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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, December 14, 2007

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day for December

This post, "Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day for December", was written for my Transplantable Rose blog by Annie in Austin.

When I took the camera out two days ago, red leaves on the 'Acoma' crepe myrtle fluttered against a blue sky
Golden leaves on the 'Forest Pansy' redbud contrasted with red leaves on another, taller crepe myrtle -
One purple clematis blossom, a little tattered at the edges kept its petals attached for a mid-December photo,
Those parts of the garden looked like autumn, but other plants ignored the coming of frost and short days, like the blue plumbago backing these unfolding bells on the pale yellow Brugmansia
The pink cuphea still blooms with pink gaura and white verbena in the background
A patch of Purple Heart/Setcresia decided to make some flowers - the small green plants are recently planted snapdragons, with buds starting to form.
The cooler weather enticed the 'Julia Child' rose into sending up nine new buds -
And I've become extremely fond of the mutabilis rose... it was bought for a bed in the front of the house, but I can't bear to plant it! It's still in the container on the patio next to the table where its light fragrance can be appreciated. Philo thinks the only solution is to find a second Rosa mutabilis, one to plant in the front and one for a large container on the patio.

On top of the table there's a pot of orange pansies with a viola of a purple so dark it looks black.

On the far end of the patio the loquat flowers are open, sending messages to the bees

Here's a close-up of a flower cluster... they smell good, but not as good as the Sweet olive seen last month.

A real freeze is predicted for this weekend - if it comes, the pansies and snapdragons may pause, but seldom give up for long, and the rose buds frequently take a few degrees of frost.

Even if they're hit hard and bloom day halts outside, there'll be plenty of color from the plants known as Thanksgiving cactus or Schlumbergera - this pink & white plant is in full bloom

They're happy in the breakfast room window - a white one at left, a barely budded one that may be apricot, a red cyclamen, the pink & white Schlumbergera, a salmon geranium and a peachier pink thanksgiving cactus, just opening.

That last, peachy -pink plant had made a seed capsule last year, which stayed on the plant until the new buds swelled. It's still flexible -and if you hold it up to light the interior seems to hold dark seeds.

I'm glad Carol of May Dreams started this pleasant custom of sharing what's in flower in our gardens, but things are hectic in the middle of December - one more photo of the inside flowers and it's time to take a break - I'll see you after Christmas - may your days be happy and bright.

This post, "Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day for December", was written for my Transplantable Rose blog by Annie in Austin.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Spinning Under the Christmas Tree

This post, "Spinning Under the Christmas Tree", was written for my blogspot blog called The Transplantable Rose by Annie in Austin.

April was nine months ago - that's how long it's been since I posted one of our YouTube music videos. That one was "Greened House" - a song parody of "Greensleeves" - this one is an original holiday song from my copyrighted collection of more than a dozen songs, many connected to gardening in Austin, which fit together to tell a story.

In my long-in-progress pipe dream of a musical play the songs are sung by different characters and there should be many different voices. Until I can figure out how to persuade some of you to come over to my house to sing or play musical instruments you just get Annie, a piano, and some guitar riffs from a friend.

This simple little Christmas song has been in the works for awhile - an ode to an Austin holiday tradition that started over 40 years ago, when the Zilker Park tree was first constructed, using a replica of one of our famous Moontowers as the center pole for a huge tree of lights. People soon figured out that looking up while spinning under the lights was a lot of fun.


Spinning, Spinning, Spinning Underneath the Christmas Tree

The Zilker Tree has a separate tree lighting ceremony early in December, but once the Trail of Lights begins a week later [this year it started on the 10th], it's part of that festival.

No one shows a movie now without outtakes... this photo of a Funnel Cake did not make the Director's cut, but was delicious.

The enormous fire pit didn't make the video either! It would have been decorative but not functional for most of the past week, with record high temperatures up to 80 degrees F. We're not experiencing the dangerous ice and winter weather that has the Midwest in its grip, but even our comparatively warm forty-degree evenings make a fire welcome at the end of the trail.

This post, "Spinning Under the Christmas Tree", was written for my blogspot blog called The Transplantable Rose by Annie in Austin.

Grow Spot & Plagiarism ~Help from Cold Climate Kathy

This post, "Grow Spot & Plagiarism ~Help from Cold Climate Kathy", was written for my blogspot blog called The Transplantable Rose by Annie in Austin.

Thank you all for your responses to the previous post about the Grow Spot's use of our writing and photos on their site. Here's a link from Kathy Purdy of Cold Climate Gardens giving some advice on protecting your RSS feed from plagiarism. This is from her Blog Coach site.

Mr Brown Thumb wrote a new post on How To Shorten Your Feed.

Thank you both!

I see that Mr. Brown Thumb has wisely returned to his regular programming - that's what I'll do in the next post.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Tired Of Sharecropping for TheGrowSpot.com

This post, "Tired of Sharecropping for TheGrowSpot", was written for my blogspot blog, The Transplantable Rose, by Annie in Austin. - Edited Friday night, 12/ 7/ 2007 with more information added at the bottom of this post.

