About Me
My Photo
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.
View my complete profile

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, May 2008

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, May 2008 was written for the Transplantable Rose by Annie in Austin.

I'm happy to join in the May 2008 edition of Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, one of the wonderful creations of dear Carol of May Dreams Garden. Carol just won a bunch of Mousies including Best NA blog, best post, innovation, Blog of year and blogger you'd like as a neighbor ~ congratulations to you and to all the other Mouse & Trowel winners, and to Colleen, who after thinking up the Mousies last year, decided to have a sweet new baby at Mousie time this year.

No, those daffodils aren't blooming in my garden! And I don't have peonies sending up red stalks either - this scene is from my sister Josie's garden in Illinois, taken about 10 days ago.

And this lilac belongs to my youngest sister, Red - yay! I got to smell lilacs for the first time in years!

Back in my Austin garden, the flowers aren't as showy as the lilacs and tulips that will be appearing in all the Northern blogs... there are small flowers of herbs like Cilantro, small but intensely colored flowers of various salvias, and some daylilies.

The first daylilies to bloom are small reblooming varieties like the lemon-colored 'Happy Returns' and the above passalong called 'Vi's Apricot'. Here's the view from the back door. That clump of intense blue near the obelisk is Salvia farinacea. The common name is "Mealy Blue Sage". For some reason that sounds creepy so I'll stick to botanical Latin for this flower! I used to grow it as annual in Illinois and was happy when it occasionally reseeded. Here in Austin it's frequently perennial when grown where the roots don't get too wet in winter. The purplish-pink flower in the long border is Mexican oregano/Poliomintha longiflora. Moving around to the back fence there's a Hummingbird Garden with Salvia guaranitica and Salvia 'Black & Blue' [both with deep blue flowers] and three kinds of Salvia with red flowers: Pineapple sage/Salvia elegans, Hummingbird sage/Salvia coccinea, and Salvia greggii. These small flowers barely show up if you're more than 5-feet away, but the hummingbirds can usually find them!

Passalong Shasta daisies are blooming too, and this year I added red zinnias. Right now the plants I like best in this garden don't even have flowers - look at those tall burgundy leaved cannas! We've had some storms and rain in the last couple of days - and tornado sightings had our computers shut down last night. Even when the grass is wet the patio usually dries off pretty quickly, so I took a few photos to show what it would look like if you were seated at the table. From the table we can look at the hummingbird garden across a container filled with Salvia microphylla 'Hot Lips', Salvia 'Nuevo Leon' and a stray double lilac larkspur. The 'Hot Lips' and larkspur are shown in the closeup above with the long view below. Frances of Faire Garden is also a 'Hot Lips' fan, so this would be a good place to offer congratulations to her for winning a Mousie for best new blog. Swing your eyes over to the left and closest to you is the patio extension made of decomposed granite with the Disappearing Fountain and herb troughs. A narrow triangle garden with its base at the right comes next. This is a new bed, with a few annuals and some lavender so far. A larger triangle with the base to the left, parallel to the house, extends next, enclosing the obelisk, daylilies and other perennials, and the 'Little Gem' magnolia. The final 'layer' in the view is the long mixed border along the wooden fence. So even though the area isn't large, when we sit and look across the space, there's always lots to see.

The vegetable garden is at right behind the yellow Adirondack chair - the radishes are done and we're watching the 'Juliet' tomatoes closely. What's that spot of blue-violet between the Magnolia and the obelisk in the triangle? It's too early for Balloonflowers - Holy Cow! It's a confused 'Amethyst Flame' iris, a lovely passalong from Pam/Digging that bloomed in early spring. Speaking of Pam - congratulations to her on winning Mousies for both design and photography! Now that I'm closer to the obelisk another flower shows up - these sweet peas were planted at the end of January but unlike the yearly spring show for MSS at Zanthan Gardens or Karen's crop at Savannah Diary, mine did nothing until last weekend when buds finally appeared - here's the first flower.

