorial for that idea executed. Oof – between you and Grackle with your paths and great edges I feel quite harrumphed about certain of my garden areas. Even though the temps have dropped a bit, the finances don’t allow any hardscape purchases at the moment. (All in good time, my pretties, all in good time.)

  7. Hi TD.
    This area finally came together alright…in the end. I had a few different solutions in my mind, but settled on this one as I already had these bricks laying around in other areas of the patch…perfect. I have edged a few beds like this using these bricks, the bricks I obtained when I ripped up a front patio that the previous owners had laid, they have come in really useful!

    The Grackles transformation is looking great…now THAT is some hot work!

    Thanks Deb.

  8. WOW! Beautiful job on the snaking brickwork ESP! And those damn stock tank stickers! I know what you mean, they are a pain in the a$$! I wonder if Pam has any great solutions…

    • Hi Loree.
      Thank you.
      I do not know what type of 3M adhesive they are using on these stickers, but you can’t get them off! The even funnier thing is that the tanks change color over time, but these damned stickers never seem to age a day…vampire stickers! I have tried chisels, blow-torches, flame-throwers…not a dent. Now I just avert my gaze and pretend it does not exist.


  9. The edging looks great around your stock tank! It really pulls that area together nicely. Hey, and congrats about winning the GGW photo contest! I knew you had a winner with that shot.

  10. Hi Cheryl. Thanks, it could only get better from the shaos it was before. Thank you on the GGW front, I just received the plants today from the High Country Gardens! I fear for their tenderness in this not quite as brutal heat, but brutal enough. I am just doing some research on them right now.
    I have never received plants in the post before, and I like it!

  11. If you would keep your finger out of the ring, the eye will not know where you are. I am glad I am not the only one who hates those blocks, they look so very commercial, especially with the dreaded “red mulch”. I am glad you are happy with your switch.

    • Hi Les.

      I know all about the powers of the ring. But, just like Gollum, I was consumed, and it seems obsessed with the ring’s ability to make these Home Depot blocks at least, initially, seem a great addition to a landscape design! I was bewitched, a true curse!

      The dark power of the ring, it seems, extends it’s power to a lot of commercial landscaping crews. The same crews that continue, in this “greener” era, to wield their futile leaf blowers…THE true curse of the dark lord of Mordor!
      …If any landscapers reading this are still employing crews wielding 2-stroke leaf-blowing motors…that really do nothing! I condemn you all to the mines of Mordor…


  12. What a simple but brilliant idea to use a double-layer brick edging instead of just a regular line of bricks… such a neat line. One day when I can gather up more bricks, I’d love to see how it would look on one or two of my beds. For now, though, I must live with what I’ve got! Fantastic photo of that wasp drinking, ESP.

  13. Hi Meredith.

    I have used this edging technique around a couple of beds in the ESP. It really has worked out a treat. I do not use any mortar, I just position the bottom layer of bricks into some decomposed granite, it holds the whole structure in place pretty well.

    Isn’t that wasp a stunner. I always get some great close-ups of these red-wasps this time of year, as the poor old things are about to “pop their clogs” and die. They move very slowly and the risk of getting stung by a female is pretty slim! The males I believe do not have the capacity to administer a sting!


  14. You are KILLING me, ESP!
    All the googly eyes – even on the wings of the butterfly! Even the stock tank was an Eye of Sauron – I felt very ‘watched’ after reading this post! It was thrilling! And a little unnerving – but still great!
    Question – white kind of super-cool coral snake look-a-like shovel do you have?
    I want one…
    And I died laughing about the sticker on the stock tank. What IS that adhesive? And why is it that it is only available to the makers of retail pricing stickers? I’ve been trying to get my cork wall panels to adhere for 2 years and have tried everything without luck …
    I swear that frog was flirting with you. Just look at her (I have no doubt she is a SHE), first trying to ignore you, then giving you a sidelong glance, and finally, coquettishly posing with a rosemary twig as an impromtu necklace. I’m sure you’ll see her again – she’s obviously smitten!
    And I can’t even BELIEVE that dragonfly (damselfly?) – can that really be an eye? I think it is a whole other being!
    And a very happy birthday to your wee one – I love how your daughter has commandeered his truck. A girl after my own heart!
    Thanks for the post!

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