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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.


  1. Hi Annie... I can just imagine you, transplanted from Illinois, sitting in your breakfast room in December, enjoying the indoor plants, and marveling at all your blooms outside.

    Thanks for sharing your blooms with us today!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  2. Such a nice collection of blooms today Annie.

    We are having our first snow. My kalanchoe was my only chance for a bloom today. It wasn't blooming last night. I will have to check it this a.m.

  3. I don't usually like orange, but that combo with the dark purple Viola is great! I'm so glad we have you Austin bloggers to post flower pictures on Bloom Day during the winter.

  4. M Sinclair Stevens (Texas)Sat Dec 15, 02:49:00 PM 2007

    What intense colors. I love the color of light this time of year.

    I'm glad you have a 'Mutabalis' rose. They've been blooming like crazy all over Austin but I haven't gotten a picture yet. They can grown into pretty large bushes, though. How long will it be happy in a container?

    Thinking of you.

    mss @ Zanthan Gardens

  5. You've got a great list...and that seed capsule is exciting...do you plan to plant the seeds? Keep us posted! Happy holidays to you too!

  6. The difference in the landscapes of Austin compared with central NJ are dramatic. We will definitely have to move to a warmer climate in the near future. the loquat flowers look surprisingly quite nice. I hope they bear fruit for you this year!

  7. Pam @ Digging says:

    Your Thanksgiving cactus steals the show, to my eyes. But you have much else going on, nearly a circus of blooms still yet.

    Wishing you a peaceful Christmas season, Annie. See you after the holidays.

  8. I just love coming over to look at your pictures. The orange pansy is so sweet.

    Gosh, it's amazing how much is still blooming where you are!

  9. Isn't Mutabalis a great rose? You have some impressive blooms there for the month of December.

  10. Ah, I knew we could count on you, Annie, for a much needed dose of outdoor blooms! The roses were especially charming, although that clematis flower made me pretty happy, too. Think of us tomorrow as we shovel whatever nature is going to dump on us, in the northeast US and Maritime/Atlantic Canada! Battenin' down the hatches in NS...again!

  11. The Brugmansia with the Plumbago photograph is my favourite - well, I also think the Mutabilis rose is pretty cool too, as is the Clematis.

    Philo's solution to the Mutabilis seems perfect to me - just buy another one to plant.

    The photograph of the crepe myrtle is great - the red against the blue sky is striking.

    Now off to watch your video ... first lunch!

  12. Oooh.. they're all so beautiful! I'm struck by that seedpod from the Christmas cactus, though. Are you going to try to plant it?

  13. Thanks for posting these. I needed them!

    Have a Happy, safe, fun and wonderful Holiday!

  14. chigiy at Gardeners AnonymousMon Dec 17, 12:06:00 AM 2007

    Your blooms are beautiful inside and out.
    I love the Christmas cactus.
    Have a wonderful holiday.

    Chigiy at Gardener’s Anonymous said:

  15. Blooms outside in December....a strange phenomena for me! Yours are beautiful.

    Have a Merry Christmas, Annie!

  16. Looking at all that color takes me back to September. We've had some very warm days but a few overnight freezes just about took all. The pansies and salvia are all that's left.

    Also having trouble finding time to post, Annie. Take a break and have a wonderful Christmas!

  17. You've gotta just love a southern garden! That crepe myrtle is a nice one - I keept thinking that I need to plant one or two of the (aren't they older?) ones that have such wonderful fall color (like yours). We had a light frost last night, seems like it might freeze tonight, but perhaps not here along the coast. Happy December!

  18. December in Chicago, Annie, remember what that's like ? Your posts of gorgeous plants still in leaf and bloom are wonderful. My favorite is the Forest Pansy redbud .

  19. Thanks for brightening up a cold day here with colorful flowers! My pink cuphea is semi-dormant in the garage, but I can admire yours.

    Happy Holidays!

  20. It is always a pleasure visiting your lovely blog. I enjoyed your Christmas Cactus photos...mine are also in full bloom now...on time for Christmas much to my surprise...so I posted some pics on my blog also to share their interesting blooms. Let me know if I might post a link to your site on my blog: http://mississippigarden.blogspot.com

    Happy Holidays!
    Jon in Vicksburg, Miss. 12-19-07

  21. Annie,

    Have a Merry Christmas. I like your cacti in the window. I keep my two in my bathroom window where they get a little steam off the bathtub. I have a Mutabilis rose. It's a little north for it here, but I finally found it a spot that it likes. Still, you really need to be further south for it to reach its true potential.

