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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, April 25, 2008

Enjoying the Unexpected

This post, "Enjoying the Unexpected", was written for my blogspot blog called The Transplantable Rose by Annie in Austin.

Sometimes the things you plant surprise you in good ways - that's what happened here a few times this week. The temperatures are now in the high 80's, even the late iris are almost done and the phlox foliage is about 8" tall, so the season should be early summer in this part of the long fence bed. Look who just showed up-
This is a 'Pink Pride' daffodil, one of a dozen bulbs planted last fall. The bulbs made foliage but I'd given up hope of seeing a bloom.

My daughter and son-in-law had a mini-rose sent to me last year for Mothers Day - they didn't get a choice of color but knew it would be pretty. The shipment had a rough ride from the organic grower in California but the rose recovered enough to make a couple of buds, in a pale peach color.

Because of last summers flooding rain I kept the mini-rose in a container so it wouldn't drown. It didn't bloom again but branched out and then when cold weather came it lost all its leaves. I kept it in the pot, bringing it in the garage whenever we dipped below freezing.

The rose leafed out e
arly this spring and I planted it near the blue scabiosa and the coppery orange ranunculus. Here's the first rose - not a pale peach, but a color like the inside of a melon, which blends perfectly in this border!

I wonder if the more intense color is a response to more heat and sunlight? I don't see any other buds but the whole plant seems to have more substance and vigor since it left the container. Maybe it will take a little longer for this little rose to settle in and display its true color.

You've already seen the true color of the Schlumbergera/Thanksgiving cactuses - they all bloomed in the breakfast window last winter. Once the chance of frost was low, I moved three of them out to the veranda for the summer. All three plants made another set of buds which are now opening. Very unexpected!

Larkspur is one of my favorite annuals - one reason I love the meadow at Zant
han Gardens. I bought double lilac larkspur seeds in fall 2005 after we had the long fence bed started, and threw them around. For three springs they've sprouted and grown, and usually bloomed, but the flowers in Central Austin usually bloom a few weeks earlier than mine here in NW Austin. Larkspur like air and sun so last year's wet spring made their flowering season very short. The double lilac larkspur are blooming now and have reached new heights - I'm 5'6" on a good day and my larkspur are taller than I am. Having larkspur the size of delphiniums was a good surprise for me!

The next unexpected thing was what I ate for lunch today...a radish sandwich. I pulled a few radishes and washed them, then cut them up. I tasted a couple of slices and found them crisp with a good bite.

Next I buttered whole wheat toast, adding layers of thinly sliced radish and a little romaine lettuce. The sandwich was delicious, crunchy but mellow - not hot. The unexpected part isn't that the sandwich tasted good. The unexpected part is that I might never have tried this if another garden blogger, Yolanda Elizabet in Holland, hadn't described her lunch a few weeks ago. Thank you, Yolanda!

Have you ever planted a seed from an apple or orange or the pit from a cherry or peach? Garden experts will tell you not to bother doing this when starting the home orchard - to always buy a named tree instead.
But my nephew and his parents weren't planning a home orchard a few years ago - they just wanted to find out if something special could happen. Grandma had ordered a box of luscious Harry & David peaches for the whole family and
after enjoying the fruit Jake and his mom & dad ceremoniously planted the peach pit in the back yard. The peach seed sprouted and grew and was watched over. Last year it was swaddled in net to protect it from the Seventeen Year cicadas.

Now in its 3rd Spring, the peach is taller than Jake's Dad, and it has chosen to bless my sister's family with a cloud of pink blossoms.
My nephew is justly proud of starting the tree and I'm impressed that my family believed in the power of a seed. Thanks for letting me use your photos, Jake! Whether or not this particular family tree ever bears edible peaches, it's a fine thing to see after a long hard Chicago winter.

This post, "Enjoying the Unexpected", was written for my blogspot blog called The Transplantable Rose by Annie in Austin.


  1. Wow, that peach tree is really something. Makes me want to plant all kinds of fruit seeds "just to see".

    And daffodils in summer, larkspurs taller than you? I love unexpected surprises like those in the garden.

    What are you feeding those plants?

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  2. What great surprises you have gotten! The rose is a beautiful color. I've never eaten radishes, I'm scared to even try.
    I love the peach tree story. My mother always tried to grow a peach tree by tossing her pits out the window but nothing ever grew in New Hampshire. Just goes to show that some things that are heard aren't always true. And see what a nice memory it has now for the whole family.

  3. Well, first, the rose is just gorgeous. I love that soft peach color. And your radishes...I was checking on mine today and now I'm craving a radish sandwich. Thanks for the idea.

