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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 30, 2007

THOUGHT POPS, Edition Three

I WON A MAJOR AWARD! And it was Fra-gi-lé!

Did any Christmas Story fans immediately think “leg lamp”? The box was smaller, but I won something equally cool,
and all I had to do was identify this mysterious photo on La Gringa’s Blogocito:

There are lots of cycads, including Sago Palms at the Hartman Gardens, and this photo sure looked like new growth unfurling to me. Then La Gringa showed the
Cycad, fully unfurled, and said that I was the winner.

La Gringa has been my guide to so many fascinating people, plants, creatures, customs and places that I was a winner just by visiting her blogocito, but she also sent me a surprise, all the way from Honduras.

First some Honduras souvenirs – note pads. Then out came a bag of Honduran-grown coffee. Philo & I brewed coffee and like it a lot – it’s a very smooth brew.

And then even more prizes appeared!

La Gringa sent the cute magnet girls to represent the ‘Divas of the Dirt’, along with this very useful case for glasses with zippered pocket and neck cord, and a beautiful windchime made of polished coconut shells, which makes a cool, clicketty-kind of sound. La Gringa put such thought into the prize that she even wrapped these treasures in interesting pages from the Honduran newspapers - even the packaging was fun!

Thank you so much, La Gringa and El Jefe ~ you made me feel very lucky, and very special!


The Lady Banks opened fully earlier this week and is blooming with the Coral Honeysuckle.
When I planted the new honeysuckle last year my hope was that the yellow centers of this coral-colored vine would harmonize with the pale yellow of the Lady Banks. I’m pretty happy with this ephemeral combination – what do you think?

In the side garden three Bridal Wreath spiraeas are blooming with a few bluebonnets.

Can you see that iris foliage at far right? My friend Ellen was given some iris last spring and the person who gave it to her promised that it was purple. Ellen shared some with me, and now we’re both hoping they will bloom in the violet shades that we crave.

Above are both varieties of spiraea and the Lady Banks to compare their bloom and leaves. That’s Rosa Lady Banks Yellow at left, with the longer-leaved, larger flowered Spiraea cantoniensis(?) in the center. I’m not sure of the botanical name for the other, rounder-leaved Spiraea at right, but this is the kind that grew in our Illinois gardens.

This name is no longer in use – our annual horticultural extravaganza was already called the Zilker Garden Festival when we moved here, but some longtime Austinites like M Sinclair Stevens prefer the original name, and so do I.
The festival may be somewhat soggy – we have had some tremendous downpours here in the last few days – but the weather forecasters are still promising that the rain will have moved out by mid-Saturday.

Now for the part guaranteed to turn some of you green with envy – the bigshot speaker this year is none other than FELDER RUSHING!! Yes, the coauthor of the beloved book Passalong Plants, which has already been announced as the next choice of the Garden Bloggers’ Book Club.
Will my luck hold? Will I get to hear Felder speak in person? Will I even make it to Florarama? Will I find new Duranta plants to replace the ones that died over winter? Watch this space – I hope the answers will all be Yes.


  1. Annie,

    I love the Lady Banks and honeysuckle combination - the colours are beautiful together. I had a moment of sheer longing to see honeysuckles blooming. Alas, it is still too cold here for any flower to bloom. We are still gasping with excitement when we see some green poking up in the flowerbeds. One of these days ....

    Congratulations on guessing the correct answer. You certainly received some cool gifts! I love the Diva magnets.

  2. I really like the honey suckle and the Lady Banks combination too. Very pretty!

    I just came over here from M Sinclair Stevens's blog. I've been enjoying reading about her garden. I didn't realize how much I missed hearing about what other gardeners are up to.

  3. Congratulations on winning the prize and on hitting a winning combination with the Lady Banks rose and honeysuckle combination! I like it.

    I hope you do get to "Florarama" over the weekend and if you meet Felder tell him about the book club!

