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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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Monday, August 20, 2007

My Cottage Has A Name

I'd been playing around with the idea of a name for our place ever since we moved here three years ago. We'd never named any of our four previous house-and-gardens, but living here felt different. Was it the single-story cottage-style house that called for a name? Are there too many English novels on my bookshelf? Perhaps it was the combination of a long, covered front porch and an enclosed fenced garden with a wooden gate?

Last spring inspiration struck, and my intention was to paint the name on the top board of the green bench in the new Pink Entrance Garden, take a photo and write a post about it. The paints sit unused next to sketches and print-outs of fonts, so there's no decorated bench to photograph as yet, but Carol at May Dreams has asked if our garden & house has a name, and my answer is Yes!
In October 2004 we bought a 'Forest Pansy' redbud tree for the shaded area at the far right of the front yard - the photo at the top of the page shows the newly planted sapling. After a few rough summers our young tree is becoming established, and so is the American Beautyberry/Callicarpa americana to its left in the photo above.
In 2006 we bought a Texas Redbud/Cercis canadensis var. texensis and planted it to the far left of the front yard, then added the Pink Entrance Garden this spring:

Because we lost a tree this year - the immense Arizona Ash of my YouTube song- we decided to plant a new tree in the left center of the front yard. It seemed like fate at work when we walked into a local nursery right after some small trees of the white version of the Texas Redbud were delivered. I'd always wanted a Whitebud!

So here we have them, left, right and center - three Redbuds chosen from the genus Cercis, growing in the garden of someone who loves to sprinkle her pages with botanical Latin ... what else could the name be but

What do you think?? Is it a keeper? Maybe I'll get around to painting the name on the bench one of these days.
Every circus needs a Sideshow, so step right up to the obelisk and see the moonflower in close-up just before dark:

In the daytime the Butterfly Peas open blue flowers, with the long white buds of the Moonvine poised to work the night shift.


  1. Circus Cercis Gardens. I like it. It tells you something about the garden (that you'll find redbuds there and some great side shows), uses a botanical name without seeming pretentious about it, (very fitting because you speak some of the best "botanical" around the web) and it means something to you, which is the best part.

    Carol at May Dreams Gardens

  2. That's very "you", Annie, and I think it's a keeper. But you'd better be prepared to explain the name on your bench to inquiring minds!

    Your moonflower is just glowing, and butterfly peas? What is that? I really like them. You have the most unusual plants (to me, anyway.) Here's to Circus Cercis!

  3. I love word plays, so Circus Cercis sounds great to me. It also conjures a sense of color and fun, which your garden certainly has.

    I can practically smell that moonflower, Annie.

  4. It's nice, but I'm going to end up calling it Cercis Circus, I just know it.

    Sorry to report my stab at moonvine was a total bust. At least I can enjoy yours!

    (Maybe I started them too soon? I have some extra seeds. Perhaps I'll try again next year later in the summer instead of first thing in early spring.

  5. Love it, I love it. I love word play and puns. Great name! And yes, I'm sure you'll be explaining to everyone who spots the name on the bench, but if you're a storyteller like I am, you'll enjoy it.

  6. Oh Annie, you're so clever! And I love Cercis too BTW. Gardeners will get it right away, but non-gardeners might think it's some cutesy spelling (like Kountry Kottage)? Can't wait to see the name painted on your bench!

  7. I love the name! I laughed at your comment about the chance that there were too many English novels on your bookshelf...I've had the same thought about my desire to name my own garden. I just finished re-reading Jane Eyre...I love all of those wonderful estate names!

  8. I think the name is perfect. I wish I was half as creative as you are!

    I tried growing butterfly pea without success this year. Your's are so pretty I'll give them another try next year.

  9. Ok, very good!! Just what I was expecting, Annie!!
    Now, please, can you come up with a clever and insightful one for me, too??!!!
    (I have decided I love butterfly peas!!)

  10. good name. I like it.

  11. we named our place 'shining water' but there is no sign. we thought about 'prairie point' but that is another place in my mind. let me know if you have a better idea.

    oldtimers around here call it 'the old Middlebrook place.' if they are over a certain age and not recent arrivals we usually start with that when asked where we live.

  12. I'll be interested in seeing how you progress with this theme, sideshow and all. Will you get some 'Cotton Candy' phlox and tiger lilies? Certainly you already know how to tame your dandelions.

