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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, April 28, 2007

Images of April

This post, "Images of April", was written for my blogspot blog called The
Transplantable Rose
by Annie in Austin

Several garden bloggers have successfully scanned flowers, including Ki, Carol and Kathy. In her April 21st post, Pam/Digging displayed a rather spooky 'scanograph'. This term comes via Kathy of Cold Climate Gardening. Ki told me to give it a try, but also warned me that my brand of scanner would probably not work, since its light source would give little depth of field. Ki used M&M’s to test the colors, but bringing a bag into this house would be way too dangerous!

Two clematis vines grow in back, one on either side of the door. The larger flowered clematis had some flowers for the April Bloomday, but the other one – possibly a Clematis viticella from the appearance of the leaves and flowers - just opened the first blossoms this week.

I draped a black velour dress over one flower of each clematis, a ‘Nuevo Leon’ salvia, and one tired Mockorange blossom and scanned them, using the autolevel corrections from P-shop Elements to make it clearer. The scanograph colors look different from the flowers in natural light – one clematis is velvety purple with magenta-red bars adding a glow down the center of each petal, the other a ruby red washed with purple overtones – but the scanner seems to concentrate on the red. The live Salvia is a lighter, bluer purple.

When I looked at your flowers, on your blogs, the scanographs were interesting, but when the flowers are my flowers, from my own garden, I don’t think I like the effect – actually- it’s kind of creeping me out.

The large-flowered clematis in morning light:
The possible Clematis viticella:


As the peach and white Hippeastrum/Amaryllis from Bloom Day faded, this one opened. It could be Red Lion, since that was among the old Christmas bulbs which were planted out, to live or die. This flower survived in spite of 23º and an ice storm.


Alophia drummondii, above.These miniature members of the Iris family are native to south Texas rather than Central Texas, but in 2006, two of them appeared in our front grass. I mowed around them last year, letting them mature, which resulted in a scattering of these delicate flowers today. Because Skip Richter and John Dromgoole advise Central Texans to mow high, the flowers were able to grow tall enough to be visible, rather than be mowed before they had a chance to bloom.

Edit Jan 2008: Some photos from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center suggest that rather than Alophia drummondii the right name for my little flowers may be Herbertia lahue.

According to McMillen’s Texas Gardening/ Wildflowers book, another name for this wildflower is Herbertia, and a rather pretty nickname is Purple Pleat-leaf.


This week I received a postcard from Premiere Magazine, my favorite flick rag since the early nineteen-nineties. I’ve stuck with it through several moves, and bought many a gift subscription over 15 years. I’d heard the rumbles, so although I will miss the magazine, it wasn’t a shock to learn the April issue was the last. Ever.

With more than a year left on my current subscription, I was interested to see what the company would do. The postcard informed me that they’ll substitute the same number of issues that are owed to me, but the magazine they’re sending will be US Weekly.

Huh? A weekly gossip magazine is considered to be the equivalent of a monthly magazine with absolutely killer writers like Glenn Kenny and Paul Rudnick as Libby Gelman-Waxner? Not in my opinion. Phooie.

This post, "Images of April", was written for my blogspot blog called The Transplantable Rose by Annie in Austin.


  1. I'm glad you mentioned that the scanned flowers seemed spooky to you, because I played with that method for several hours a couple of weeks ago (read about it on Ellis Hollow) and I felt like the images looked disturbing. Sort of like pinned butterfiles.
    All your other flowers are beautiful!

  2. I agree, the "real" pictures of the clematis look better than the scanographs. Maybe the black velour was too heavy and crushed the flowers a bit? (I think it is funny that several of us used articles of clothing to cover the flowers). I've tried clematis a few times, but have not been that successful. You've inspired me to try again because if I can get flowers like those you've pictured, it would be worth it!

  3. Annie, your scanned pictures reminded me of something we had around the house when I was a kid. It was a collection of color images on glass called autochromes. They were from the early part of the 1900's and were the first true color photographs. They were beautiful but the colors were dark and your scanned photo looks similar. I think it looks cool!

    I love your flowers in the lawn. And how sad about your favorite magazine! At least they aren't sending you Reader's Digest.

  4. Annie, was my scanograph "spooky?" I did the bird's nest and the peppers. Maybe you mean Ki's dead vole?

    I kind of like the jewel tones in your scanograph, but I much prefer the photo of those flowers in morning light.

  5. I'm going to comment on your Premiere mag rag. I used to get Premiere when I was dabbling around in screenwriting. Do you think it was Grindhouse that killed the magazine? I here it was, uh, "not good" Have you seen it?

  6. How hilarious. I would have never figured you for a Premiere Mag gal. I have a friend here, who is a hardcore criminal defense attorney (she knows about all of the dead bodies in town) and she subscribes to People and knows EVERYTHING about the entertainment business. It always cracks me up. I do agree - US Weekly is a rotten substitute. That is no fair at all.

  7. I'm lusting, lusting over that large-flowered clematis!

    (Non-gardening aside, have you seen "Hot Fuzz" yet?)