    Looking forward to your report on the iris when it blooms,

    Carol at May Dreams Gardens

  4. Your Lady Banks looks lovely, especially in combination with the coral honeysuckle. You found a great combo there.

    Congrats on your win too. You seems to have a knack for identification of plants.

  5. Dear Annie,

    Congrats on your Really big SHEW of Cycad expertise.

    Somebody once told me In Guatemala these are called "Worry Dolls." The routine is to let them do all your worrying for you. Buen idea, no?


  6. I'm so glad you blogged about Felder Rushing being at Florarama--you knocked one of my "to do" items off my list for me. Go! Go! Go! ... if you can.

    I really enjoyed going to his talk (12 years ago) when I bought copies of Passalong Plants for me and two friends. I hope you get a chance to go.

  7. Hi Kate. If you hang around the Austin blogs you'll see why everything blooms so fast - to beat the heat! We get awfully cranky in late August.

    Hello Angelina. Sometimes I think we're not only having fun seeing each other's gardens, but that someone could read garden blogs and compile facts about how things grow, weather, and other patterns around the world. There's a lot of data being shared along with the flower photos!

    Carol, as the head instigator of the Garden Bloggers' Book Club, you could email him - there's an address on his page. But your deputizing me gives me a legitimate excuse to talk to him, doesn't it!

    Pam, the arch will be plain green most of the time, but that's okay, too.
    It was luck that La Gringa chose a plant that I knew.

    MSStevens, I'm glad you commented... I knew you'd met him and was hoping you'd mention it. I'm sure going to give it a try. I wonder how bad the parking field will be after today's downpours?


  8. Well, Annie, you deserved to win! I remember La Gringa's post and had no idea what that was, you clever girl, you. Nice little diva dolls too.

    Yes, I'm drooling over your Lady Banks and honeysuckle combo. Much more successful than one I did a few years ago where I matched the center of a clematis to the yellow of my faux Gloire de Dijon rose. It was just a little too subtle to be noticed!

  9. Congrats on the prize!

    While listening to a couple of podcasts of Felder Rushing's Gestalt Gardener radio show, I heard him mention that he was going to be in Austin. Austin seems to crop up everywhere I turn these days - it must be a really happening place. Hope the weather is good for the festival.

  10. Honduran coffee is excellent!! You are a smart girl, Annie!
    I think you will enjoy Felder Rushing. He is kinda out there with his philosophy, the counterpart to the understated Ms. Temple!!!
    Stay dry!!

  11. Hi, Annie. I'm so happy that you like the little prizes from Honduras. You shouldn't downplay your abilities. You are a pro!

    The arbor looks spectacular! Your whole garden looks so lush for this early in the year.

  12. Hi Julie! Your comment didn't show up until now - who knows why? Thanks for the idea about letting the dolls do my fretting. One has what looks like a garden fork, and the other carries a water container, so they can worry about weeds and rain from now on.

    LostRoses, if I still lived in Illinois that cycad would have been a total mystery to me, too... is it unfair to use the subtropic advantage?

    Entangled the weather was fabulous and Felder Rushing is totally adorable in person. A new post is in progress.

    Sissy I sure did enjoy his talk... and the clouds actually blew away before Florarama started.

    La Gringa, I wasn't kidding when I said you have given me a window into another part of the world. Yours is one of the finest blogs out there. Thank you for everything, including the head-turning compliments.


  13. Annie, congratulations on winning the leg lamp! LOL! Really, I am understanding, over time, just how much you know about gardens and love digging in the dirt. I admire you for sharing your beautiful gardens in photos. This is a sincere comment from someone who didn't know she had Chinese Witch Hazel in her front yard.

  14. Wonderful prizes. The central american coffees are considered to be the best in the world.

    I'm surprised the large spirea flowers are almost as large as the yellow roses. Very beautiful next to each other in the comparison photo.

  15. Mary, it sounds like a plan to me: you keep showing me the wonderful birds and I'll show you flowers!

    Ki, considering that you were the runner-up, you sure are a good sport!

