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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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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.

Friday, December 05, 2014

My Blog Does NOT Belong to Texas Outdoorsmen!

Are you seeing this blog post on blogspot? Or are you seeing it at TexasOutdoorsmen dot com? 

if you're seeing my posts and photos on the TexasOutdoorsmen dot com site, it is absolutely without my permission. This website has been copying my garden blog and garden blogs belonging to many of my garden friends, and we want it to stop.

I may not post that often, but putting my copyrighted words and photos on my blog does not mean that other websites can proceed to repost my work - and it's especially annoying when my work is used to pump up those websites to attract revenue-producing ads.


Darn it, I was actually in the mood to tell you what's been happening in the garden, and how beautiful the Oak Leaf Hydrangea has been this year...

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Passalongs and Reseeders Say Happy Autumn

DECEMBER 5, 2014: Are you seeing this blog post on blogspot? Or are you seeing it at TexasOutdoorsmen dot com? 
if you're seeing my posts and photos on the TexasOutdoorsmen dot com site, it is absolutely without my permission. This website has been copying my garden blog and garden blogs belonging to many of my garden friends, and we want it to stop.

This post, Passalongs and Reseeders Say Happy Autumn, was written by Annie in Austin for her Transplantable Rose blog.

After August 2014 tied the tile for Second Driest August on Record in Austin, many of us gardeners were not looking forward to September! But then the temperature dropped a few degrees and in mid-September several inches of rain fell. That's all it took to divert September 2014 from the hot, dry path it had been following to a gentler trail - the path to a flowery September.

Many of the current flowers descend from plants bought years ago. The original plants are long gone, but seedlings can keep a strain going through repeated reseeding.
The original Gaura lindheimeri started in a patio container - it was a short-lived perennial, but eight years later there's a convention being held in the front center bed.

A 4-inch pot from a Sunshine Community Gardens sale in 2005 held one seedling Blue Butterfly pea/ Clitoria ternatea. I usually save a few seeds just in case, but this year's vine sprouted on its own.

Orange cosmos seeds gleaned from the courtyard garden of a long-gone restaurant produced plants that make several generations every year... goldfinches like them. The harsh freezes of March knocked off all the existing plants of Salvia coccinea/Hummingbird sage, and germination of what seeds still lay in the ground was slow. Now in September, the annual Hummingbird sage blooms in every corner of the garden, red, orange, pink, coral and white. Planting them together near the fluorescent 'Catawba' crepe myrtle was not my idea! 

Some seedlings are promises rather than Plants. Here are a few bluebonnet seedlings with cilantro. If at least a few of these sprouts can survive snails, pillbugs & cold freezes, we'll be very happy.

The passalong plants of September are not reseeders - they are houseplants, bulbs, native plants and perennials.

One small passalong Stapelia plant from my Aunt Phyll has supplied many rooted cuttings over the years - this one is blooming 25 years after she gave me the original plant.

Whether you call them Oxblood Lilies or Schoolhouse Lilies, anyone who gets a passalong Rhodophiala bifida bulb is a lucky Austin gardener. Most of the bulbs in my garden are offsets from the originals shared by MSS of Zanthan Gardens in 2006. The first flowers were open on September 8th this year

The last of the red bells hung on today, September 30th

Pam Penick of Digging and Lawn Gone fame gave me this passalong Mexican Oregano in February 2007 - it's happy with the recent weather

In May 2007, Marthachick gave me a sack full of unidentified Crinum bulbs - I planted them all over and one of them ended up in a large permanent container on the edge of the patio.
The very first bloom on September 19th was a lovely surprise.

From every angle, it's a winner!

In spring of 2008 my friend Ellen gave me a start from her Blue Butterfly clerodendron/Clerodendrum ugandense, one that's been seen in many a blog post. This well-established plant froze hard to the roots in March but recovered to start blooming in late summer. New flower heads should keep developing until a freeze stops the fun. And it's cool to know that Ellen's plant had been passed along to her from her mother-in-law. I've tried my hand at propagating Blue Butterfly from cuttings with very limited success, but I won't give up yet - it needs to be passed along to someone else.

A couple of years after we moved here, I bought a few bulbs of Lycoris radiata/Red Spider Lilies AKA Hurricane lilies and planted them. They made leaves, but I never saw a flower. Then in November 2008, MSS of Zanthan Gardens divided and shared some of her Red Spider Lilies. The Divas of the Dirt had made a sunny new bed in the front yard earlier that year so I tucked some of the bulbs in there. In 2009 every Lycoris produced leaves only, but in 2010 the remnants of Hurricane Hermine arrived with 13" of rain and tada! Hurricane lilies. This year a few inches of rain were enough to coax them out.