Rather than putting up hummingbird feeders I've chosen to add plants that are supposed to give them nectar - like this form of bat-faced cuphea in a hanging basket near the breakfast room window - Cuphea llavea 'Totally Tempted' is showy, but it's not very "Bat-faced" is it?

On the shadier side of the bay window is a plant less likely to thrive here, but it was only a couple of dollars. My justification was that sometimes hummingbirds go for them but the truth is that I really miss seeing fuchsias in bloom.

The side garden has one tree in bloom - for the first time our pomegranate made buds and sort-of opened petal-packed, frazzled looking flowers. Maybe we'll luck out and get fruit, too!
Also in this side garden is a little Mock orange brought to Texas as a seedling. For a 9-year old plant it's very small, but unlike the enormous and thriving Mock orange seen on the April Blooming Day - this one has the delicious and traditional Philadelphus fragrance.
Congratulations to all four of the Garden Rant team on their Mousie for Writing and to Yolanda Elizabet at Bliss for Best International Garden Blog. Wow! I just realized that I've met several of the Mouse & Trowel winners in person - May Dreams Carol, Faire Frances, Austin's own Pam at Digging, and three of the Ranters - Susan Harris, Elizabeth Liccata and Amy Stewart...how cool! I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Yolanda will be on that met-in-person list some day, too.

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, May 2008 was written for the Transplantable Rose by Annie in Austin.


  1. Beautiful blooms, Annie! I wasn't familiar with 'Hot Lips.' I think I may be in love :-)

    I did a double-take when I saw the lilac photo at first, because I remember you commenting on my blog last year how much you miss them. Mine are in bloom now, too. If you Austin gardeners didn't have such gorgeous gardens, I'd feel sorry for you, deprived of lilacs ;-)

    Happy Bloom Day!

  2. Very nice narratives with all of your beautiful flowers and gardens.

  3. I'm so glad you got to smell the Lilacs. It is such a special treat. I used to have 'Happy Returns' daylily, but it didn't like being moved to a container & never returned.
    Your garden looks so lush after the rain, I've got Salvia & Sweet Pea envy. Those colors are like a jewel box. This afternoon I made an impulse buy of a Fuschia that looks like yours. They are such neat flowers.

  4. I love all the shots but particularly the one of your new fountain. Delightfully refreshing! Bottled lilac smell just isn't the same is it.

  5. Oooh, a mock orange with fragrance! I was smelling all the mock oranges in bloom when I was making the nursery rounds this spring, and none of them were scented. If I end up planting the other side yard next winter, the plan is to fill it with fragrant flowering bushes. Winter honeysuckle, mock orange... :)

    I love your purple canas, too. I just got a purple-leafed variety called "Australia." I may lop the flowers off if they're too obnoxious, but the color of the leaves is deliciously saturated.

  6. Hi Annie, many thanks for the shout out and link, Ms Hot Lips thanks you also. You really have a full and varied garden, so nice to enjoy from the patio. I adore those cupheas, yours is particularly pretty in the hanging basket. Hooray for your salvias, I can hear your lovely voice singing about them in my mind's ear. And good for you getting a fragrant mock orange, a must have for lovely memories, a need to have for me now. That is the same exact sweet pea growing here, just started blooming last week, do you know the name, I have lost it? Your pomegranate is a beauty, just as lovely as at the David garden. Hope you get some hummingbirds visit your fuschia. Thanks for a flower filled bloom day from North Austin!

  7. I love seeing your garden in these photos...I have a better feel for it as a whole now, I think, and it is just so nice! I feel like we have a similar approach to our designs, vignettes and all, and maybe that's why I like yours so much! (Although your grass is much nicer than mine has been for years.)My sweet peas are finishing up but much of the rest of your blooms are the same as here. How long have you had your pomegranate? I got a free one at the big open house at UCDavis this year...it's about 4 inches tall...wonder how many years until I get blooms??!

