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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, July 14, 2007

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day for July

Lady Bird always loved the wild flowers
She wanted us to love them, too.
Here in the city where her wildflowers grew,
We bid our Lady Bird adieu.

The flag flies at half-mast for Lady Bird Johnson in a new garden fitted within the footprint where the Arizona Ash used to stand. I planted wildflowers like Eupatorium greggii - Gregg's Mistflower, Anisicanthus wrightii, also called Hummingbird Bush, and a plain old calico-colored Lantana, adding Salvias guaranitica and 'Black & Blue', a 'Bengal Tiger' canna and Verbena bonariensis. They're growing near the birdbath in a mixture of clay, compost and the ground-up stump of the large Ash tree. These plants are just beginning to flower, bringing an occasional butterfly, bee, or hummingbird to see if it's worth stopping here.

Malvaviscus is another flower planted to please the hummingbirds. It grows in light shade near one of the two remaining Arizona Ash trees and is sometimes called wax mallow or Turk's cap.

More wildflowers - a pink selection of Gaura lindheimerii and Echinacea purpurea 'Purple Stars'.

These Balloonflowers - probably Platycodon grandiflora - were brought along as seedlings from Illinois; planted in fall of 2004, they're now looking settled in their second Texas home.

Buds and flowers keep appearing on this 'Champagne' mini-rose, which was a mid-winter gift from my mother and sisters.

The first Amarcrinum flowers of 2007 opened yesterday. The variety is possibly 'Fred Howard'. If you're interested in amarcrinum, you can read more about it in this older post. Crinum-type lilies are not always fragrant, but this one is!

The White crepe myrtles, Lagerstroemia 'Acoma', are having a fine summer. They were twisted and curled by too many years in deck containers before we moved here and it's taken several more years to train them into tree-form again - this year they've finally grown taller than the privacy fence.

Near the corner of the veranda you can see a Pink crepe myrtle, the boxwood hedge, and hanging baskets with impatiens, ornamental sweet potato vines, oxalis and Evolvulus 'Blue Daze'. I've used only impatiens and torenia in other years, but with the Ash gone, the sun is stronger on this end of the veranda so I'm experimenting with the 'Blue Daze'.

Our 'Julia Child' rose, bought in early spring, is having a third bloom cycle! She's backed by a white coneflower and Mexican Oregano.

The Buddleja 'Black Prince' above right has been in bloom for months; the yellow lantana seems happier now that the weather has turned hot.

Perovskia - called 'Russian sage' with a true sage in the background, Salvia guaranitica.

Three cupheas are in bloom now. This orange cuphea is probably Cuphea ignea, also called cigar plant. It dies back in the cold, then grows into a shrub by the end of the summer. It's planted near another chunk of 'Bengal Tiger' canna and one of the the 'Acoma' crepes.

Above is a close-up of the orange cuphea. You can decide for yourself if it looks like a cigar!

The red and purple flowers of Cuphea llavea, nicknamed Batfaced cuphea, aren't very big, but hummingbirds always find them.

This pink cuphea also has that 'Bat-faced' look, but its growth pattern is more like the orange one - each winter it dies back to a few inches tall. It sits like an undecided lump for a few months, but with sun, warmth and water, decides that Austin is not so bad after all, and by August it's turned into a three-foot tall shrub again, covered in bees and trying to smother its neighbors.

Here's a list of some other plants showing floral action. The sunflower is just starting, plants like the coreopsis are full of buds and blossoms while others like the larkspur are almost done. Dependable workhorse plants like Abelia, Salvias and the honeysuckle have produced flowers month after month.
Salvia 'Coral Nymph'
Coreopsis 'Creme Brulee'
Salvia greggii in several colors.
Pavonia lasiopetala, a native Rock Rose
Blue plumbago
A few apricot daylilies
Purple leaved oxalis
'Blue River II' hardy Hibiscus
Vitex agnus castus
Coral honeysuckle
'Little Gem' Magnolia
Scuttelaria - skullcap
Zinnia linnearis
Happy Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, organized by Carol of May Dreams Garden.
I hope you're all having a blooming July in your own garden. We're spending time at other gardens this weekend on the annual Austin Pond Society Tour.