    Lady Banks is profuse but very small-flowering rose, and that spiraea has the biggest Bridal Wreath-type flowers I've ever run into.


  16. "Careful you'll shoot your eye out kid."

    I loved the Lady Bank's.
    Congrats on getting the right answer. You are a good plant identifier. You are the one that identified that plant I saw on my run, the Indian Warrior. You're good. You go you plant detective.

  17. Oh, so many flowers over at your place! Love the honeysuckle and rose arch, lovely colors together. It'll be quite a while before I see my roses and honeysuckle, they are summer bloomers.
    That coffee looks inviting.. mmmmm!

  18. I like the lady Banks and Coral honeysuckle a lot already and it will be even better once they meet!

    You have been spoiled with many beautiful gifts from Honduras! It's always nice to get presents, especially unexpected ones.

  19. Last week as a few of us were walking from the cafeteria to our building, a coworker remarked on the blossoms growing on a fence we were passing. "Those are so pretty," she said, "What are they?"

    And thanks to you I have just discovered that they are Coral Honeysuckles. Yay!! :)

  20. Dear Annie,

    You really have a great eye for combining plants. Everyone is right: the Lady Banks and Coral Honeysuckle look terrific together.

    BTW, where did you find such a nice-looking arbor? I've been shopping around for an arbor and an iron trellis for my garden, but haven't found anything as lovely as yours yet.


  21. Chigiy, it's just luck that someone's question matched what I was able to recognize.

    Salix Tree, the rose will be done soon, so the arch will be green in summer. And the coffee is good!

    Yolanda Elizabet, since we have been blessed with rain, that meeting may happen pretty soon!
    It was exciting - but only the mailman saw the whoop and the wow!

    Beth, I've learned so much from other bloggers that it's nice to know someone else learned about a plant from me;)

    Dawn, I'm pretty surprised that it worked so well.
    We bought the Arbor at HomeDepot. I'm pretty sure it was early December of 2000, since it was scratched up and we got it as end of season clearance. We actually bought this arch to carry power cords and Christmas lights across a path so we could decorate a 'street tree'.
    Once we moved from the other neighborhood to this house it became a real garden arch.

    Thanks for the comments,


  22. I absolutely adore that rose and honeysuckle combo. I also like the colors of the honeysuckle on its own, never seen one of those. Congrats on your cool gifts, too.

  23. A distant second place compared with you in plant ID. After all who knew about Silene latifolia? I later found out while looking through a wildflower book that it is actually Silene cucubalus. Such a great name.

  24. (You must have the most comments!!)

    No, not luck!!! Congrats! That is so neat that you won...and what interesting and thoughtful gifts!

    Seeing your Lady Banks reminds me that I wanted one last year...but didn't act fast enough and they were gone! Of course, I have no where to put one (but when has that stopped me?!)...

    Beautiful combinations! Great color!

    Lots of happy things happening here!

  25. Hi Nicole, thank you so much for visiting. The coral honeysuckle is a native plant, so we get to feel virtuous while enjoying its beauty ;-)

    Ki, any advantage I have must come from the number of years I've had to practice!

    Gotta Garden, if you can stuff in 40 MORE daylilies in one spring, surely a Lady Banks would be possible!


  26. Annie, I had to come back (it was late when I was here last) and comment on your lovely flowers. The Lady Banks and honeysuckle are gorgeous together!
    The 2 spireas look pretty with the rose in the last photo. I have a pink spiraea but would love a white as well. I can see how much the spiraea resembles the wild multiflora rose, knowing now that it's also a member of the rose family.
    There's no denying it, your plant ID capabilities are amazing! Annie the Plant Detective, that's you! Whenever I'm wondering about a plant I think of you :) Congrats on winning such nice surprises!


A comment from you is like chocolate - maybe I could live without it, but life is more fun with it. I'll try to answer. If someone else's comment piques your interest, please feel free to talk among yourselves.