  8. What a lovely tour of your garden today. So much to see, and where shall I start with my "I want" list? I want to grow some salvias as I have none in my garden and that seems wrong. Any recommendations for a midwestern like me?

    And thank you for the kind words about the Mouse & Trowel awards. My ideas, like bloom day, would be nothing without wonderful bloggers like you joining in. Thank you!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  9. Wonderful view from your patio. I love all of the salvia that you have. I'd like to try the cuphea but I haven't seen it for sale here. I've found that the hummers spend more time in my garden moving from flower to flower than they spend next door at my neighbors feeder. They've made it to Kerri's so they should be here in about a week I hope.

  10. I like your garden, I feel so at home as you walk me around to see your lovely blooms...I know the porch is a comfortable place to sit. Just that, sit and be!

    BTW, i love Salvia so I am charmed by all you have.


  11. Annie - I love the Hot lips and the Fuchsia. Doesn't the blue of the Black and Blue Salvia make everything else look so mcuh more vibrant - mine's blooming, too and I love it. Your fountain looks great - I'm sure you enjoy sitting out there and listening to it. Happy GBBD!

  12. Annie, I love everything I see in your pictures! If you see a little red truck covered with stickers driving slowly back & forth past your house some day, it's me on one of my visits to my sister in Austin :-) I didn't plant sweet peas this year and I wish that I had ... love their fragrance. Next year!

  13. I growl at my sweet peas. I finally got fed up with them today for doing nothing for me. While pruning back some oregano I reached out and ripped them out of the ground...only to see a flower opened at the top wright as I ripped it out. I could have cried. I gently tucked it back into the dirt and cut it back to try and save it but I'm sure it will die just to get back at me.
    Glad you were more patient with yours.

  14. Hi Colleen and congratulations on the new baby and the success of your idea!
    Maybe just the gardeners who once lived North and now live South feel lilac-deprived? The other ones don't really know what they're missing ;-]

    Thank you for visiting and commenting, Tina!

    Hello Mr McGregor's Daughter - the tight buds taunted me until the last 2 days! I grew 'Happy Returns' in IL and I missed it. It took me 5 years to realize I could just buy another one!

    Thank you, Layanee - we're seeing birds at the fountain that have never shown up here before. It's been wonderful.

    In the North they all have fragrance, don't they Lori? Good luck on finding a fragrant Mock orange that can take our weather! The Sweet Olives like it here, thank heavens!

    You're very welcome and your Mousie win is not a surprise to me, Frances!! I like that "full and varied" ... it sounds so much better than "hodge podge"!
    The sweet pea is the very old heirloom 'Cupani', once recommended to me by MSS of Zanthan. We saw only one hummer so far, but have fingers crossed... last year a pair made a nest in the front live oak.

    I'm glad you liked those larger views, Leslie - someday I'll figure out how to show the actual dimensions of our small, oddly shaped lot. Nature watered the grass, but I do give it an organic foliar feed in spring and hand weed a little.
    The pomegranate was about 4-FEET tall when we planted it 18 months ago. These flowers were overdue.

    Welcome Carol! But unlike Susan of Garden Rant no way will I say "YOU DA MAN"!! I'd rather think of you as Chief Cruise Director for the Floral Love Boat!
    Go for the Salvia farinacea and grow 'Hot Lips' as an annual.

    Thank you Apple - I've heard of people growing cupheas in the north and taking cuttings to root and grow inside over winter. In other years the hummers were regulars in our garden and I hope they'll find plenty of sipping flowers here.

    It would have been nice if we had an extra couple of days at Spring Fling, Gail ... I would have enjoyed having you sit near that fountain!

    Once I saw 'Black & Blue' I knew it had to grow in my garden, Diana - bet you know the feeling! The fountain has been wonderful so far.

    If I see that red truck I'll run out and haul you inside for iced tea or coffee, Cindy. I planted them before and got zip- so this is very exciting.

    Oh Bonnie! I'm so sorry! Maybe the plant will be so happy with the rain that it will settle in again? I was actually contemplating ripping mine out last week but then saw Karen's post and figured mine still had a chance.

