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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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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Follow-Ups, Friends & Neighbors

This post "Follow-Ups, Friends & Neighbors" was written for my Blogspot blog, The Transplantable Rose, by Annie in Austin.

A floral follow-up: The photo-defying shadows made this flower late for blooming day. The little bulbs, labeled Ixia/Corn Lilies, were on sale last fall so I stuck them in the temporary front bed. The package showed all kinds of pastel colors but mine are the colors of ears of corn. Has anyone else tried Ixia? Did it return for you the following spring?

Maybe this follow-up can count for Earth Day. Blackswamp Kim requested a photo of the Passionvine trellis - it's a recycled coatrack, once brass-colored plastic and aluminum, now painted antique white like the repurposed old iron fencework. Philo and I were at the semi-annual Settlement Home Garage Sale last fall and the second I saw it this idea popped into my head. The passionvine likes it, too.

One of the things I miss most about Illinois are Lilacs - when my Pacific Northwest daughter told me about her budding lilacs I was happy for her... but when Lily emailed this photo of what happened last weekend she didn't sound like a happy gardener! With any luck they'll still bloom - lilacs are pretty tough.

Last weekend my friend Pam/Digging and her lovely garden were featured on PBS-TV for the Central Texas Gardener. If you didn't get to see the show, go to the Central Texas Gardener website this week to see the clip - soon it will be available on YouTube.

I didn't take the camera when Rachel/In Bloom and I got to see the new rainwater collection system put in by Vicki/Playin' Outside. Here's her first post about the installation saga. Not only is the system impressive - the way she and her husband have integrated the huge tank into their garden is even more impressive - and the garden is filled with roses, herbs and frog songs.

At Spring Fling we met brother and sister Geoff and Anneliese of Cobrahead Blog. I was the lucky winner of a Cobrahead tool and took it for a test run. I'm used to my Cape Cod weeder, and still prefer that for picky weeding between the flowers in my crowded perennial beds, but the Cobrahead works much better in the vegetable garden, where weeds and grass sprouted overnight.

The action allows the head to go under weeds to get out more of the roots. It didn't take very long to do the tomato patch. [ and to you heirloom growers, yes - those potato-like leaves belong to 'Brandywine'.]

I took my prize Cobrahead along for the most recent Divas of the Dirt workday, and asked the other Divas to try it out and see if they liked it... the answer was a resounding 'yes' - it was especially good at getting weeds out of flowerbeds where they meet sidewalks & drives. It can mix soils and amendments, too.

The weather is warming up so these fragrant purple iris won't be around much longer. While I hope people on my block enjoy them, it's become more important that you enjoy them! What the heck has happened here?

It seems that in some way, the world of garden blogs has become the neighborhood of my heart and mind, so when the nominations for the Mouse & Trowel Awards were announced, it was overwhelming to be nominated a second time as the Garden Blogger You’d Most Like as a Neighbor. Last year the other nominees were May Dreams Carol, Blackswamp Kim and Pam/Digging and it amused me to imagine a neighborhood where we four could make horticultural waves. This year our imaginary neighborhood would let May Dreams Carol of Indianapolis, Jodi/Bloomingwriter of Nova Scotia, Canada, and myself from Austin, Texas have international fun with climate zones!

If you'd like to vote for this year's Mousies - please go here to the Mouse & Trowel website. You do not have to be a garden blogger to vote.

It's been a joy to meet so many of you in person during the past two years and with any luck those real life meetings will continue to happen...maybe someday you and I can sip a root beer float out on the veranda with our feet up on the iron rail and the fragrance of jasmine floating on the air.

This post "Follow-Ups, Friends & Neighbors" was written for my Blogspot blog, The Transplantable Rose, by Annie in Austin.


  1. I love those ixia. Can't wait to hear how the handle Austin in the long run.

    A lot has happened since last year's Mouse & Trowel award and this...A lot of us went from wishing we could know each other as neighbors to meeting and visiting each other in the flesh. A revolution in the social aspect of garden blogging has taken place.

    I'm glad we ARE neighbors...at least within driving distance. I wonder what the coming year will bring.

  2. Annie - How creative your passionflower vine trellis is - it add such character with your wrought iron. Congrats on your Mouse and Trowel nomination. I've voted! And I'd love to put my feet up on the iron rail and have a root beer float with you!

  3. Our little virtual neighborhood got larger, and at the same time, more intimate after the Spring Fling. I like it that way.