  1. You have many beautiful cupheas!

    I have a crinum too, but it hasn't flowered since I've had it so no idea if it's fragrant. I certainly wasn't expecting it, so if it is, that'll be a real bonus. I guess yours offsets the scentless mock orange. But not very much, I'm guessing. :)

  2. Incredible wildflowers, Annie, and a wonderful tribute to Lady Bird.

  3. I love "possibly 'Fred Howard'" and remember your original post about that flower, such a pure looking flower. All your flowers are pretty this time of year. Thanks for participating in Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day!

    Carol at May Dreams Gardens

  4. It's the middle of July and time for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. You have lots of beautiful blooms in your garden. Lots is happening in My Canadian Garden ... hope you can stop by for a visit.

  5. Dear Annie, all your blooms look simply gorgeous. My Lagerstromia and 'Bengal tiger' canna are blooming too.

    The hanging baskets give such a rich look to the verandah and the pink myrtle is complimenting the backdrop beautifully.

    Best Wishes.

  6. What fabulous pics and blooms! Is there a way to control turk's cap? Ours is so invasive -- the only thing worse are our four o'clocks and I swear if we ever move, I will murder the Resident Storm Chaser if he dares try to bring any with him!

  7. Annie, I love your birdbath, did you make it yourself or did you have it made for you?

  8. Your garden is looking lush and full and smothered in flowers. My pink cuphea (from your garden) is blooming too, but I couldn't get a good photo of it like you did. I have the cigar plant cuphea too, but I don't quite see a cigar either.

  9. Annie,
    Everything looks beautiful.
    I love your veranda.
    I also love cuphea. I have several different kinds including batface. They all froze in the frost we had here and I thought for sure they were goners but slowly they came back. I just love them for the practically continuous blooms.
    I forgot it was bloom day, so I have to get blogging.

  10. Annie, A very nice tribute to Lady Bird - she had a true love for flowers.

    The flowers are lovely and the little cuphea have such delightful blooms. I think the orange cuphea looks a little like a cigar and I've always called the Batfaced type Little Mouse Ears. The pink are new to me.

    The Champagne minis are especially beautiful.

  11. Lady Bird's death was the first news I heard when I stepped off the plane. It's a sad day for Austin, for Texas, and for gardeners (and highways) all over the US.

    When I saw the flags at half mast today my first thought was, "The flags are nice but if people really want to honor Lady Bird they need to get out and plant some flowers."

    Sharing your flowers is the kind of tribute I'm sure that would make her smile.

  12. Annie...your garden is looking just lovely and the hanging baskets are very cool. I love the lilies!

  13. Annie: A nice commemorative for Lady Bird! I love your cupheas. They are all so interesting! I can only grow them as annuals. None this year but perhaps next!

  14. Lovely flower combinations. Thanks Annie.

  15. What a nice group of blooms! I'm fascinated by that Amarcrinim - I love the crinims, and definitely need to follow your older post and find out a bit more!

    I remember my first trip to Texas, it was in the springtime and the wilflowers were just amazing.

  16. A wonderful tribute to Lady Bird Johnson, Annie. She was a Lady in every sense of the word.
    Interesting about the cupheas. I read about them recently in a magazine (Horticulture, perhaps, or Taunton's) and was intrigued to think of them as anything but a houseplant. The beauty of blogging across the zones.

  17. Annie, I knew you would have a tribute to Lady Bird and a very nice one too. She left a legacy of beauty behind and what better way to remember her than in our gardens?

    Your gardener's bloom day list is very prolific and you always have interesting flowers I never see anywhere else!

  18. A lovely tribute to a lovely lady, Annie. Your garden is looking very lush at the moment. There's so much in flower!

    Love the hanging baskets on your veranda, very pretty! Both the white and the pink crepe myrtles are beautiful. And how nice that Julia Child is flowering for the third time.

  19. Annie, what wonderful pictures... I am drooling over that long veranda, too.

    The batface cuphea is very cute, but what I keep going back to is the picture of the white crepe myrtle. WOW. I have never seen a white one before (always see pictures of the pink varieties) and the white one is just lovely. Looks like it would be very cooling to look at on a hot Austin summer day.

    So you used to have crepe myrtles in deck pots in Illinois? Did you bring them inside the garage each winter or...?

  20. That pure pink amarcrinum is awesome and it has a fragrance to boot!

    Batfaced cuphea and Malvaviscus are on my list, Annie (don't know if they will do well here) but I'm paying attention for my hummingbirds.