    Hey, Colleen--I just finished rereading 'Jane Eyre' for the umpteenth time. I saw the recent Masterpiece Theater adaptation and it was the worst I've ever seen. I had to read the original again to get the bad taste out of my mouth.

  13. Just so long as nobody thinks you mean

  14. I'm coveting your moonvine. Mine is growing but no flowers yet.

  15. Love cercis and circuses and moonflowers! Good for you for coming up with a name. I like the ~ in the middle also!

  16. Annie, how fun! Witty, intelligent, rolls off the tongue... sounds like a winner to me. :)

  17. So I'm mentally going through my stencil collection and wondering about a good design to go along with the Circus Cercis - brilliant idea and one you can have fun with. I think I've been stenciling too much and that is all my brain wants to think about.

    I think I've fallen in love - with your Butterfly Pea vine. The blue is gorgeous. And in the evening, Moonflowers add a wonderful mysterious charm to the evening.

  18. I love the name and even better is the way you came up with it. I think I'm going to sit down with a cup of coffee this weekend and think about naming my home. Thanks! :)

  19. Like everyone else, I think it suits you, Annie. You play with words so well! Oh, I remember the dead Ash video and what a great replacement you found! Let's see the finish product.

    I like the idea of naming your garden or house. Hmmmm.

  20. I think a name is perfect and I like Circus Cercis -- it's very playful!

  21. I like it! Funny about the "Cotton Candy" phlox and tiger lillies suggested to go along with a circus theme. You could also add elephant ears, and a pond with a lionfish, seahorse....oh sorry! Went silly there for a momant! I'm looking forward to the bench!

  22. Hello Carol and thank you- like your 'May Dreams' idea just popping into your head, this just came to me when we planted redbud # 3.

    Lost Roses, it would be a big surprise if anyone passing by ever noticed and asked!
    The blue butterfly pea is Clitoria ternatea, which seems to be a reseeding annual here, since a couple of plants sprouted where the vines were grown in previous years.

    Thanks Pam/Digging - it will be interesting to see what you name your garden some day. I brought one of the moonflowers in last night - they don't last long but are nice.

    Chuck, it sounds okay to me the other way, too - but this was the final decision. And moonflowers like the nights warm, [like impatiens]. They just sit there waiting to take off once the humans are miserable.

    It's hard to resist a pun, isn't it, Marie? I hope to run into someone who gets the joke.

    Don't hold your breath, Entangled - we've been painting interior walls, and I may not get back in the mood for awhile!

    Did you ever see that online quiz about what Jane Austen character you most resemble? I did it Colleen and ended up Elinor, which was not so surprising, but no way is this house going to be called Delaford Parsonage!

    Apple, you already have great names for your websites so a garden name should be easy. Just give in when that idea hits you!
    I've only grown butterfly peas in TX - can they grow in the North?

    Sissy, it took me a long time! Your garden is pretty new so keep thinking and noticing. Good luck!

    Hello Bill, Shining Water is a beautiful name, and it celebrates where you live. All five of our houses had previous owners, so we got in the habit of saying their names when meeting neighbors. One house was still known by the original owners' names, not the ones we bought it from.

    That's an interesting idea, MSS - this post was made in haste because of Carol's question, so I haven't thought it through... do tiger lilies even grow here in Austin?

    Very funny, Theodore! One Illinois house had so many earwigs in the basement that CIrcus Cercus should have been used back then!

    Bonnie, this one started about 10 days ago. It's not far from the faucet, so I follow Henry Mitchell's advice and water it pretty often.

    I like that tilde in the middle too, Layanee - gives it a jaunty air or something!

    Hello BlackswampGirl - thank you very much!

    Hi Kate, what I had sketched was pretty much like the photo - outlines of the leaves. Right now the three kinds don't look that different, but earlier in the summer the whitebud was a lighter green, the Texas redbud was shiny and the 'Forest Pansy' was almost purple.

    Thank you, Anthony - will Tomato be included in the name for your garden?? You even live in the Garden State!

    Mary - you'd have to go with something like Audibon Acres - you see more birds than anyone else I know!

    Rosemarie - I'm glad you like it, too. We all could use a little playful in life, right?

