It was lucky for me that Carol of May Dreams Garden hadn’t invented Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day last January - all of Austin was encased in ice in the 15th of that month! This winter has brought repeated freezes – but it's also been very dry – and no water means no ice. The cold was deep enough to freeze the iris buds and send even sturdy pink skullcaps into a sulk.
The Angel Trumpet had one flower and a couple of buds on the 15th of last month but then cold weather killed the leaves and made my poor Brug into a brown stalk. Will it be able to sprout from the base in spring? I hope that being close to the south wall will keep the roots alive.
The Pineapple sage and Hummingbird salvia froze to the ground, along with the five cupheas. The clematis looks dormant and we've raked up the leaves on pecan and crepe myrtle trees. What you see clinging to the pecan branches are the open husks left after the nuts fell to the ground. We've never seen this happen before - in previous years the squirrels took all the husks while they were green.
Some of you may suspect you’re being set up with this parade of brown, wintery photos – this is the blog belonging to one of those sub-tropical Austin gardeners, after all!
Well, maybe I have been teasing you a little – the landscape may not be lush, and the blooms are small, but if you look closely there are definitely flowers here at Circus~Cercis, even after repeated dips into the mid-twenties [ that’s minus 2-to-3 degrees Celsius].
To have pansies in bloom here isn’t a surprise – it’s the norm. On Saturday morning we Divas of the Dirt held our annual planning breakfast and a couple of us stopped off at Shoal Creek Nursery for a few plants. I picked up some small starts of alyssum, and have been tucking them into the containers with the pansies. With a little luck the small plants can stay alive until early spring transforms them into scented sprigs of white.
Four hanging baskets of pansies line up along the veranda. They can tolerate most cold snaps without too much damage, but growth is very slow.
The ‘Julia Child’ and ‘Mutabilis’ roses have green leaves and no flowers, as do two of the ‘Champagne’ mini-roses and a pale pink mini-rose from my daughter. And every rose in the garden shows some sign of blackspot. But one of the ‘Champagne’ roses has a couple of buds, and Carol’s rules say buds count!
The small plant of Scabiosa ‘Butterfly Blue’ doesn’t mind what we call winter here. Faded flowers and new buds surround one open bloom.
The Camellia sasanqua ‘Shishi Gashira’ holds onto one last hot pink flower.
The light red Camellia japonica ‘Pius X’ started its show this past week. I took this photo through yet another basket of pansies. Then I held petals of the two camellias together for a color comparison.
The sasanqua petals at the bottom are a rosier pink, while the ‘Pius X’ tends toward sour cherry color – less pink and more red.
Austin gardeners force paperrwhite narcissus bulbs for indoor bloom but I ignore the usual advice to discard the bulbs after bloom, choosing to plug the bloomed-out bulbs into a borders and let them rebuild. The tiny daffodils may flower outdoors in subsequent winters. This clump came in kit form a few years ago and has bloomed three years in a row.
A plant of the purple oxalis blooms in a sheltered spot near the house wall.
This white oxalis blooms in a bowl on the veranda
Cold has darkened the leaves on a trailing white lantana but the tiny flowers are undaunted.
Under the house eaves, one expanding bud from the unnamed pink climbing rose is rather startling to see.
Inside the house the Thanksgiving cactus are almost done, and at least one of them is making a new seedpod.
The peach-colored Thanksgiving cactus, the red cyclamen and the faithful coral pelargonium/geranium bloom on the windowsill ...
while the Mother of Thousands seen in the January 3rd post continues to open buds near the breakfast room window.
The temperatures were in the sixties today, not tropical, but quite pleasant in the sun. Actually, taking the photos was difficult because the sun was too strong. Nine years ago Philo and I were spending sleepless nights as we tried to decide whether to move to Austin. Pioneer garden blogger MSS of Zanthan Garden hadn't started her blog yet and we knew little about Austin plants. I now wonder - would seeing photos of an Austin January on someone's blog have made our decision easier?
See what's blooming in other gardens at January Garden Blogger's Bloom Day.
This post, "Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day for January", was written for my blogspot blog called The Transplantable Rose by Annie in Austin.