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Annie in Austin
Welcome! As "Annie in Austin" I blog about gardening in Austin, TX with occasional looks back at our former gardens in Illinois. My husband Philo & I also make videos - some use garden images as background for my original songs, some capture Austin events & sometimes we share videos of birds in our garden. Come talk about gardens, movies, music, genealogy and Austin at the Transplantable Rose and listen to my original songs on YouTube. For an overview read Three Gardens, Twenty Years. Unless noted, these words and photos are my copyrighted work.
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Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Oh Please, Dear March, Don't Turn Into a Lion

In early March 2015 late deep freezes blasted the Texas Mountain Laurels and I wrote this lament.

This year March arrived sweetly, and everything has been pretty peachy so far - but crazy early.

The oldest Texas Mountain Laurel bloomed unfrozen for the first time in years. It's fading now but wonderful to see.

The fig, Forest Pansy redbud and dwarf pomegranate have leaves.

A few Bluebonnets have opened with Blackfoot daisies.

and the white-flowered, passalong Cemetery iris have started, too.

A bag of Leucojum/Snowflake bulbs were an impulse buy last fall - oh, how glad I am this spring that I gave in to temptation!

Closeup of the snowflakes - we can't have snowdrops and we can't have Lily of the Valley, but by gum we can have Leucojum 'Gravetye Giant'.

Yesterday the Lady Banks rose began to pop.

And the peach iris began to stretch their flower stalks up to the sun.

Tonight Austin is under a watch for thunderstorms with possible hail so as usual it's fingers crossed for no bad surprises.

Annie in Austin, writing at the Transplantable Rose blog

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Groundhog Day What's In Bloom List

This post, “Groundhog Day What’s In Bloom List” was written by Annie in Austin for her Transplantable Rose blog. 

My neighborhood had some cold nights recently but I’m pretty sure the temperature hasn’t dropped below 28F and there are still flowers around the yard. I think many of these blooms will be frozen in the expected next round of cold weather. Instead of waiting for the 15th, it seems like a better idea to make a Ground Hog Day bloom list. This is what I saw outside today.

Abutilon hybridum 'Patrick's', flowering maple, think it's named after Patrick Kirwin

Antirrhinum majus, Yellow snapdragons

Asclepias curassavica, tropical milkweed that had been cut back has regrown

Bryophyllum daigremontianum syn. Kalanchoe daigremontiana  AKA Mother of Thousands, Alligator Plant – blossoms just opening.

Camellia japonica 'Pius IX', rose-red camellia a few buds showing color, but also showing damage from cold.

Clerodendrum ugandense – Blue butterfly flower, rooted cutting on windowsill. A few buds.

Cuphea llavea – small pink & lavender form, possibly 'Twinkle Pink' still blooming

Gaura lindheimeri, self-seeded, some pink flowers, some white flowers in two borders.

Justicia brandegeana, Pink Shrimp plant blooming in Secret Garden & Gateside garden. Flowers slightly damaged by frosts

Justicia spicigera/ Mexican Honeysuckle many buds and partially open flowers

Kalanchoe blossfeldiana? Florist's Kalanchoe, two of three plants blooming in breakfast room window.

Lantana, unknown varieties blooming in both lavender and trailing white

Mahonia bealei Oregon grape holly, 3 blooming stalks on plant in large container

Narcissus tazetta?/ unlabelled paperwhite hybrids just finishing

Narcissus tazetta ‘Grand Primo/ small daffodil, highly recommended for Austin area by Scott Ogden, many buds and opened flowers in front near steps.

Narcissus, unnamed yellow daffodil, came with house. Blooming in front Butterfly bed and Parkway

Osmanthus fragrans/Sweet olive four shrubs, three established, one in large container, one new near herb patio

Oxalis crassipes 'Alba' (dotted around and in containers)

Oxalis regnellii 'Atropurpurea' (dotted around and in containers)

Punica granatum 'Nana'/ dwarf pomegranate in container

Rosa 'Belinda's Dream', Pink shrub rose faded flowers and a couple of buds

Rosa ‘Champagne’ mini rose, couple of fading flowers

Rosa 'Climbing Iceberg', couple of fading flowers at top of arch

Rosa 'Julia Child', one flower and one bud 

Rosa mutabilis back a few flowers, many buds; front some buds

Rosa 'Red Cascade', mini-climber bought in spring 2010, one flower, a few buds

Rosmarinus officinalis 'Prostratus' - Prostrate Rosemary w pale blue flowers.

Rosemarinus officianalis, upright Rosemary in container
Salvia coccinea Deep coral plant near patio, pale coral in Secret Garden

Salvia elegans/Pineapple sage 3 plants blooming

Salvia leucantha, Mexican Bush Sage still in bloom at corner of garage.

Salvia madrensis AKA Forsythia Sage, edges of some leaves are browned, earlier flowers have browned edges but newer flowers are pure yellow.

