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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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Friday, June 09, 2006

Pink- A -Phobic

Were there too many pink rooms in my Boomer childhood, too many pink sheets and towels piled high at bridal showers, with subsequent weddings themed Blush & Bashful? Could it have been an overdose of girly gift shopping in the Pink aisle of the toy store? Whatever the reason, I can put up with a small amount of this color, but I don’t love it … yet it appears uninvited all over my garden.

Nature is against me: A group of white dianthus plants may suddenly display a pink heart, as the default-color seedlings sprout and bloom, their roots too entangled to separate. All the peachy, yellow, white and dark purple verbena will die, but the neon pink plant thrives and lives through the winter, ready to resume its battle with the pale yellow Ladybanks rose. The seed packet shows vibrant purple zinnias, not the actual washed-out pink ones that appear. The skullcap tags read ‘Cherry red’ but the plant shouts pink!

Back in 2004, as we pulled in the driveway of our just-purchased home, the very air seemed to have a roseate cast to it. The crepe myrtles were in hot pink bloom, lightly frosted with the powdery mildew that usually accompanies the flowers. Our neighbors to the North had several large trees; the East-side neighbors grew a row of 15-footers along our mutual back fence, while the South-side neighbor had a mere half-dozen in his yard. More crepes sprinkled across the street added to the spectacle. On our quarter-acre we counted twenty-two Lagerstroemia “WayTooPink”. Our guess is that the eight largest trees were intentionally planted. The rest were 4 to 7 feet in height, apparently seedlings that had been allowed to grow against the windows, inside the boughs of flowering shrubs, and right on top of the few existing roses.

We took out many of the pink myrtles, pruned and cared for the rest, and as you can see, they're blooming again. Over time the numbers were reduced to 7 trees. Last year we released two semi-dwarf, mildew resistant crepe myrtles from the deck containers where they’d sulked for years, planting them into the yellow/blue/purple border, where they are now opening white flowers.

Once rescued and revived, the climbing rose bloomed pink.

I love it.


  1. The same thing happened to us. When we bought our house, it already had an established pink crepe myrtle, which we kept. We bought one that was supposed to be red, but turned pink once we planted it. We also planted some "red" hyacinth that came up bright pink.

  2. I like your new blog, Annie. Can't wait to read more.

  3. I think this particular color of crape myrtle, dubbed "watermelon pink" is the official flower of Austin. I can't remember where I read that...it was years ago. I just remember thinking, "ugh". I have some inherited ones in my yard two, but they are over 25 feet tall and I rarely see them.

    When I chose my own crape myrtles I was careful to pick a reddish violet variety called 'Catawba'. Depending on how broad your definition is, they might be mistaken for pink.

  4. I love a garden with bursts of hot pink. You already mentioned the Way Too Pink Crape Myrtle but I also love the Cercis occidentalis, the Western Redbud is spectacular with its winter display.


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