    Finally, I just love the peach tree that your nephew grew. Keep us informed if it actually bears fruit in the years ahead!

  4. That's great about the peach tree--good for them! And please keep us posted about the results of those flowers. Harry & David is a popular supplier of Christmas presents in my family.

    "I wonder if the more intense color is a response to more heat and sunlight?"

    I recently bought a T&M rose called 'Honey Bouquet'; someone on Dave's Garden (I think) said it's basically a yellow rose in hot weather, but its blooms have an apricot cast in cooler weather. (I can't wait!)

    Radish sandwich sounds delicious--but around here radishes usually get popped in the gardener's mouth long before making it to the kitchen.

    I envy your all-fired-up spring. We're still in the low 60s in San Francisco. Borrrring.

  5. The mini-rose color is just beautiful paired with the scabiosa...if I was guaranteed that color I'd almost try for that combo...even though I'm leery of orange-ish flowers. Maybe you'll see more buds soon...my mini-roses bloom off and on all summer in one of the hottest spots in my garden. The radishes in the day care garden will be ready in a week or so...wonder if I can sell the sandwich idea to them? It looks really good to me!

  6. Congratulations to Jake for planting that peach pit and watching over it as it grew. He's a gardener for sure. Scientist too maybe. Pretty cool.

    You lucked out with that melon-colored rose. It's a beauty, much better than the paler color from last year.

  7. Gosh, that radish sandwich made my mouth water just thinking about it. (being away and eating restaurant food makes me crave fresh fruit and veg, so its a trip to the farm market in the morning). Here's hoping the peach tree does well for Jake and family!

  8. Jake's peach tree is beautiful. It's amazing it's that tall after only three years.

    My mom always grew radishes. I'm sure she still does. They were one of my favorites. I'd just brush off the dirt, and pop 'em in my mouth!

  9. Hi Annie, so many wonderful things in this post, food, family, flowers. Love, them all, and have to agree about YE's sandwich idea, never heard of such a thing, but tried it and loved it too. And your larkspur so tall, and that crazy mixed up daffodil, what a treat! Good for you.

  10. Lots of lovely surprises...including a change in the weather with rain and cooler temperatures.

    On last week's Master Gardener tour I learned about a grapefruit tree planted from a seed (and moved from pot to pot over the years) which finally bore fruit in Mary Bakatsa's garden. Wow!

    The late daffodil is a surprise indeed. I like all those peachy colors you have in your garden. And that's one tremendous looking larkspur. (Thanks for the shout-out). I only had one plant that had double-flowers this year. And one plant that had green flowers, something I've never seen before.

  11. Carol, the peach tree amazed me - it was a reminder not to let too much information stop us from having fun and experimenting!
    I use compost and organic liquid foliar feeds but think the larkspur's height results from genetics rather that nutrition ;-]

    Oh dear, Vanillalotus! Maybe just a few radish slices mixed in a salad would be a good way to try them. In San Antonio it might be cool to grow a loquat from seed instead of a peach.

    Thank you Bonnie - I should be seeing this tree in person soon - so will give you a report! Enjoy the radishes~

    Our closets are stuffed with handy Harry and David boxes, Chuck - they were a long-standing tradition.
    Be strong!! Carry a few radishes into the kitchen and give it a try!

    Hello Leslie - I'm very partial to the peachy tones with lilac-blues myself!
    Some kids love radishes but some hate them! The butter is, in the words of Garrison Keillor, a "Mellowing Agent"...even more that ketchup!

    Jake and his brother have had small vegetable gardens all their young lives...I've enjoyed great cherry tomatoes they've grown, too.
    I sure hope the rose will be happy and keep blooming!

    Never saw a radish sandwich on a menu, Jodi! Have fun at the farm market1

    Hello Garden Girl - it's almost doubled in size from last spring!
    I like radishes from the garden, but must be part raccoon...must wash them!

    It was a fun post to write, Frances - and you'll have to tell Yolanda about trying the radish sandwich idea.
    Another treat was an inch of rain last night - everything is sparkly today.

    I heard about that grapefruit tree, MSS - what an amazing story. Philo would be even more interested because he likes grapefruit but I can't stand the smell of them.
    If I can find the seed package you'll know the name of that larkspur, too.

    Thank you all,


  12. I love the radish sandwich - and moreover since they came from your garden, as well as Jake's Bull's shirt ;)

  13. I'm happy for Jake that nobody told his Peach tree that it's too cold in Chicago to grow here. What a lovely surprise. Your other garden surprises are great too. My continuing surprises this Spring are all the Sanguinaria that I've transplanted (& forgotten) or that has sowed itself all over the back garden.