  22. Lovely to still see some color down your way Annie!
    I've so much enjoyed all your friendly and informative posts during the past year (plus). It's a joy to visit your little 'plot' :)
    I wish you and Philo a very merry Christmas and a blessed 2008!

  23. Annie,
    Just wanted to let you know I'm thinking about you! Take care!

  24. Annie, your breakfast room window looks bright and cheerful. All those flowers would lift anyone's spirits.

  25. I like the pansies, they look so Halloween-y! I got a start of that pink and white Christmas cactus, it's great to see one covered with blooms! Merry Christmas!!

  26. Thanks for starting Bloom Day, Carol - I do love this room and window!

    Lisa at Greenbow, I'll come over and see if that kalanchoe came through for you.

    You've mentioned the orange thing before, Mr McGregor's Daughter - I like small touches of it here and there, and so do the butterflies.

    Hello MSS - the light does make Austin special in winter. The 'Mutabilis' at Zilker are enormous - I'm not sure if I could keep it in a container for long. But if I put it in the ground near the patio, there may soon be no patio!

    Hi Leslie, I just keep looking at the seed capsule but have done nothing with it - probably because those Thanksgiving cactus are so easy to root.

    Ki - we came for a job - not for horticultural reasons - but it's been interesting. It would be nice to get some fruit, but from what I've read, that only happens about one in 4 years.

    Hello Pam/Digging - they're gaudy fun - just right for Circus~Cercis.
    I hope to see you soon, Pam.

    Phillip, when I lived in the North this rose made me envious of Southern garderers... owning one is so cool!

    The timing on this post was perfect, Jodi - a couple of freezes have changed the landscape in the last 2 weeks. Stay warm!

    Hi Kate - I'm glad you liked that crepe myrtle photo.
    Maybe I'll look for a smaller Mutabilis to put in a container - might take longer before it's unhappy in confinement?

    BlackswampKim - first I'll have to find out how!

    Digital Flower Pictures - you're welcome -hope your Holidays were good, too.

    Hi Chigiy - thank you - hope you had fun with your family!

    We have a big variation from December to December, Zoey - sometimes the real freeze comes earlier. This year Carol may have sent orders for no freeze until after Blooms Day ;-]

    A few days ago we raked up a big batch of leaves, Mary - which was a fall ritual in Illinois - so far the pansies are still okay.

    Pam in SC , it's pretty easy to like the garden in winter here... there was some color on an old pink crepe, but the prettiest red came on the semi-dwarf white 'Acoma'. Hope your December was happy.

    I do remember, Carolyn - actually don't have to think too hard because we've been back in winter quite a few times. I may not have a snow shovel here, but have wielded one at my sister's house!

    The cupheas are crispy brown now Entangled. They've come back from the roots each spring, so each winter I keep my fingers crossed.

    Hi Jon - I'll go check out those photos later today.
    As to links - sure! Actually - you've been in my links for quite awhile, but I didn't ask permission... so hope it's okay with you.

    Dee at Red Dirt - those microclimates are great, aren't they?
    I don't think there's room for a cactus in the bathroom, but your comment has made me wonder if hanging a very unhappy Boston fern in there would save it -Thanks!

    Hello Kerri - thank you - I still remember finding your blog [before I ever had one] and your amazing photos of your beautiful farm. A happy 2008 to you and yours!

    Thanks Cargol - the feeling is mutual!

    Hello Dawn, walking into this room is a pleasure each morning - especially if Philo started the coffee before I came out ;-]

    Hi Lisa - most of these plants were bought in November 2006 and some had few flowers last year - they surprising me with their colors.

    Thank you for all the comments,


  27. Okay, where are you?! Did you and Philo grab the shotgun and hit the road to Santa Monica? I miss my Annie in Austin!

  28. I just popped by to wish you and Philo a very happy and healthy 2008. And of course loads of garden and blogging fun too!

  29. It's nice to see something besides snow. My Henri Clematis was still blooming in November but it's buried now. Happy New Year;)

  30. The flowers are beautiful! Does the pale yellow Brugmasia open?

  31. I am glad that you are back home and in the blogging world. I've missed reading your blog and also, I realised, your comments in others' blogs as well.

    A fellow Sagittarian - now that is cool! I was glad to hear that you found your 50s to be interesting. I hope I can look back and say it was a kick! Thanks for that!

    Happy New Year to both you and Philo!


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