    Howdy Neighbor!

  4. Thanks for the shout-out, Annie. What a wonderful, newsy post this is. Congratulations on your Mousie nomination! I'm picturing the three nominees chatting over the garden fence. Luckily, thanks to garden blogs, we can ALL chat over the virtual garden fence. Thanks for being here.

  5. Congrats on the M&T nomination. I would love to have you for a neighbor. I like your repurposed trellis. I think they make the garden moreinteresting. I wouldn't mind trying the Cobra claw on the quack grass that invades my garden. It looks like it would really work it out.

    I haven't tried the flower you are talking about. I have actually never seen it before. It is very pretty though. I can seewhy you want to grow it.

    Our lilacs are about to pop.

  6. Hi Annie, yahoo to your nomination and also to the Ixia! I bought several packs of these last year, planted them and they came right up, made it through snow and frost and now look great, no buds yet though. Glad to see how pretty the flower is but was expecting mixed colors like the picture on the package. Doesn't Pam look cute? I will post photos when the Ixia bloom. I read that it likes to be near gaura, we have lots of that, so they are close by. Also, the dierama that was started from seed was mentioned as liking the same good drainage and full sun so the babies went in that area also. Already in that bed are eryngiums, belamcanda, stipa and nigella. Looking for some spikiness there. I rode in the car with the cobrahead kids, so smart and fun, and bought the tool at Natural Gardener. It does work well, look for a post about it on May 3.;->
    Frances at Faire Garden

  7. Since I'm partial to white flowers your Ixia looks terrific. I couldn't imagine it in pink.

    I'm glad the cobra head is working out for you. Now if it could do a number on dandelions I would buy it in a heartbeat!

    Well who wouldn't want you as a neighbor? You take as much interest in everyone else's garden and blog as your own. And your comments are thoughtful and insightful not the "oh wow" kind I'm oft guilty of doing. ;) Congratulations for the second year running.

  8. Your post is like a virtual visit to Circus~Cercis, seeing a few plants in bloom (love the corn lily), catching up on what other gardeners are doing, and talking about good gardening tools. What fun!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  9. You've painted a lovely picture...feet up, root beer float in hand and a sweet fragrance in the air...I'll be there.

    It's marvelous news about your nomination for a mousie! You would be a wonderful neighbor.


  10. Annie, congrats on the Mousie nomination! Your community-building efforts are very much appreciated by all, and particularly by me. I doubted that anybody was reading my blog until you began to comment on it.

    Darn it, now I've got the Mister Rogers theme song stuck in my head - Won't you be my neighbor?

  11. I'm glad we had a chance to see one another again post-Fling! Since we are all practically neighbors, I hope we can have get-togethers more often.

  12. Good morning MSS - the Ixia cost only a couple of dollars but I still hope they'll be perennial.
    Yes -we thought it was a big deal to have 10 Austin bloggers know each other - Pam changed that ;-]

    Welcome Let's Plant - thanks for visiting from Fort Pierce Florida - and yay for crinums!

    Hello Diana - reusing old metal suits not only my personality but my wallet. I'd better check the refrigerator for root beer in case anyone takes me up on this offer!

    Spring Fling did change things, didn't it Nancy - somehow I can now hear your voice when I read your posts and hey - Houston's just a couple of hours away.

    You're welcome Pam - we always knew you had star power.
    That virtual garden fence is what many of us hoped for - and now have.

    Hello Lisa at Greenbow - thank you. I don't know about quack grass but the cobrahead worked on the grasses in our garden. When bulbs are on sale I try just about anything!

    Thanks Frances - I'll be watching to see if you get colors.
    Actually, if I'd known mine would be in these soft yellows they could have gone in a couple of other borders, too. Gaura? What luck - there's a gaura plant and some Anisacanthus right nearby.

    Thank you Ki - I sure think of you as my neighbor, and hope we also get a real life meeting some day. After this past year anything can happen!
    Imagining Ixia in pink is what kept me from planting it in the border of yellow, blue, orange and purple!

    The Ixia and the Iris wouldn't cooperate for your Spring Fling visit, Carol - Philo fiddled with the settings on the camera so it displays what's in the photo, but still doesn't focus right. The iris are so pretty for real and I wish you could have smelled that grape scent, neighbor!

    Okay Gail - any preference as to brand of root beer? I think you could use some porch-sittin' right now, kiddo.