    Thank you for the comments,


  15. Pecans in 2007, Pomegranates in 2008!!! (I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you there, Annie.) :)

    The double lilac larkspur made a very nice design choice there--it looks great next to the 'Hot Lips' salvia. And I'm jealous that the salvia farinacea is somewhat hardy for you there, it's so pretty.

    That cuphea, though... I like it, but I agree that "bat-faced" hardly seems right. Maybe Komodo-dragon-faced?!

  16. Annie - I'd never heard of Sweet Olive, but I just did a Google search and now I'm intrigued. And as an added plus to the fragrance, it's evergreen. Maybe if I moved the fig tree by the porch...


    And yeah, the northerners get all the luck with the lilacs. I just console myself with the thought that I killed every single rose I ever tried to grow when I lived in Wisconsin.

  17. Your Salvia farinacea is so much more developed than mine. Mine as only now started to resprout, and it will take it a few weeks to be as big as yours. My pomegranate is also in full bloom, so I'm expecting to have quite some pomegranates in a few months.

  18. Same here Annie, I'd love to meet you in person too although I've had had the privilege to have seen you on YouTube a few times. ;-)

    Once again lovely blooms in your garden Annie. I'm glad you've had the chance to smell the lilacs once again. Such a wonderful scent, don't you think? Luckily you have a beautiful Mock orange in your garden to provide you with another delicious scent.

    Your tomatoes are showing promise already, wish mine were at that stage too.

    Happy GBBD Annie and welcome back!

  19. Love the hummingbird garden! I'm envious of the red salvias - I have trouble getting those to bloom before fall (well, except for the splendens types). A few of my S. farinacea survived the winter, but it'll be a while before they have flowers.

    I hope you get pomegranates, but I'd be happy with just the flowers ;-)

  20. It was fun to see your blooms, and your sisters', too! love the Salvia farinacea. I have a mock orange, but it hasn't bloomed yet here in Utah.

  21. I'm a big fan of your Salvias too, Annie and would like to grow more. I have a couple this year..one perennial, returning from last year and one annual (I think) started from seed. I read your recommendations for Carol and will try those. The hot lips is awesome :)
    I leaned towards the monitor to smell that gorgeous sweet pea :)
    I'm so glad you were able to see daffs and smell lilacs this spring!
    The view from your patio looks wonderfully interesting.
    The hummingbirds love my Marinka Fuchsia. I hope they come to your pretty plant too.
    I saw cuphea at the Cornell Plantations last year and would like to try it. Yours in the basket is spectacular.
    How wonderful to have daylilies already, and your Iris looks very much like my purple.
    We grew the little Juliet tomatoes last year and will plant them again at the end of May. They're delicious.
    It's been a wonderful stroll through your garden again, Annie. Happy Bloom Day!

  22. I have sweet peas started. The ones I started in pots are four inch shoots. The ones I started outdoors are maybe a half inch up.

  23. What a lovely tour through your garden! Not to mention the gardens of your sisters. I've recently begun to post pics from my family members who garden. Isn't it amazing when you see blooms you haven't had at home yet, or have already spent themselves? The worst for me is not being able to grow my Mom's lilacs in southern Cal. So thanks to Red for sharing them with all of us.

  24. Ahh.....your yard looks so wonderful. My back yard seems to be in a state of flux and snail infestation...



  25. You have some of my favorite flowers here - pineapple sage, bat-faced cuphea and the black and blue salvia. It will be a while before I'll have blooms though.

  26. I just love that Hot Lips salvia. I haven't seen it around here and I have looked for it. booooooo

    I just love the Bat-faced Cuphea. I have used it several years in the garden.

    I think the view from your table is very inviting. I could sit there and peruse the garden with a cup of tea most any time.

