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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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Saturday, October 07, 2006

Full Moon in October

A few days ago I picked up the camera, and tried to catch the Moonvine Flowers gleaming in the light of an almost-full moon. They’ve been blooming off and on since July, entwined with a Clitoria ternatea/ Blue Pea Vine.

While trying to take a photo of the Moonvine, something fluttered in front of me – an adult Sphinx moth. I used the flash, and caught him at work. The eyes look pink in the photo, and that’s how they looked in real life.

Last April, before my debut as a garden blogger, I’d taken photos of a White Sphinx Moth caterpillar on my Gaura. Pam/Digging posted a photo of her Sphinx caterpillar around the same time, a sort of bonding experience – for me, anyway!
I wonder how many generations of White-lined Sphinx moths have followed since April?

The Moonvines had followed the support wires, and one tendril had reached up to climb into the neighbors’ pink crepe myrtle, opening a flower 9-feet in the air… in the dark it looked suspended rather than supported.

I was awake late last night, and at 2 AM, decided to go on the patio to stand under the full moon.
The October moon is usually the Hunter’s Moon, and some towns, like West Lafayette, Indiana, are holding Hunter’s Moon Festivals this weekend.
But according to the Farmer's Almanac, the date of last night’s full moon was closer to the equinox than the date for the September moon, making the October moon the Full Harvest Moon, with the Hunter’s Moon still to come in November.

I opened the patio door and walked out, loving the way that moonlight can make shadows, sure that I could actually see in colors. Ten yards to my left the white discs of the Moonvines hung on the fence. As I turned toward the fence, something low and round came barreling out of the dark corner of the fence corner straight at me – just as my brain said, ‘neighbor’s cat’, the head came up, we locked eyes and I saw the mask. I stood still, and stared back - the raccoon decided to rotate and run, climbing the fence and disappearing in a couple of seconds. He may have known it was the Harvest Moon, but wasn’t sure whether I was celebrating the Hunter’s.


  1. Perhaps I will wander to the top of the drive and take a shot of the Moon Flower tonight. I planted it and a perennial deep blue morning glory on the neighbor's horrible chainlink fence that runs between our drives. They took off and covered the fence in a hurry. Theirs is the sunny side of the fence and they got most of the flowers and I got the dead interior view of the vine. Lopita, the grandmother told me before she passed away how much she loved the blue morning glories because the reminded her of her childhood.

    Then a new bug arrived and put a major hurtin' on the morning glory and most of it was pulled off the fence.

    The Moon Vine persists I think because it sets seed freely and doesn't seem as tasty to the bugs. The top of my drive is a gathering spot for the expanding feral cat colony that the crazy old neighbor lady let loose on us all. I will expect to see them there, but you never know it could be a Mongoose that scurries away in the Full Moon Light.

  2. You're such a great storyteller, Annie. I aspire to be both witty and concise some day...

    That's a great shot of the sphinx moth on the moonvines. I got just one moonflower this year--and was lucky to get that, because we don't have a long enough season here, really. Planting them in Ohio means taking your chances!

  3. There is indeed nothing like a moonlit night, especially when it shows off white flowers and creatures of the night, like your sphynx moth.

    I spent 4 years in West Lafayette, Indiana at Purdue University but unfortunately did not have sense enough to go to the Feast of Hunter's Moon at least once. I've heard it is quite an interesting event.

    Thanks for a lovely post.

  4. I see you're interested in gardening and have beautiful plant photos and interesting posts about gardening.

    Love the Spinx moth - I've never seen it before!

    I want to invite you to participate in our Green Thumb Sunday blogroll. It's for gardeners or gardener wanna be's, house plant enthusiasts, and nature lovers.

    All you need to do to participate is to post a picture on Sundays (at least once a month) of a plant in your yard or that you are growing, happened to see somewhere, a landscape or nature scene.

    And to put up the (blogroll) links to the other participants, not so many yet, on your blogs sidebar.

    Sounds easy doesn't it?

    Come on, it's a lot of fun and we're gonna LOVE your GTS posts :-)

    We would be thrilled to have you with us!