    Your list of blooms blows my mind. But then, I'm not a real gardener. My dry gardens look like a flower clearance sale at the grocery store entrance :o/

  21. Lovely flowers. I love peeking into your Texas zone and seeing such near-tropical vines and flowers that I could never grow. One upside to global warming: I might me able to plant a crape myrtle here soon.

  22. Annie, thanks for posting a comment on my blog. Yes, I did contact Pam when I saw her comment on Carols's post. The Coral Nymph salvia is an annual here. It sounds like it is perennial there...that figures. You have some beautiful and different plants in your area and I enjoyed visiting them. I can see why Lady Bird's legacy means even more to you there in Texas. You gave a wonderful tribut to her.

  23. Your new "Arizona Ash" garden looks like it's going to be a butterfly/hummingbird magnet.

    I wish my Cupheas would get that tall! I think your tall one might be the David Verity variety of C. ignea. Somewhere I read that the tip of the Cuphea ignea flower is imagined to look like ashes at the end of a cigar. I have some that are black and white at the tip - I'll try to post a closeup picture sometime.

    So many wonderful Texas ladies have departed recently. Ann Richards, Molly Ivins, and now Lady Bird Johnson. I'll miss them all.

  24. Wonderful Cupheas. After seeing the ones you have and Entangled's too, I will have to see about obtaining a few plants.

    I'm surprised that a hibiscus like flower would be attractive to hummingbirds. I remember as kids, we would pull the hibiscus flower from the sepal and suck the nectar of the flower from the sepal end of the flower. But that doesn't seem quite right. Anyway the nectar was sweet but not much taste otherwise and not abundant. I don't know how a hummingbird would get to the nectar as it has a fairly long style.

    Very lovely Amarcrinum Amaryllis x Crinum too! Looks like a cross between a lily and an Amaryllis.

  25. My 'Julia Child' has been doing well this year too. I am happy I got one. You are sooooooo lucky to be able to grow Crepe Myrtle. We are just outside the northern range on them. Everything else looks great too.

  26. Hi Chuck, Cupheas are pretty interesting. Mexican Heather is another cuphea that's used all over Austin.
    It took about 5 years for this amarcrinum to bloom -this is the second time.

    Thank you, Carolyn.

    Carol, to have it bloom a second time makes me feel like Sally Field -"they like me! they really like me!"

    Crafty Gardener thank you for coming - I'm planning on a visit!

    Hello Green thumb, it's fun to find we have flowers in common. The crepe myrtle was there first, so the colors sort of follow its lead!

    Hello Pooks - Susan at the South of the River blog mentioned how invasive it is in her Austin garden - I may be in trouble some day! This one isn't planted in a border with delicate plants - it was stuck in an area where nothing else would grow, so there isn't much to invade. Your RSC must have had a busy summer so far!

    Robin, my husband Philo designed and made it a few years ago from hypertufa. He started making troughs over a decade ago and has branched out. The water does leak out so on the one hand it must be refilled frequently... on the other hand, it doesn't stay aroung long enough for mosquitoes to hatch.

    It's good to have you back, Pam/Digging! The two bat-faced cupheas were planted this spring - the old one was lost in a wind storm and who wants to be without their little faces!

    Hello Alyssa, thank you. In Austin we like the 'bat' name - one of our tourist attractions is a Bat Park where we can watch thousands of Mexican Freetail bats emerge each night to fly off and eat insects.

    When Lady Bird went in the hospital a few weeks ago it gave a bit of warning to people in Austin, but you probably never heard that part in England, MSS. It must have been something of a shock. I hope the rest of your homecoming was good.

    Leslie, hanging baskets seemed to be called for from the moment we saw that long porch.

    Layanee, some of them act very annual here, too! But they pump up fast once it gets warm.

    Thank you Bonnie - I try!

    Pam, they were on my wish list for years and years - that's what happens when Tony Avent's Plant Delights catalogs arrive at Illinois addresses in winter.

    Thank you, Jodi. It was amazing how many times the word 'gracious' came up in interviews and articles about Lady Bird last week.
    I never saw the Bat-faced type of cuphea until we moved here in 1999, but Mexican Heather was used as an annual in IL.

    LostRoses, lady Bird was also the moving force behind the transformation of Austin's Town Lake shore and the Hike and Bike Trail. Her mind was wide-ranging.