  14. I love it when nature rewards us with delightful surprises...the garden seed has been planted in Jake and he will have many adventures to share with his family.

    The surprise in my garden is a trillium that is 18 inches tall!


  15. My goodness, that double larkspur is ginormous! I also love the peach rose and the peach tree.

    And you've given me a new idea for my radishes. I grow them, realize I don't like them that much, and give them away. Now I'll keep a few and try your idea. Thanks for the suggestion.

  16. I love radish, any which way. :) Your miniature rose is beautiful! You are way ahead of us here in NS, of course, but my mini rose isn't doing so well. I re-planted it into a larger pot than the little one it came in, hoping the new soil and more room would encourage new growth. It LOOKS wonderful with dark green leaves and new growth, but a lot of them have fallen. I try to make sure it gets at least a half day of sun (when we have it) and keep it moist, hopefully not too moist. The pot has good drainage. Perhaps it'll take off once it can go outside to stay.

  17. Annie, your post reminds me of how important hope is to gardeners and how uplifting it is when our hopes are rewarded, as yours and Jake's were. Thank you for sharing the delicate coloring of that daffodil and the profusion of blooms on Jake's peach tree with us: now I feel uplifted, too. The mini-rose is a luscious color: I need to find something that shade to go with my scabiosa. I share your love of larkspur. Renee Shepherd of Renee's Seeds sells a variety she calls Earl Grey that's a pale lilac/mauve and they've done fairly well for me. I'm hoping to save seeds when it's done blooming: y'all let me know if you'd like some.

  18. That sandwich photo made my head spin. Sandwiches being my favorite thing on earth to eat-when they're made right and yours look like my kinda sandwich.

  19. Annie, getting the pleasure to read your posts is like sunshine after a soothing rain. I love the meandering path all connected by a central theme. I bet they will get peaches form that tree.~~Dee

  20. Oh my gosh, that peach tree is amazing! And so tall, for being so young. Like you said, it's a reminder not to let too much information get in our way. :)

    By the way, I adore that miniature rose. What a wonderful color!

  21. Lovely color in that mini rose. It would look great in my son's orange garden...we dip into melon, gold, and yellow as well as purple, too. Does the rose keep it's melony color as it fades? We have a small rose that fades to pink and clashes with everything.

    Larkspur is on my list to try next year. I have put a reminder on my fall calendar for sowing.

    The radish sandwich looks tasty. I love finding lunch in the garden.

  22. The garden surprises (aided by a poor memory sometimes) makes gardening such a pleasure. Just when you've given up on a particular plant or having planted something and not expecting it to bloom or more typically for me planting bulbs and forgetting where I've planted them and finding flowers for the first time is a wonder. Wonderfully colored, elegant narcissus.

    Peach trees are quite beautiful when in bloom. We bought one because our daughter chose the tree just for the flowers but it also has great tasting peaches if I can keep the bugs at bay and I remember to pick off the numerous fruit - thin the fruit - after June drop.

    That's a sandwich combo I'd never think to try. We'll give it a whirl on your and Yolanda Eliabet's recommendation.

    Your rose must be awfully happy to produce such nice blossoms. The sunny color is in keeping with your Texas garden.

  23. What a cute post. My thanksgiving cactus bloomed just in time for tax day, so that was my recent surprise!

  24. Annie,

    Oh, I'm giggly with your blossoms and the SIZE of your plants. Your family tree is lovely, too, but I can't get those radishes off my mind. I eat them plain, like gumdrops. Yours are like eye candy. Love'em.


  25. Gorgeous rose Annie , pale peach is such a delicate colour. Glad you tried the radish sandwich and liked it too. And you're welcome Annie!

    Re the peach tree: miracles do happen and much more often than we think. It looks great being covered in blossom. No wonder Jake (and his dad too) is proud of it!

  26. Beautiful rose and peach blossoms. If I had listened to my Asian friends instead of the "experts" I would have planted those lychee, longan and rambutan seeds from Asia 4 years ago and now reaping fruits!

  27. Your nephew looks very proud of that peach tree, and with good reason. It's a beauty! I hope they get lots of peaches.
    Hmmm...a radish sandwich. I'm not a lover of radishes...more of a liker...but this sounds like something I might like so I'll give it a try.
    Your Pink Pride daff is softly pretty, and the little rose made a great comeback, didn't she?
    Wow, those larkspurs are very appropriate for Texas!
    Our crabapples (formerly known as redbuds;) have blooms on them this spring...not a whole lot...but enough to satisfy. I'm excited to see them :)


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