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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, March 02, 2007

Flowery First Weekend In March

My post is just photos today - we're in the middle of several projects. Up in Northwest Austin spring comes a little later than it does to Pam's garden in Central Austin, but we're catching up!

Last week it was all fuzzy buds, but today our neighbor's Saucer Magnolia is opening on the other side of the back fence.

One of our redbuds is this Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy', planted in fall of 2004. It's barely grown in height, but the branches are fuller, and each spring there have been more flowers dotted along the branches. Some of the buds froze and dropped off when our temperatures fell to the low twenties a couple of weeks ago - how wise of this tree to hold more buds in reserve. When the leaves emerge, they're a dark purple color, which fades to green in the heat of summer. The evergreen vine behind the tree is Star Jasmine, Trachaelospermum jasminoides, which will have fragrant white flowers in late spring.

The Carolina Jessamine, Gelsemium sempervirens, is now in full, fragrant bloom.

The coral honeysuckle, Lonicera sempervirens, is blooming on the arch. In the background you can see the still-blooming Camellia japonica 'Pius IX' and the top of the tall saucer magnolia. The tree trunk is the pecan tree.

Tea Olive, Osmanthus fragrans, is mostly evergreen in our yard [although cold weather can damage some foliage] and it blooms in winter.
Although the individual flowers are tiny, just a few open blooms can fill the side garden with their fragrance. That reddish color is new leaves forming at the ends of the branches. We had one in a container at our previous house which we planted in back. We liked it so much that we bought a second Tea Olive last fall, and so far it's doing really well.

The Meyer's Lemon has been out on the park bench for air and a little sun. There are a few new baby lemons! The tree is coming back inside tonight, just in cast the 'possible light freeze' that is predicted for both tonight and Sunday nights turns out to be more than a possibility.


  1. I'd forgotten about tea olives. I'd like to try one someday. That fragrance!

  2. How lovely to have blossoms! The Carolina Jessamine is looking very colorful, and I love that coral honeysuckle.
    Wish I could smell the Tea Olive. Oh and lemons, Jasmine, red bud (so that's a red bud :) and Magnolias....the envy is beginning again. I have to leave!
    Thanks for sharing your blooms :)

  3. I always enjoy your beautiful pictures and descriptions so much. How do you get to know all this stuff?!? I now have a yard, beautiful trees, and empty flowerbeds, and I don't know ANYTHING (except I'm pretty good at not killing off my indoor philodendrons). I need to go out and buy something along the lines of "Gardening for Botanicidal Maniacs."

    The back yard has chain-link fence all around, instead of privacy fencing, and the yards are not large. So I'm thinking honeysuckles for starters...

  4. Annie, I love this. You are quite ahead of us here in Charlotte as we are still having below freezing nights (20's tonight). There is so much I want to try growing on this new lot of ours...my mind is just spinning. Don't you just love those Magnolias?

  5. I should do a Meyer Lemon. Maybe next year. I hope you don't get a freeze.

  6. Annie, it is interesting to see the saucer magnolias and red beds blooming in your garden, which we will have blooming here in about another 6 weeks, I'd guess. Hope you got a lot done in your garden today!

  7. Dear Annie,

    How are your sweet peas looking? I spotted three tiny sprouts today. Again no redbuds on the redbud tree, though. How tall and old must it be before we see pruple?

    Happy spring,

  8. Annie,
    Borrowed views are wonderful. The japanese gardeners incorporated borrowed landscape in their creations- not so much individual trees or plants but hills/mountains and forests. A neighbor's nice specimen tree could be included in a landscape design. As we remove more lawn we view the neighbors' yard, mostly in grass as an extension of our own.

    Our Forest Pansys took a year to get established. The first year's growth was almost nil but last year it grew well but not as vigorously as the regular redbuds which I have to prune yearly. The form is more gracile than the regular one too with long slender branches it's hard to think it can support so many heavy leaves. It's probably good that yours is growing slowly adding branch thickness to support the large leaves. It will probably grow rapidly this year.

    I read that Osmanthus was one of the must have fragrant plants but to my knowledge I have not seen or smelled the fragrance of one. It looks like a handsome shrub so I'm tempted to try one even if they are barely able to survive in our plant zone. Daphne was another choice which I tried but failed miserably at but I may give it a shot again. Thanks for posting the picture.

  9. I love the saucer magnolias. They do grow down in town where it is more protected but I don't know if one would do well here. It'll be 7 or 8 weeks before they bloom here. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Oh Annie, you have a flowering honeysuckle already. I have to wait at least 3 more months for that. What a lucky girl you are. And then there is the trachywhatsit jasminoides, the plant on my got to have list.

