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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, November 11, 2006

Wish for a Walk

The soldier in the photo is my dad, still recuperating from the malaria he contracted in the South Pacific during World War II. A few months after he was sent back to the US, my Mom took the train from Chicago to Virginia for their wartime wedding, along with two of her sisters and my dad's baby sister - that's one of my aunts on the left.
November 11th was a good day to remember my father, because he was a veteran, and to remember my aunt, because November 11th was her birthday – the day was known as “Peace Day” back in the twenties when she was born. I talked to my mom earlier today and she thinks that the flowers in my aunt’s hand were Sweetpeas.
If my dad were alive and here at my house, and if my aunt were alive and came for a visit, we'd all be taking a garden walk together, because they were gardeners, too. I can’t take them on a November tour, but I can take you.

The leaves of the hardy white Hibiscus moscheutos ‘Blue River II’ are one of the few things in the garden that have changed to a yellow autumn color. The Salvia elegans/ Pineapple sage is at its reddest, and the Salvia guaranitica is at its bluest at this time of year.
If Blogger would be ever work right, there'd be a photo of Mexican Marigold/Tagetes lucida right here. Mexican Marigold doesn’t bloom until late fall, and the Rosemary is also blooming right now. Mexican mint marigold leaves can be used to give a tarragon flavor in cooking, helpful in Central Texas where tarragon is almost impossible to grow. Whether I cook with them or not, the color is just right for November.
The Snail Vine/Phaseolous caracalla has been a solid performer since spring.

It's been covered in flowers during summer, and is still making buds and blooms today, but in all those months, I’ve never seen a seed pod. This vine has completely engulfed the obelisk, needing frequent clipping – it's been two weeks since the last clean-up, and the vine is sending long tendrils in every direction, reaching out all over the bed, trying to strangle the Duranta erecta/Skyflower.
The rampant nature of the snail vine makes me think I’d rather put something else on the obelisk next spring. The vegetation is very densely packed, forming into a huge blob toward the top that casts too much shade on the other plants, as if it's trying to shade out whatever it hasn’t been able to choke to death. Snail vine is not supposed to be hardy, so I probably won’t have to evict it, just let winter edit this part of the garden. Perhaps I'll let the Moon Vine grow on this obelisk next year, so the flowers can rise higher that the fence, and will have four sides on which to flaunt those fragrant white flowers, instead of the flat, 6-foot fence.

There are signs of autumn here, but they’re quite different from the gold and red leaves of the North.
I know it’s fall when my Camellia japonica ‘Pius IX’ starts swelling round buds all over the branches.

There’s a Sasanqua camellia in the garden, too, but it didn’t like the weather last summer and is sulking this fall, without a single bud. The japonica has had full years and sparse years, but ever since I bought it in the autumn of 2001, each winter there have been flowers.

The other signal that autumn has arrived is a tree in bud, and I so wish my dad and aunt could have seen this one.
It’s the lovely Loquat tree, [Eriobotrya japonica] stretching out long panicles of flower buds, which will open in a few weeks, sending their fra
grance all over the garden.


  1. It's nice to see what fall looks like in your garden, Annie. I didn't know that Sasanqua camellia would grow here, even if yours is sulking. It's a plant that made a huge impression on me as a child. I'd make little boats out of magnolia leaves and sticks and put beautiful sasanqua camellia flowers on top, and set them to sail on the rainwater atop our winter-covered swimming pool.

  2. I'm not sure if they actually grow here, Pam - it's more like they are being held captive here! Lots of soil amendments and acidifying, ironizing seaweed drenches and lots of coffee grounds.
    That's why I'm always up so late - drinking coffee for the garden!


  3. Dear Annie,

    Wonderful photo of your parents and your aunt. Your mother is "happiness" personified! Is she wearing flowers in her hair or is that a hat? And corsage is fabu. (At least it looks like a corsage to me.)

    What a beautiful and personal tribute on Veterans Day.


  4. Annie, such a lovely tour and remembrance of your father. Thanks for sharing this with all of us. If my father were alive, he'd be helping me clean up in the garden today. I think I inherited from him the trait of being "quite satisfied" when the garden is all tidy and nearly ready for winter!

  5. Annie, what a nice remembrance for your father and aunt, I love the photo! And thanks for the walk in your garden!

  6. I really like the old photographs. While knowing it is your folks wedding picture, seeing pictures from that time and into the 50's it just seems people took more pride in how they dressed than we do today.

    There seems to be a trend too in vintage profile pictures. Are you ladies just taking new digital shots of the old pictures?

    What touched me the most was "if they were here we would be having a garden tour because they were gardeners too." That is very much how it was and is for me. I took garden tours with both sides of my grandparents as a child and my parents to this day. It is a love passed down through the generations.

  7. What a lovely post, Annie. I am always struck by your ability to tie together past and present, gardening and non-gardening.

    Your picture of the loquat is lovely--I like the way you captured the light coming through the leaves on the left.

  8. Thanks for this delightful stroll Annie. Your dad and aunt would've thoroughly enjoyed it I'm sure. What a handsome soldier he was and those are 2 pretty ladies. Your mom is looking extremely happy :)
    Thank the Lord for all our Veterans who were willing to serve, and for those who are serving now.
    I've learned this year how wonderfully varied Salvia is and want to grow some varieties of it in the future. The snail vine sure is prolific! I love the flower.
    My mum grew beautiful camelias in Australia. I adore the scent and the creamy flower!

  9. The pictures are great! you must have negan very early as the first one your dad looks really young...you said you'd took all the pictures...sorry Italian humor...
    good pictures really!
    Pace e Bene
    PS: I haven't touched them, so please no flying monkeys or whatever you said that I haven't understood

  10. Freddie, that's pretty funny!! No - I didn't take the wedding photo years before I was born - but I think ownership of the original photo, as well as scanning and formatting make it 'my own work'.

    This blog has gone in different directions from what I originally planned. Somehow the vintage photos sneaked in. Your new blog may take you to surprising places, too.

    I don't know how you arrived here from Italy, and unfortunately I cannot speak or read Italian, but I've always liked Franciscans!


  11. Annie: Your dad is wonderful looking! His face haunted me during your garden stroll. How wonderful that you had such a father. Tell me if he was with you and your mom growing up - and, if so, where he served in the South Pacific - and in what branch of the service. ML of Full Fathom F.

  12. My dad spent nearly three years in New Guinea, in the Army Corps of Engineers, before the malaria. He was with us until his five children were grown and knew most of his grandchildren, but is known to his great-grandchildren only through images and stories.

    My mother's joke has always been, "I chased him until he caught me", adding that at the age of 17, after they first met, she knew they would one day be married.


  13. Its so true that a walk through a garden is a way to share our love. My Dad just died and I think of him whenever in my garden. We always took a stroll and chatted about the plants and their progress. He was in the Australian Army in New Guinea during WW2 and suffered malaria too. He was thrilled to meet his first great granddaughter just before he died. I will pull out his last tomato plants this weekend.

  14. Helen, I don't know how you arrived here, but your words make me feel as if we're somehow connected. My dad died in 1997, and the pain may not be as sharp, but we all still miss him. I'm glad your dad had a chance to meet his great-granddaughter and hope she'll grow up loving old family stories, garden strolls and tomatoes.



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