  27. Thanks for the great tour of your garden! It's so interesting to see the different varieties of plants growing in another part of the country. I am so glad you showed the Salvia Farinacea. I just included it in one of my posts about favorite annuals, but all I had to show right now was a flat of young plants. Did you grow them in Illinois, too? I love so many things about them, and though they're not perennials up here, as you know, they do self-seed sometimes.
    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  28. Beautiful! And there's many months to go! Hard to stay indoors this time of year, isn't it?

  29. Gosh, there's so much I want to comment on here. I spotted your magnolia right away- how tall will that little gem get? We have lots of plants in common.. the blue salvia i'm always drawn to- haven't grown it for a while I usually go for the mystic spires in lieu of it here.

    You had me looking up 'Hot Lips' salvia-- alas, too hot for it here.

    Oh, that deeply colored foliage on the canna - I WANT SOME OF THAT!... sigh... next year...

    Don't you just love sitting at your table and letting your eyes take in all the wonderful views... always changing, ever growing? You have created a very peaceful setting to feast your eyes and soul on.
    Meems @Hoe&Shovel

  30. Totally Tempted cuphea looks more like a petunia than a bat-face, doesn't it? Interesting. And every time I see pineapple sage on your blog, I mean to get one or several for my garden.

  31. Blackswamp Kim, the pecan was so exhausted it didn't make the female flowers this year, so I'll hope for a pomegranate.
    Last year's cuphea died, but by the time I was sure they wouldn't revive, this fluffy one was all that I could find. It looks okay in the basket but might look goofy in a border!

    Hello Lori - Sweet Olive is a plant I'd read about for years and years in the north where they aren't hardy. Since we moved here I've bought 3 of them [one is in a container, two in the ground] and I love the scent in winter.

    Sometimes mine all die, Gintoino but there are usually a few seedlings around...it's worthwhile to learn to recognize them! Your single pomegranate flowers are more beautiful than the doubles, I think.

    Hello Yolanda Elizabet - maybe we'll get lucky, but visiting blogs is pretty wonderful, too.
    Thanks for the kind words!

    The intention is for hummingbirds, Entangled, but they've been scarce this year so far - the regulars at the fountain might be too rowdy or something!
    You know the secret...flowers are the main reason - fruit would be a bonus.

    The mockoranges were still tight buds in IL when I left, Muum - seems they were in fullest bloom around Memorial Day when I lived there... hope yours puts on a show soon!

    Kerri, you have such good luck overwintering tender plants near your glass doors! Maybe the 'Hot Lips' could make it?
    I hope the hummingbirds will come and find this fuchsia, too - with our current heat wave it may come into the air-conditioning and be a houseplant. Thanks for strolling with me, Kerri - I sure enjoy seeing your country gardens.

    Hello Kathy - yours should bloom in the middle of summer, then, right? I hope you get some nice bouquets!

    Thanks for coming over, Weeping Sore - it was fun to see your sister's garden as well as your own California plants and projects. It was odd to see the daffodils again since mine are all gone.

    Thank you, Nancy - it's been a little dry for slugs and snails lately, but up close the leaves in my garden look pretty chewed up, too.

    That's interesting, Phillip that we have some plants in common. As to that salvia - I think every single Diva of the Dirt has 'Black & Blue' salvia... we all fell in love with it!

    Could all the gardeners in Indiana go into local nurseries and ask for 'Hot Lips' by name, Lisa at Greenbow, so they'll realize there's a market and offer it as an annual? If you ever came to Austin, Lisa - there would be more than tea!

    Thanks for coming, Prairie Rose - I grew Salvia farinacea every year in my IL garden - and after a while had a few microclimates where I could count on finding seedlings each spring... loved those microclimates!

    Hello Mary - it was hard to stay indoors last week, but this week it's fixin' to be in the middle 90's - yuck.

    The 'Little Gem' is supposed to eventually be 15 to 20 feet, Meems. I've seen them in other yards, and they seem to be reasonably slow growing, necessary since my space is small. The flowers are large and fragrant.

    I sure hope the salvia will survive summer here! Having our small trees and shrubs finally get some size to them and having the fountain have both made the garden feel more peaceful to me.