    Thanks, Lisa...I've seen elephant ears growing in Austin, so I guess that's a possibity. In the comments for the previous post Kerri remarked that the 'Bengal Tiger' cannas were in the right garden, which cracked me up.

    Thanks for the comments - I'm looking forward to reading about what you've named your gardens!


  23. What a great name...! You know, your beautiful house and garden does look as it if belongs in a country village in England, rather than what I imagine Texas to be like. It's just lovely!


    P.S. My hollyhocks bloomed and they were beautiful. I thought of you and your green thumb.

  24. I love your redbuds. They are all so pretty. I have had trouble with mine -- the one at our house now (which I didn't plant) and at our previous house, have both struggled mightily late summer. Is that normal? Do they like more or less water? i can't quite figure out how to help them - right now it looks fried, and it's gotten fairly regular water (after our flooding rains!) Any suggestions?

  25. The name is a definate keeper as everyone has said. Your posts are always fun!

  26. I think the name is great - and the redbuds are as well. I lost a larger redbud in the last strong 'storm' (I'm becoming a true southerner - we always default and use the word 'storm' instead of the H-word) - but I have a tiny forest pansy started (it's about a foot tall). I like when gardens - of any size - are named. It gives them a sense of dignity I think (which is silly, because they are generally quite dignified places anyway - name or no-name).

  27. It is definitely a keeper.
    Frankly, I had to hit google for the botanical part, but now with fresh and updated knowledge I may dare add that the name befits your cottage and garden.
    Looking forward to more of Circus~Cercis,
    a greetings from indiagarden

  28. When inspiration strikes it is best to pay attention. Then mull it over for a while. If it won't let go of you then it is a keeper.

    I have done a little mind wandering on names for my new place because it must have a name. When the inspiration strikes me it will be a sign.

    My maternal grandmother's garden was "Heaven Scent".

  29. gorgeous pictures- I have redbuds, but always wanted the types you have, the white flower and the forest pansy...maybe in another year:)

    Never quite came up with a name for my own garden, I thought about it alot in the first years here.

    I like the common names for things- they are more evocative for some reason. but I'm no genius when it comes to naming things... hence the lovely "Transplantable Rose" as compared to Ilona's Garden...yours rolls right off the tongue and directly into the imagination.

  30. Good name. It's a keeper.
    I like it because it sounds fun and you seem like a lot of fun. And it relates to gardening. And you could have a lot of fun with the sign. I'm thinking bright colors, clowns. No, don't use clowns. They're too scary.

    If you lived around here I make you a mosaic sign.

    I love the moonflower.

  31. Josie, the green grass is a result of the unusual rainfall - it's fun to imagine an English village in Central Texas! Even with the rain, I don't think we could grow hollyhocks like yours.

    Hi Diana - my redbuds are so new that I have no expert advice and have my fingers crossed, too. The 'Forest Pansy' needs shade, because it's an understory tree, but the two 'texensis' varieties should be able to take a fair amount of sun and be fairly drought tolerant once they're established. But that takes at least 2 years... until then they need water.
    Do you think yours are Texas redbuds? Or do you think they're Eastern redbuds?

    Hello Pam - I'm sorry that you lost your redbud in the storm - and hope your little one will hang in there.
    I'm not sure if a name with circus in it is dignified!

    Greenthumb, thank you very much! And I'm so glad you came and commented.

    Hi Christopher - at first the names I played around with had our street name in them, or some IL-to-TX reference, or else I was trying for 'pretty'. The Circus~Cercis was more a smack upside the head.

    'Heaven Scent' is such a cool name for a garden! I've worn that perfume off and on since I was in college.

    Hi Ilona - thank you so much for visiting! I wanted a redbud in IL, too - but was discouraged to see them die to the ground in my neighbors' yards after hard winters.
    Ilona itself is such an unusual name - it sounds pretty good to me.

    'The Transplantable Rose' was a song lyric before it was the name for the blog. But it refers to the gardener rather than the garden.

    Hiya Chigiy! Thank you for thinking I'm fun - now how can I convince my kids of that?
    I once needlepointed a circus mobile for a niece without knowing she'd developed a clown-phobia. They don't scare me, but I don't think I want one on the sign.

    I'll bet your mosaic work is gorgeous. How about a mosaic version of Gunther Gebel-Williams to sit on the bench?

    Thanks for the comments!


  32. How about one of Gunther's kitties?


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