    You can have a look at one of my GTS posts here:
    (no need to write that much if you dont want to ;-)

    Please let me know if you have any questions!

  5. My moon vines have been reseeding for years - and I hate weeding them out, so everybody gets one that comes within 10' of me in the spring. My house is on stilts, so I plant them at the base of a trellis that goes up to the deck - and it climbs that trellis and takes over the deck railing - I love sitting out there at night, watching the hummingbird moths. Nice story.

  6. Great photo of the sphinx moth, Annie! Yes, it was a bonding experience for me too, talking sphinx moths with you last spring.

    We saw the Harvest Moon rising orange over the treetops last Friday. Tonight we went to Zilker Garden's Japanese Moon Festival. Pale orange paper lanterns hung from the trees all through the Japanese garden, like so many full moons. The effect was magical. We left before the real moon rose, unfortunately. I'd have loved to have seen it juxtaposed with those lanterns.

  7. I'm always a little shocked with wildlife up close and personal:)

    I love your photos - seeing a sphinx moth for the first time was a double take for me. I thought it was a hummingbird at first (but then I am nearsighted...)

    You have such a gift for story- maybe you will be one of those bloggers who get their published as a book.

  8. Sensational moon seeking sphinx moth. Quite the Moonvine you have. I like the suspense at the end of the story--I did wonder who was 'under' the mask. Glad it was a raccoon. It was an outstanding harvest moon!

  9. I apologize for being a complete stranger posting on your blog, and also for any interuption or distraction I may cause.

    But, in my numerous searches for an answer as to why and how I can smell millipedes and their stinky stench from remote areas of my house, I stumbled upon a post you left on another blog, but I didn't know if you would get my response if I left it as a comment there....

    Everything else I've read talks about how millipedes leave a scent if you handle them, but that doesn't tell me how it is that I can smell them from afar, and I can track them down, as oddly as that sounds. Apparently, you and your son can as well. I just wanted to let you know you are not alone, and this drives me crazy as well. And guess what? I live in Austin too! I live near the greenbelt. Maybe that is a trait specific to Austin millipedes? My boyfriend cannot smell this stink, by the way. Anyway, you can tell your husband that a fellow Austinite can smell the stench of millipedes, and that it drives me nutty.

    Again, sorry to interupt. It does bring me comfort to know that the trackable stink is not just in my head. : )

  10. Alicia, you're not interrupting - this is just a garden blog, and it's fun to hear from you. I love it that you can smell the stinkerpedes! There's supposed to be some huge book specifically about Texas bugs etc. Maybe the millipedes would be described there. My husband heard that they're called "Shitworms" in ElPaso, but the ones I was commenting on belonged to La Gringa in Honduras.

    Jenn, Kim, Ilona and Karen - thank you. Since you are all writers yourselves, those kind words mean even more. And I wish you blooming Moon vines next year.

    Christopher, I'll bet your Moon vine photo would be wonderful, and if you do manage to snap a mongoose, please post the photo! I grew up reading Rikki Tikki Tavi.

    Carol, I have friends who drive from west of Chicago to West Lafayette every October, usually with kids along. I wonder if any college students ever show up?

    Pam, all the houses are on stilts at our vacation island, so I've seen how cool that multi-story climbing vine thing can be.

    Pam/Digging - you put photos of the Japanese Moon Festival on your gardenblog and it looks wonderful! I need to go to that festival next year.

    mrslifecruiser, thanks for stopping by, but I think I'll pass on your offer.


  11. I see how that moth could be mistaken for a hummingbird. I love your combination - moon vine and Clitoria ternatea. I had both growing on a wooden trellis in Dallas and I miss them.

  12. Beautifuly pictures. I really want to grow the Moonflower.

    MAN!! That is a huge caterpillar! I've never seen one like that in real life!


  13. The moonvine is lovely Annie. Your shots came out well. It's a nice bonus that you happened to catch the Sphinx Moth too. Pretty caterpillar.
    We've seen racoons crossing the road at night several times lately....right in front of the car. They live dangerously! Cute creatures they are:)
    Loved your story.

  14. Nice story..with nice pictures to go along! I hope to get these kinds if visuals going on my blog soon with a new camera!


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