Salvia microphylla 'Hot Lips', front plant in light bloom

Schlumbergera truncata, Thanksgiving cactus – near end of bloom in breakfast room

Tecoma capensis Cape honeysuckle, in container, tender perennial blooming in garage

Tradescantia pellucida syn Gibasis pellucida, white flowering groundcover in light bloom

Viola spp– annuals, various hybrids of Pansies and violas in containers and hanging baskets

Viola self-seeded; probable ID Viola odorata in Yaupon bed.

This post, “Groundhog Day What’s In Bloom List” was written by Annie in Austin for her Transplantable Rose blog.

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Insistence of Violets

This post "The Insistence of Violets" was written by Annie in Austin for her Transplantable Rose blog.

According to my plant spreadsheet, I was at the annual Zilker Garden Fest on March 27, 2010, and spent a few dollars on one young plant of Sweet violet/ Viola odorata 'Royal Robe' from Emerald Garden Nursery's booth. Violets grew wild in the grass in Illinois but I had never seen any in Austin and I missed them. The little plant was tucked into the center of the back yaupon bed but if that violet ever bloomed, I missed the show and didn't take a photo or add it to a bloom list. On the spreadsheet, the plant name had been moved to the Dead section with a brief note: No sign, spring 2012.

Last fall I planted a few snowflake bulbs, shaking cayenne pepper over the ground in hopes it would keep squirrels from digging them up. Oh, what’s this? There was is a little clump of what looked like violet leaves. I set a rock next to it as a mower guard and checked it once in awhile.

This week I was surprised to see an open flower and a few buds, looking very much like the photos of 'Royal Robe' online. So what happened? Even if I saw no flower petals, many violas can make seeds from closed, self-pollinated cleistogamous flowers that grow near the ground.

Perhaps the original plant made seeds that refused to germinate during five long years of drought and heat, but when the rains came and the reservoir lake refilled last year, this violet was persuaded to give Austin another chance. 

This post "The Insistence of Violets" was written by Annie in Austin for her Transplantable Rose blog.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, February 2015

When May Dreams Carol proposed her idea of bloggers everywhere posting photos of what was in bloom each month, I was up for it, and made a post for the first Garden Bloggers Bloom Day on February 15th, 2007. That was a long time ago by internet-standards... Carol's idea has staying power!

Sometimes I post for GBBD, sometimes not - but I wanted to be part of the 8th anniversary. This winter has been relatively normal, bringing some rain and multiple freezes, with the lowest temperature in my garden about 20F. That was cold enough  to knock off many tender plants. Then some recent warm days spurred plants into bloom - these daffodils began opening last week. The clump has increased - there were only 3 flowers in 2007.

Yesterday was mild with strong winds fluttering the leaves and petals as I tried to take photos. A cold front arrived this morning, dropping temperatures 30 degrees in an hour, with a good chance it will freeze tonight and tomorrow night.

As I formatted yesterday's photos and wrote about the weather, the feeling of déjà vu was so strong it made me dizzy. I reread that first GBBD post from 2007 and realized that most of the plants that bloomed eight years ago are blooming now. They've have some bad springs and some good springs, but they're still in the game.

Here's the Carolina Jessamine/Gelsemium sempervirens. Yes, those individual flowers may freeze, but the vine has thousands of buds in various stages of development, so reserved buds can still live to bloom later.

More of the yellow daffodils grow in front, with the clump increasing slowly. A light freeze won't ruin them - but they'll collapse if a February heat wave pops up and fries them.

These bulbs of Narcissus tazetta 'Grand Primo' were blooming for the first time in 2007. They look happy and quite pretty in this spot near the veranda steps. However, you may like them better in a photo than up close in real life. Some people call them fragrant, but I think they stink.

In Texas we buy pansies and violas in late autumn and enjoy their flowers until the heat gets them in late spring.

Texas Mountain Laurel is a beloved native shrub here in Austin, bearing clusters of fragrant, deep violet-blue flower. We eagerly await their bloom every year. In some parts of Austin they are trouble-free, but I've learned not to hope too hard for flowers in my far NW neighborhood, where a shrub covered in buds can lose every floret over one cold night.

That 'Fantasia Salmon' geranium blooming in the breakfast room in February 2007? Not blooming today, but it has buds, and May Dreams Carol says buds count! It's grown taller, too.

Just as in 2007, Rosemary is in bloom, along with the Sweet Olives outside. But now there are multiple varieties of Rosemary and double the number of Sweet Olives. Zoom in on the geranium photo and you can see buds, flowers and tiny lemons developing on the Meyers lemon, and a holiday cactus/Schlumbergia still in bloom.

Missing from 2007 is the Coral Honeysuckle, alive but not thriving in increasing shade with competition from  tree roots. Adding some gaudy to the list of blooms for February 2015 is the just-past-prime Pius X Camellia.

And with luck this old Cemetery Iris will still be able to open

and the buds of Four Nerve daisy will raise their bright faces to the sun

ready to shine for Garden Bloggers Bloom day in March. 

If your garden is under snow and winter seems endless take heart - it may be slow but it will come!

This post was written by Annie in Austin for her Transplantable Rose blog.