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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, October 13, 2006


When you look at this photo the conifers might tell you that it wasn’t taken in Texas – in fact it wasn’t taken in this century. A woman named Pam snapped the shutter in June of 1993, as she looked out on the Vermont countryside from the Tearoom of the VonTrapp estate. Pam was part of a group of gardening friends who were touring New England, but not as part of a garden club or a horticulture class. Back in those pre-blogging days, they’d all met on the Prodigy garden bulletin board, where they found soulmates – other people who were obsessed with perennials, bulbs, flowering shrubs and creating personal landscapes.

The Prodigy gardeners went to Readsboro, Vermont where these Hostas graced the grounds of North Hill. Garden authors and partners Joe Eck and Wayne Winterrowd started this garden in 1977 and thirty years later, they’re still holding open days for groups and fundraisers.

I was one of those long ago perennial maniacs, going online as Kat in N-IL whenever I had time to spare. Despite having only plain text to express our thoughts, slow response times, single phone lines with dial-up, and no way to post a photo or a drawing, it was addictive and exhilarating. Since I couldn’t meet with the others in New England, the garden at North Hill and the Von Trapp estate came to me in photos sent around the country after the trip.

This is also from Vermont - I think it's at Cady's Falls Nursery in Stowe. We never met in person so I can’t even put names to the faces, but loved their words and wonder where they are and if any of them are now garden bloggers, too.

Shout out to all you Gardeners from the Prodigy bulletin boards – Niko in Norwalk, Connecticut, Allen in Linwood, New Jersey, Marion from Waterbury, Vermont, Denise in Minnesota, Ellen & Deb from Illinois, Margaret in New York, Pam in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, Bargyla in San Diego, California, Don from Saginaw, Michigan, Joyce in South Carolina, Nancy from Norcross, Georgia and all the others - I hope you’re still in the garden!


  1. It seems to me that would make you a pioneer of sorts in the gardening/computer interface. I didn't even own a computer until 2003.

    I hope some of your old acquaintances find this and speak up.

  2. Christopher, it would be fun if that happened. But blogs are better, and I've had the great fortune of meeting other bloggers in person.

    My husband bought our first PC in the late seventies, when the data came in via a small tape recorder. Our older kids were in grade school at the time, and they dove into the technology. Within a few years they were building computers from kits, and writing their own game programs.

    I used the computer for word processing but never was a gamer. Garden conversations brought me into the computer age!


  3. Definitely a pioneer . . . I've also been to North Hill. It's hard to believe it's the work of two men. And they are both excellent garden writers.

  4. What interesting history! I had never heard about the Prodigy garden bulletin board.

    The first photo looked familiar - then I read where it was taken. My brother lives in Stowe - and we've wandered the Von Trapp estate many times. I love it up there.

  5. What a great memory you have for old friends. The garden and that memory are powerful glues.
    In the first garden-picture, that looks like my favorite hosta: Francis William I think it's called. ML of Full Fathom.


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