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.
Under his tall and tough exterior, my dad was a flowering shrub kind of guy. A few years after his return from World War II, he and mom bought an empty one-acre lot out in “the sticks” to the southwest of Chicago, where they built the only home they’d ever own. The yard tree behind my father’s childhood bungalow on the South side was an Ailanthus, often called Tree of Heaven. If you’re a movie fan, you know it as A Tree that Grows in Brooklyn. Dad planted a seedling from Grandma’s Tree of Heaven on the treeless acre, along with other species recommended for ‘fast shade’, like Silver Maples & Honey Locust. Some grew, some died, and over time my parents added young Spruces and Junipers, Yews, a Sycamore, a Saucer Magnolia, various Ashes, a Catalpa, Pears, an Apple whip and Bur Oaks.
Dad planted the front and sides of the lot with flowering shrubs: Lilacs, Snowball Viburnum, Forsythias, Weigelas, Annabelle Hydrangeas, Honeysuckles, Rose-of-Sharon, Bridal Wreath Spiraea, and my favorite fragrant Mockorange, cloned from a plant that his mother brought to Chicago from her family’s Michigan farm. When we moved from Illinois to Texas nearly seven years ago, I hand-carried a 6” seedling, a descendent of the original plant. It spent six years in containers, growing to 20 inches in height, and in February the little heirloom was finally planted in a special new garden, an area that is still being renovated. I was happy to see its fragrant white flowers appear in June. One of my songs is called “Everybody Needs A Secret Garden”, and now Dad’s Mockorange blooms in mine.