  8. Huh? U.S. Weekly vs. Premiere? That's a joke. Sorry...

    Ok...your post is way above my head but your photos are lovely, Annie. I'd enjoy having you diagnose my flowers and would invite your suggestions.

  9. Of course, they wouldn't give a refund of money...that would mean actual money or even a choice of magazines. Sigh. At least, I suppose, you are getting something...People, Plants and Places took my money (a two year subscription!) and did/said nothing...I think I got a couple issues before they folded (the regional version)...and they didn't even offer to send the one they're apparently still publishing...very disgusting.

    But on to more pleasant things! Love the clematis...although I do like the outside ones better...just had my first clematis open...don't know which one it is as I think some label mixing/mislabeling went on...oh well, it's still pretty.

    Lucky you to be able to leave the amaryllis outside! I wish! I do have a red in bloom now, too...but inside. I'm fixing to drag the bulbs all outside...they need repotting, though.

    Oh, those iris are adorable! I've never seen them...I just love that you mowed around them!

    You're always on top of things, Annie!

  10. I've been thinking about this Annie, and it may be that the black background isolates the flowers so thoroughly that they seem like dimly lit specimens. I bet if you used a white or beige background the scans wouldn't look so creepy. Me, I like creepy so I'll probably stick with the black but may experiment with brown or off white backgrounds. Actually it should be easy to change backgrounds in Photoshop Elements, I think. Just select the background and paint it the color of your choice using the little paint bucket icon so you wouldn't even have to buy different colored material or cardboard.

    Canon apparently makes two types of scanner. One using a cold cathode light (flourescent) and the other an LED light source scanner. You must have the one with the fluorescent bulb since you are able to make 3D scans. I'm glad you gave it a try. I actually like the mock orange with one petal broken off and the other colors look good to my eyes even if they aren't faithful renditions of the real flowers. I hope you will try replacing the background with a lighter colored one and see if it makes a difference. Or maybe it is the specimen under glass quality that offends?

    Your Clematis looks great. We can't seem to grow them. I thought it was because of our acid soil so I amended it with lime but still no luck. The woman across the street has a huge neglected plant wrapped around the mailbox covered with flowers every year so it can't just be the soil. Don't know what we're doing wrong.

    Why the furtive glance when reading Premiere?

  11. I love the name, Purple pleat-leaf ... that is a beautiful plant. I love the way it grows in the lawn and adds charm.

    The scanned pictures remind me of those creepy 'memento mori' pictures I had to study at school. Brr...

    Thankfully, the clematis more than make up for the creep factor by looking elegant and vibrant! I love the colours of both clematis.

    And now I have a huge dose of envy that you can grow amaryllis and have them bloom in your garden.

    Sorry to hear about the Premiere magazine ... I was surprised to hear it was folding. Darn ... it was always enjoyable to read. Usually I kept up-to-date when I was in my dr's waiting room.

  12. Hi Anna Maria - thanks for commenting. The concept itself isn't disturbing, exactly - I'm still thinking about why I didn't like it.

    Carol, I tried one with a lighter fabric but there was too much texture and light leakage. And of course I used a black blouse, another article of clothing!
    I've grown clematis at every one of our 5 houses - all sorts of them. If I'd ever taken decent garden photos back then I could make an entire post. Maybe I'll do it anyway.

    LostRoses, the autochromes sound interesting. The scanograph isn't displeasing visually - it looks like some greeting cards that I've seen.

    Hi Pam, the bird's nest was the one that looked spooky to me. Ki's vole was more clinical. Maybe the nest reminded me of Victorian Hair Art? Now that's creepy!

    Yo Chigiy - dabbling in screenwriting -very cool!
    I think Premiere may have been another victim of the target audience using web sources rather than print. It appears to have been a long slow bleedout of circulation numbers.
    I liked Once Upon A Time in Mexico and Pulp Fiction, which were certainly violent, but had complex stories and actors that appeal to me. There was a base audience of people who wanted to see QT & Rodriguez recreate atmospheric old double feature Grindhouse films - maybe they were happy with the result, but I never knew the original films so the concept had no pull for me.

    Philo and I did get to see some special effects on the QT half being filmed, and saw the black cars up close, which was kinda cool.

    Pam, now how am I supposed to take that comment ;-) I've always loved movies, but I also like to know stuff about how they get made. Premiere gave me that, along with great lists and in-progress reports.

    MSS, the clematis only cost a couple of bucks, but it took six years for it to look like this.

    One of our sons saw Hot Fuzz already and thought it was fine. We'll get to it eventually, we liked Shaun of the Dead. I'd prefer to see movies when they're new, and at some phases in our lives have been able to do that. Time and money issues make us catch them way too often on DVD now - which is why we didn't see Casino Royale until last weekend!

    Mary, do you get People Mag like Pam's friend? How do you get the scoop on all the American Idol contestants?
    I'm glad you like my photos, because I sure enjoy yours.

    GottaGarden, you're right - it could have been worse - there could have been no compensation of any sort.

    I've had amaryllis off and on for decades, always taking them in for winter until now. I got brave after seeing them blooming outside in spring in other Austin gardens.