    Yolanda, the pink ones came with the house, but the white ones are my addition. I doubt that Julia will look like this in a normal Texas summer, so I'm just enjoying the show!

    Hello Blackswamp Kim! Even when it's too humid and buggy to sit on it, the Veranda makes me happy... walking through it to the door when we come back to the house makes this house feel like home.

    Besides the white & magenta colors of crepe myrtles there are pale pink, lavender and dark red and plum colors, too. We lived in another house in Austin for a few years and the white ones were in deck pots at that house.

    Mary, read Pooks' comment on its invasiveness before you plant the malvaviscus! But the bat-faced cuphea is very well-behaved.

    I sure wish you guys would get rain. I've started watering again here, but with the lakes still so high, figure it's my civic duty ;-]

    Hello Meresy - lilacs and peonies are ungrowable for us but we want them anyway - we all have some kind of zone envy, don't we!

    Hello Bev - I liked your bloom day post, too. 'Coral Nymph' sometimes lives over, but mostly reseeds. It's a form of Salvia coccinea, Hummingbird Sage.

    This garden is an experiment, Entangled! The earth in the bed is still settling and decomposing from the stump-grinding.
    Your cuphea sounds intriguing - mine came from a Farmers Market - no botanical name, just "Cigar Plant".

    Ann Richards, Molly Ivins and Lady Bird were all amazing - I hope we'll see a new generation of movers and shakers with both brains and hearts and consciences!

    Howdy Ki! I don't know the mechanics of the nectar tube, but Hummingbirds get it somehow. They also love our Dianthus, Butterfly Bush, and the cannas.

    I'm quite thrilled with the Amarcrinum, myself.

    Thank you,


  27. Annie, the 'champagne' mini rose is the most exquisitely beautiful flower I have ever seen. I would love to do a painting of that photograph. What kind of camera do you have? Your pictures have the most incredibly sharp, clear colors. Mygoodness, you must have a wonderful home.


    P.S. I liked Lady Bird Johnson. I thought she was a lovely person, and definitely one of the 'classiest' First Ladies you folks have ever had.

  28. Gorgeous cupheas Annie. You're whole garden looks incredibly desirable and I'm glad you shared so many photos.

    You must be completely chuffed with your success. This is great.

  29. Annie - I love the Julia Child rose with the white coneflowers and the Mexican Oregano. This year, I discovered Blue Daze and am liking it a lot. My current plan is to try and over-winter it, although I think that might not work soo good. The Crepe myrtles are gorgeous ... and your veranda is one place I could see hanging out often! It's really inviting! Your photographs are always wonderful.

  30. Nice tribute to Lady Bird! I plan to scatter wildflower seeds this fall in her honor (and because I love them, too). Great selection of blooms, too!

  31. Lovely tribute to a lovely woman. Public figures with such character and class aren't so common today.
    Cute trio of cupheas-don't you just love the funky color combos! Never saw the pink one before. Also like the white crepe myrtle, Amarcrinum, turks cap, roses and lovely veranda.

  32. Hello DigitalFlowerPictures - bet you couldn't resist the butter color, either. We knew crepe myrtles from Southern vacations, so were very interested in growing them.

    Josie, my mom picked out that rose and your comment will please her. My camera is just a Kodak EasyShare - sometimes I sharpen with photoshop, and always format the size so the photos will work in Blogger.

    Hey Stuart, "Incredibly desirable" is a lovely word to read in a garden comment - thank you.

    Kate, I hope you like the blue daze... worth growing as an annual, too. The veranda will be more inviting if the mosquito numbers drop.

    Lisa, you might not be able to grow bluebonnets, but there are lots of other lupines to throw in that mix.

    Nicole, Lady Bird became First Lady when I was a teenager, and she had two teenage daughters at the time. In my mind she's always been a motherly person, too.

    Thank you,


  33. Annie, I'm always amazed at the huge # of plants you have. I may have heard of like 2 of them!?

  34. I love the Amarcrinum - what a beautiful variety you have!

  35. All your blooms are spectacular Annie. I love the cuphea flower shapes and colors. I'd really enjoy a stroll through your gardens with you :)
    I particularly love the Amarcrinum lily. What a wonderful color. Do the crepe myrtles have a fragrance? They're beautiful!


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