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.
Our previous house had a deck, and we wanted to grow plants with white blooms on it, to glow in the evening when we were in the pool. We chose a semi-dwarf crepe myrtle, Lagerstroemia ‘Acoma’, for its white flowers and smaller size.
The original plan was to grow the crepe myrtles in pots for a year or two, then plant them in front of the house. That plan fizzled, and our two young trees were trapped in their large cylindrical, clay containers for more than 5 years, where they rarely produced a flower. By the time we moved here, they were barely 2-feet tall, and they’d contorted themselves into twisted, cascading bonsai specimens, sending their almost leafless branches down over the sides of the crumbling pots toward the deck, away from the sun. Using them as normal trees was no longer an option, and we were advised to just ditch them and start over.
But Philo & I like to experiment, so we gave them a second chance, pruning out the interiors, and coaxing them into a sort of espalier form along the fence. Two years of reshaping have encouraged them to grow trunks, with branches arching upward and outward, and the Acomas now graze the top of the 6-foot privacy fence. By next summer, they should filter our view of the neighbors’ pink tree. The trunk shape is spare, flat & angular, while the branch tips bend with the weight of the flowers, and there is enough air and light around the trees for other plants to grow.
Our Acomas bear little resemblance to the multi-trunked crepe myrtles growing like separate, huge, stalked bouquets around the shopping malls, for their charm is not that of a natural plant grown well to its full potential. Instead these blooming survivors cast weird, skeletal, interesting shadows on the fence.