    Hello Ki - My scanner is a Canon LiDE 500 - everything I could find says it's an LED light source.

    The reason is still eluding me - as I said, your flowers didn't creep me out, but mine did. The black background makes the colors look like jewels, not ugly or anything.

    Maybe it's because I know these flowers as living individuals, but they're objectified in the scans?

    When my young niece had a Glamour shot photo a few years ago, with perfectly done hair, makeup jewelry, and a formal white dress -that photo also gave me a feeling of unease.

    Oh my - is that the reason? My niece and those clematis both give me reverberations of JonBenet Ramsey? Yipes!

    After reading your comment and Carol's, I might make a clematis post, even though most of it will be nostalgic rather than current.

    I just thought the Premiere photo looked interesting with my eyes, Will Ferrell's eyes and the eye of the model in the back cover ad.


  13. That Herbertia is lovely, I've never seen these sweet little flowers before, so thanks for the pic. I love wild flowers and am glad that you took the trouble to mow around them. They are well worth the trouble, don't you think?

    Your clematis looks lovely au naturel. :-D

  14. Annie, I only meant it in the most funny of ways :) - and your post came after an evening with friends, including mine with the People mag subscription. I'm thinking Premiere is quite a bit different from People: last Saturday evening my friend updated us all on Britney Spears, and had us all in tears we were laughing so hard. And yeah, the eyes have it!

  15. Yes, yes, now I see, the eyes have it. Like the much loved photo of Henri Cartier-Bresson the one where the man is jumping the puddle, actually a small lake of water. What makes the photos is that there is a poster of a ballerina (I think) doing the same leap, almost unnoticed in the background. A portly man in a suit with his image reflected in the pond of water with the dancer reflected in the same pond. A leap, leap, leap and leap all at the same time. The decisive moment indeed.


  16. Annie... I am looking forward to a clematis post. I need your advice on how best to grow them. I know the basics. I actually worked in a nursery one summer where they grew them. But I've never had great success with clematis. One of my sisters did, so I MUST. I have my reputation at stake.

  17. Annie,
    My scanner is so slow that I don't even have it hooked up!!
    Your clematis are beautiful!

  18. Your photos of your clematis are just wonderful...! Thank you for sharing them. It's May 1st, and it still feels like fall here. We had one nice day - yesterday.



  19. I agree about celebrity gossip rags. I really don't get too involved in the latest foibles of the hollywood types.

    I like that first clematis picture the best.

  20. What a cute photo of you looking over your beloved magazine, Annie. Sorry to hear it's being discontinued. Bummer! I almost cried when they cancelled Victoria a few years ago, which was one of my favorite magazines.

    I'm another who likes the scanographs and agree with Lostroses that they resemble me of old autochromes. I'd like to learn how to make them.

    Take care!

  21. Well, yes, the scans are creepy, but in a cool way. Maybe I just enjoy that type of thing. Hmm.

  22. Kate, the amaryllis looked good for a couple of days, but some critter cracked off the trumpets - so they're just stalks now.

    We have a ancestral photo that might fit in your memento mori category: large format, taken at the cemetery, with open casket propped up, surrounded by a huge group of mourners. It was taken by a professional photographer.

    Pam, my answer was an attempt at humor, too! Some of Premiere was chitchat, but it got into the producing and financing stuff which was always interesting. Nary a Britney sighting.

    Ki, I went to your link and looked for Bresson. That photo was a lot more complex than mine! The last issue just happened to have Will Ferrell, who greatly resembles my uncle when he was young... so maybe there's a family resemblance ;-}

    Carol, a clematis story would have to be another wallow in nostalgia, rather than advice, but if I can dust the pollen off the scanner and turn old snapshots into JPG's, you'll eventually see that post!

    Sissy, we consider our scanner essential equipment for all kinds of documents, including my husband's business stuff and my genealogy. It's always hooked up.

    I hope that one of these days you'll have clematis blooming for you.

    Josie, there used to be years in Illinois like that - I hope you get some spring sun, soon.
    That purple clematis bloomed in a deck container for a few years first - maybe you could get them to bloom in your tree house!

    I'm not immune to celebrity gossip, Gary, but Premiere seemed to focus less on that aspect of movies. While still printing many George Clooney and Johnny Depp photos, of course. There really can't be too many George Clooney photos.

    Hello fellow Austin Garden Bloggers Dawn, and RSorrell!

    I thought Ki's scanographs were pretty cool... maybe I should try again, scanning some flowers from the store? That way I could remain emotionally detached from the subjects - what do you think??


  23. Heh..."there really can't be too many George Clooney photos" ...absolutely not! He is by far my favorite actor, and only a couple years older than me...I like to delude myself that he's still unmarried because he hasn't met up with a REAL woman like ME! (hahaha...right!) Anyhow, I like both the creepy scanned images and the "real" pictures. As for the magazine-bummer! I was upset when they cancelled "Country Living Gardener", and I've not found an acceptable replacement. Although you said you're not really into the celeb gossip, check out www.perezhilton.com sometime-hilarious! My friend at work surfs it constantly-too funny!


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