    Thank you, Entangled - lots of people were already reading your wonderful blog but maybe they were too shy to comment... MSS cured me of that years ago.
    Dear old Fred Rogers - that's not a bad song to have in your head ;-]

    It was fun, Rachel and must happen again soon...there are no scary streets between your house and mine!

    Thank you for all the comments,


  13. Great post, Annie! Congrats on your nomination, and I think a root beer sounds yummy (though I usually go for the other kind of beer :). I love your re-purposed items, much more attractive than any regular old mfg. trellis, IMO.

  14. I have to agree...I like the coatrack a lot as a trellis! I wonder if the cobrahead would work on bermuda grass...the bane of my yard. My tool of choice for weeding at this point is a big old wooden-handled screwdriver. Your tomatoes are looking happy...as are the iris!

  15. a root beer float is not on my diet, but it's a nice thought anyway. how about a glass of unsweetened ice tea.

  16. Those Ixia look interesting indeed.

    Love the snow capped lilacs.

    As far as I'm concerned, any neighborhood with gardeners is a GOOD neighborhood.

  17. What a wonderful way to recycle a coat rack. Congrats on the Mouse and Trowel nomination.

  18. Many people recommend Ixia for naturalizing in California gardens, along with Freesia and Sparaxis (as opposed to the tulips and daffs so beloved back east). I haven't grown them myself, but I'm tempted to try the aqua-colored Ixia viridiflora.

    Love how Pam's sweater matches her bottle tree.

    And root beer floats are one of my favorite things.

  19. Congratulations on the mousie nod. You would be fun to have as a neighbor!

    The jasmine vine looks fantastic. Mine is creeping all the way up to our second story deck and I just love the fragrance, so I know you must be relishing in it as well.

  20. You would be my choice for a neighbor, Annie! The root beer float with feet up on the iron rail, and the fragrance of jasmine floating in the air sounds devine. Maybe one of these days!
    I took a photo of pale turquoise Ixia growing in the temperate pavilion at BBG. That flower made a huge impression on me because of the unusual color and beautiful form. I hope yours returns next spring to bloom again. You may not have a mix of pastel colors, but they sure are pretty :)
    Lots of interesting things in this post Annie! Thanks for the link to Pam's TV debut. She's a star!

  21. The Corn Lilies are pretty - I hope they return every year. Your repurposed ironwork fence is beautiful with the coat rack - they provide a perfect backdrop for the passionvine.

    The purple iris look lovely - I can picture sitting on the green bench in the background and enjoying the view.

  22. Hi Lisa - thank you...and the other kind of beer might be available, too! I wouldn't put this in the front yard, but behind the fence, anything goes!

    Leslie - Dee at Red Dirt Ramblings in Oklahoma [in my blogroll] just posted about that very thing!

    Not a problem Bill, there's regular tea, green tea and my personal favorite, Tazo Wild Sweet Orange Herb Tea.

    Hello Hank - they're staying together pretty well in the heat, too. I sure hope you have lilacs budding?

    Thank you, Beverly - it's fun to go to charity garage sales, isn't it?

    Chuck, this is in the new front bed - maybe it has a chance up there...if they come back I'd love to try Ixia viridiflora!
    Somehow I don't think the color match to the bottle tree was pure chance!

    Thank you, Bonnie - well, we're sort-of neighbors at least! We have no second story so the jasmine is heading for the roof!

    Thank you, Kerri - you'd be a lot of fun - and I do hope we meet some day.
    I went back to look at the Ixia in your post - guess it's the same as the aqua one Chuck mentioned. Good thing Alice commented to ID it...that's a great color! And Pam has a natural screen presence!

    Hi Kate - it would be wonderful to have you sitting on that bench while the white iris bloomed, and not just because that would mean we'd be meeting at last. You see, if the iris were white, that timing would mean you'd be in warm Texas getting a little early spring break from the cold just before Spring slowly makes its way to Saskatchewan.

    Thank you all,


  23. Lovely to meet you too. You are part of my neighborhood.~~Dee

  24. Oooh... the coatrack is even better than I imagined! And I can't believe that is plastic and aluminum under there. It does match the wrought iron fence very well.

    You're feeding my recycling frenzy now, Annie. I'm going to have to keep an eye out at garage sales and treelawns for a coatrack... :)

  25. Maybe one of these days, I'll be able to read posts closer to the date they're posted. This one was lovely, and how nice to find your link to my site. You are such a thoughtful and talented "neighbor". How happy I am you are close enough for face to face, too.


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