Some of the Lycoris were planted near the Sweet Olive but it was too shady. Last fall I transplanted the bulbs to this bulb bed and they responded like this.

Did you notice the dates on the above passalong plants? I really expected that by now the bulbs would have flourished and increased so they could be freely shared - but that didn't happen. At least some of each plant is alive, but year after year of heat and drought seems to have kept these plants from multiplying the way they once did.

The final passalong plant for September is a new one to me - GoldenEye Sunflower/Viguiera dentata. It's native to Central Texas.

Tina of the My Gardener Says blog sent me home with two starter plants last November, saying the finches would like them.
I planted them near the back fence and crossed my fingers.

The little plants were alive through winter, but the killer March deep-freeze knocked them back to below ground. I was thrilled to see leaves emerge in mid-April and watched the 2 plants slowly bulk up through the summer. Buds appeared earlier in September and then the golden daisies began to open

I like their sunny faces, and the plant is a good size for this spot.

Thank you for a flowery September to so many sharing gardeners! To MSS at Zanthan Gardens  to Pam at Digging, and Tina at My Gardener Says, thank you to MarthaChick, thank you good friend Ellen and thank you to dear Aunt Phyll.
This post, Passalongs and Reseeders Say Happy Autumn, was written by Annie in Austin for her Transplantable Rose blog.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Clerodendrum incisa - the Musical Notes Plant

DECEMBER 5, 2014: Are you seeing this blog post on blogspot? Or are you seeing it at TexasOutdoorsmen dot com? 

if you're seeing my posts and photos on the TexasOutdoorsmen dot com site, it is absolutely without my permission. This website has been copying my garden blog and garden blogs belonging to many of my garden friends, and we want it to stop.

If you live in Central Texas you probably know one of the most interesting nurseries in Austin- Barton Springs Nursery on Bee Caves Road

It's a fine place to buy full-size plants, shrubs, trees, native plants and roses. For experimentally minded gardeners, it's a great place to find odd little inexpensive rooted cuttings to play around with.

The thermometer stood at 100F one afternoon in June 2013 but my friend Carole and I felt like poking around a nursery so we headed to Barton Springs. I was familiar with some of the small plants I brought home  -Salvia discolor/Andean Silver Sage; variegated Jewels of Opar, and Dicliptera suberecta/Uruguayan Hummingbird Plant. Here are the Jewels of Opar with portulaca last summer.

Those three plants lived for awhile, made a few flowers and died over winter.

Another little starter plant was on a table with annuals and herbs - it was some previously unheard of kind of Clerodendron and my internal Plant-Collector sensor started chiming. I needed it! Once repotted and on the part sun/part shade patio, I made sure the little Clerodendrum incisa was handwatered every couple of days. It survived, grew at a reasonable rate from June until October, and was totally ignorable. Then surprise! 

One stem on the plant developed white buds that looked a little like musical notes - and even more like golf clubs. The plant popped a few more flowers in November.

According to the Dave's Garden information on Clerodendrum incisa, it's only hardy to zone 9, so would almost certainly die if left outside in my part of Austin in winter. The pot is somewhere in this photo, one of dozens of marginal plants that spent last winter jammed into the garage.

The winter had some very harsh spells and some of the plants froze inside the garage. The Clerodendrum incisum lost its leaves and looked dormant but the stems were still flexible so I had hope. The pot went outside again in spring and the plant slowly woke up. Once again it grew steadily, looking plain but not unattractive. I kept it watered and a few times gave it a little diluted John's Recipe.

This year the first bloom cycle started with uncurling buds in late August and I found myself completely entranced.

The fully developed flowers don't last long but are bewitching.

One stem would rest for awhile then another flush of buds developed. These began in early September.

After a few days, they once again begin to resemble musical notes.

Sometimes the buds became very elongated.

Once open, the delicate flowers don't last long.

This flush has many clusters of buds so you can see the flowers in different stages.

Even the fallen flowers are decorative scattered on the ground near the pot.

After another short rest, a flush of new buds is expanding by Sept 17th.

In this photo from September 22nd, I think there are tiny ants crawling on the buds.

September 23rd - the elongated buds have arranged themselves into a chord.

September 24 - fully opened flowers in closeup.

Also September 24 - a few feet away is a tall plant of a Clerodendron relative, the Blue Butterfly plant, Clerodendrum ugandense AKA Rotheca myricoides 'Ugandense'

In a milder climate the Musical Notes Plant can grow into a small shrub, but it will be treated like a tender plant here and come inside for winter.

The post, Clerodendrum Incisa - the Musical Notes Plant, was written by Annie in Austin for her Transplantable Rose blog, and is dedicated to my music-making friends.