    OK, I'm slightly turning green here. ;-)

    Thanks for the lovely pictures of so many wonderful plants.

  11. Whatever.
    It's 9° here, right now. Don't you feel bad about shamelessly posting all that foliage and those blooms? Do you know what that can do to a Yankee's heart, this time of year?
    tsk, tsk!!!

  12. Jasmine! And, tea olives and honeysuckle...your garden must be a total fragrant delight!

    I confess I have the world's saddest Meyer Lemon stranded in my basement. I just hope it can hang on for a bit longer...then it can go outside and grow! It did fine last year, but this year it really seems to have sulked in the basement.

    I just love fragrant gardens! These pictures were a nice treat today!

  13. Pam, did you grow up with Tea Olives? I'd only read about them until we came here and bought the first one.

    Kerri, I'd forgotten we first met through redbuds:) The magnolia is pretty, but has no fragrance.

    Beth, thank you. I'm old enough to be your mother, so have had some time to work on it! You'll have so much fun learning! Have you picked up that free Grow Green book from the City of Austin? You can find it at local nurseries, called "Native and Adapted Landscape Plants".

    Mary, last year everything was blooming, the tomatoes were planted, then we got a freeze - and the magnolia flowers all turned brown.

    Gary, if you have a south facing wall they'll take some frost. Some people put Christmas lights on under row cover to get the trees through the winter.

    Carol, the Forest Pansy is a little chancy - I also have a Texas Redbud. It appears that going straight south from Indianapolis, you'd have to go about 700 miles to get to Austin's latitude... we're pretty far south.

    Julie, there are two tiny sprouts just this morning... hope there's time for a blossom before we start to fry.

    Ki, I first heard the term shakkei some years ago, and had it magneted to the refrigerator as a reminder. But for most of my gardening life, there's been very little to borrow. In fact, I've noticed that from various neighbor's yards over the years, it was my plantings that were improving their views instead.

    Because of Austin's longterm water situation, I don't want fast growth on the Forest Pansy, but hope it can get a decent root system before making top growth.
    We have a Texas Redbud, too, which is drought tolerant once established.

    Hi Apple! You've really had a long, rough winter and I hope your spring is beautiful. And maybe full of lilacs?

    Yolanda Elizabet, this one is a native coral honeysuckle. It has to bloom early, because in mid-summer everything just sort of stops while the heat engulfs us.

    Sissy, you know darned well that you'll be posting beautiful flowers in summer, when we'll he stuck with a few crepe myrtles and the boring Lantana:)

    Hi Gotta Garden - my lemon is dropping leaves like mad - it doesn't look too happy today. I hope yours pulls through!
    I keep trying for fragrance - but some things don't turn out as advertised, like last year's fragrant Corkscrew vine which turned out to be a non-fragrant Snail vine instead. And the native coral honeysuckle is not fragrant - just pretty!


  14. We borrow the view of the neighbors' birch trees and expanse of lawn on one side and nothing from the other. The view back was great but no longer with a new house directly behind - I call it the barracks, ugly, ugly, ugly.

    As most of the neighbors have minimal plantings, I too like to think that we are beautifying all of the neighborhood though they probably think we're just garden crazed.

  15. Such beautiful pictures - how I pine for fingers in my garden. As of right now I'd have to shovel several inches of snow and ice off to start. But the good news is - it's 42 degrees out today - excuse me while I run out and get my gardening tools ready! :)

  16. Regarding the Meyer lemon, I have one in a pot here in Portland OR and leave it out on the patio for most of the year. If a light freeze is predicted, I throw a blanket over it and drag the pot closer to the house. I only bring it in the house when there's a prediction of extended freezing temps where the temp doesn't get above freezing during the day.

    Otherwise, they're pretty hardy plants!

  17. Ki, I saw the photo on your garden blog, and it's an enormous house.
    Could you imagine a subdivision designed to attract the 'garden crazed'? What would it be like?

    21 Charles Street, but while you're waiting you have EAGLES! Your blog makes me want to see Maine.

    Welcome, Ellen! Your plan was mine when I bought the Meyer's lemon last spring. Then last fall I posted on my indecision concerning what to do with this lemon tree.
    I brought it in to a bay window. We enjoyed the lemons that were on it and then had the scent of lemon flowers followed by new fruit developing. So I'm glad it came in, because we didn't have light frosts this year. The temperature fell to 22º and at one point our city was encased in ice for over 24 hours. I'm glad yours is doing well on the patio!


  18. Thanks for the beautiful pictures! I'm still several weeks behind you for such "spring action", but seeing yours makes me feel closer!


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