Kathy at Cold Climate Gardening recently asked why there are so few older garden bloggers, with ‘older’ defined as over 70, close in age to her parents. In the course of this lively discussion a similar question was raised – where are the younger garden bloggers? To answer that question I added a comment that listed some garden bloggers who’d spoken about being under 35. I have those bloggers linked in my sidebar.

I was quite happy to tell people about those young garden bloggers and give them links, but I’m not happy to tell you about another young woman with a garden blog, the so-called “grow spot” – and I’m not giving her a link, because the garden blog she has is not her garden blog… it’s mine, and it’s Kim/BlackswampGirl’s Study in Contrasts garden blog, and it’s Kerri’s Colors of the Garden and Don’s Iowa Garden and Yolanda Elizabet’s Bliss Garden, Colin and Carol’s Mediterranean Garden, Green Thumb’s India Garden, Nicole’s Caribbean Garden, Deviant Deziner’s Garden Porn, Dawn’s Suburban Wildlife Garden, Sylvana’s Obsessive Gardener… and a lot more. At this site, our posts appear on a neutral background and the site uses the photos we have taken, reproduces our words, and gives the unlinked names of our blogs - but you have to read the whole page and then click ‘more’ to go to the bottom of another page before you find a link to the actual blog. Our sidebar links, icons, buttons, tags, archives, etc. do not appear, so when read at this heavily promoted site our posts are disconnected from the page we have made.

There’s a comment forum for signed-in members, and it appears that the commenters assume they are speaking directly to the authors. But I don’t think the real authors will get to read these comments unless they’re signed in at the forum, and I haven’t seen any answers from the actual authors on the forums.
Colin and Carol – do you know there are comments on your roadkill post at this grow spot site? Don in Iowa, did you know there’s a comment on your “In Praise of Disorder” post?

Maybe you do already know about this, and maybe some of you are okay with it… but I’m not okay with someone using my work to raise the number of hits, ride piggyback on my page rank and prevent readers from talking directly to me. We genuine authors sweat blood over our posts while this chick swipes someone else’s work, stuffs it into her little gated community and demands that readers sign up to get inside.

The garden bloggers that I know can tell you about their experiences and experiments in every kind of gardening, and we've become a large and loosely organized community. TheGrowSpot. com bills itself as "a gardening community with forums on Urban Gardening, Organic Gardening, Growing to Eat, and more. The Grow Spot is also resource for information on all sorts of garden plants, flowers, trees and all things that grow. No green thumb required!" How can a few individuals who reuse posts be considered a community? They have taken the content of real gardeners in order to repost it on their pages, plunking in their ads next to our words and images. And in the end, those ads, perhaps for products that we totally hate or object to, are the reason for the existence of the Grow Spot.

We real garden bloggers write about all sorts of garden plants, flowers, trees and all thinks that grow. But instead of saying “No green thumb required”, as does this scraper site, we say “Grow things and your thumb will turn green!” as you gain in experience.

I am also not happy with the person who apparently runs this Grow Spot [it’s smushed into one word with the and dot com added – if you want to see it, go ahead, but I’m not helping!]. She shows up as a 33-year old woman named LUBA SPICHKIN from Santa Monica, California. She wears size 7 shoes and likes music by the late Elliot Smith, And who knows – maybe she's some kind of a gardener, but not a genuine one. Instead of hoeing her own row, she looks for other gardeners who are weeding and planting their plots, then rushes in from behind, jumps on their backs, steps on their shoulders to reach over and grabs the harvest from the true gardeners’ hands.

And she’s just one of a hoard of bottom feeders. I feel sick at what has happened to many of the stolen and reblogged Garden Bloggers Book Club posts about Eleanor Perenyi and Green Thoughts… some of them link to porn.

Take a representative phrase out of one of your own posts and use an exact search to see what happens – you may have written those words but will you get credit? Your site may come up in the middle of the page and clicking on your words as reblogged by other sites may trigger the installation of spyware or worse.

I think this post will go out on the feed in its full size, but as bloggers like Carol of May Dreams have advised me to do, the next garden post will probably be in the preview size. I know it’s not convenient for some of you, but the barbarians are at the gates and since I don’t have a moat, the least I can do is take up the welcome mat.

[Many heartfelt thanks for technical assistance and editing advice go to the wonderful Mr Brown Thumb, who has opened my eyes to more than plants.

Edited, Friday night: Mr Brown Thumb has posted to explain the technical aspects of scraping and RSS feeds. Read this post and you'll understand why the arguments of the growspot owner are a smoke screen for what is really happening].

This post, "Tired of Sharecropping for TheGrowSpot", was written for my blogspot blog, The Transplantable Rose by Annie in Austin.