    Hello Pam/Digging - it's still tiny like a bat-face, but the ruffles make it look old-fashioned somehow.
    I bought Pineapple sage as an annual herb in IL - didn't always see the flowers since it bloomed in late fall up there. It's a longtime favorite.

    Thank you for coming and commenting,


  32. Hi there! I really appreciate how you answer all your comments.

  33. Hi there Annie :-D

    How great to see so much of your garden in your bloom day post. I have thoroughly enjoyed the tour :-D

    I see your beautiful sweet pea - what a shame you lost it! I'll give you another amazing coincidence it looks very like the one I planted – very like it! Now that’s really spooky now ;-D

    Have a great week :-D

  34. Wonderful to see plants not blooming here. Those 'hot lips' salvia always make me smile. Too bad they are not hardy in zone 6. The 'bat faced' cuphea is something I saw in North Carolina and a must have showy plant but I haven't seen it sold locally but i wonder why?

    I have mixed feelings about lilacs. They seem to grow too tall for a shrub and send up suckers and tend to spread. But the ambivalent feelings toward them came from a plant sold to me as a calycanthus that turned out to be a lilac. The leaves didn't look like a calycanthus but I nutured that little plant for about 3 years hoping it would turn out to be one only to be disappointed when it bloomed for the first time. Certainly the nursery's fault and not the lilac's but the disappointment was transferred to the lilac as something that should have been but wasn't.

  35. Annie, you have very beautiful flowers in your garden. Thank you for sharing the link to your blog on Garden Web.


  36. I'm kind of late to the Bloom Day posts (of which I missed yet again). I like the passalong daylily colour and realised that I don't see this apricot colour enough in gardens. The two-toned Sweet Peas are beautiful ... I hope you get lots of blooms.

    It was fun to see wider views of your garden. It is an inviting place that would be great fun to explore. Your Salvias win me over (well, so did the blue pea vine) and then there's the Cuphea 'Totally Tempted'. What a good name. It is a temptress.

  37. Tina - I try to answer, but they frequently get away from me!

    Shirl - my comment wasn't clear... their days are numbered with this heat, but those tough little Sweet peas are hanging on! This is an heirloom called 'Cupani'.

    Ki, compared to your bloom day this is very small potatoes!
    I like the cuphea and will keep buying it when winter croaks it!
    I once had about 10 different lilacs, but the lot was a half-acre, so there was lots of room. Now who could be disappointed when a lilac bloomed!

    Thank you for coming to visit, Sam_mocotx - it will be fun to see what directions your new blog will take you in - you sound like a happy gardener!

    I'm still trying to read the 100+ posts myself, Kate! Apricot is one of my favorite flower colors but it seems harder to get in Texas - stuff I used in IL, like 'Peaches & Cream' verbena, apricot-toned pansies, dwarf iris, tulips, musk roses, foxgloves, callibrachoa, and hybrid mullein don't seem to do well here.

    As the garden fills in and the stuff along the privacy fence reaches up to the top, it's easier to take photos that are of my garden instead of my neighbors' houses!
    I can't plant the blue pea vine yet - the sweet peas have to have their turn first.

    Thank you all!


  38. Annie - What a lovely garden you have. I think my favorite flower is the cuphea. I grew them a few years ago and loved the little faces. I had no idea that there were so many varieties of salvias. Yours are lovely and I'm sure the hummingbirds will be flocking to them.

  39. I'm not surprised I missed this post. I'm having a hard time keeping up with everyone during my busy season.

    Oh goodness, Now I remember. You sidetracked me with the fountain. I still have plans of drilling a hole in a boulder. It will be easy. I'll just slip one in front of me the next time my wife gives me one of "those looks".

    Now I know why she calls me Cuphea too.


A comment from you is like chocolate - maybe I could live without it, but life is more fun with it. I'll try to answer. If someone else's comment piques your interest, please feel free to talk among yourselves.