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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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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, June 2008

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day for June, 2008 was written by Annie in Austin for her Transplantable Rose Blog.

When temperatures hang near the hundred degree mark, it's tempting to hang out near the disappearing fountain in the garden we view from the breakfast room window...

But it's Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day for June 2008 - time to show the front gardens, too.

We Divas of the Dirt planted this 'Mutabilis' Rose when we made the new front garden in March. It's doing quite well in spite of the heat - and so are those white bedding geraniums in the hypertufa containers near the steps.

Some of the plants in the Pink Entrance garden have stood up well to the weather - the pink gaura and skullcap are still blooming, now joined by the 'Purple Stars' coneflowers.

From the other direction we see the old-fashioned self-seeding petunias, the Mexican oregano and Platycodon 'Miss Tilly' - those blue balloonflowers.

We're through the gate now, and looking at a white coneflower that finally struggled up in the long fence border. A yellow daylily is in its second bloom cycle - that's Hemerocallis 'Happy Returns', along with lambs ears and the yellow snapdragons first seen last December. I wish there had been a variety name on the tag!

The last post had many photos of the back borders - those flowers are still blooming so rather than show them again, here are a few floral close ups instead.

The 'Blue River II' perennial hibiscus with its 9 to 10 inch flowers that last one day.

A second 'Mutabilis' rose, growing in its patio container. This is how the flowers look when they're newly opened- later changing to ever-darker shades of pink.

One bloom appeared on the back door clematis - this photo was taken in late afternoon when the sun had moved to the opposite side of the house and the color seems more true to life...the photos looked too red when it's appeared here in spring.

Here you can see the strong line between sun and shade on the patio - such severe light can fry a delicate plant, but the red bedding geraniums in the pot near the rocker can tolerate the changes.

There's one more flower I'd like to show you - it's up in front in the shade of an Arizona Ash.
Yes - this is a hydrangea ....not a sensible plant to grow in Austin perhaps, although in amended soil, with shade and attention from the watering can this one is growing and now flowering. I hadn't planned on buying a hydrangea last summer - but when it appeared on the 'rescue table' at the home center the price had been reduced from over $30.00 down to $5.00. And then I saw the name of the hydrangea on the tag.

This is a hybrid beauty, a Hydrangea macrophylla/seratta cross - and its name combines two of the most famous and honored garden bloggers. Take a close look at the tag.My plant is a Bliss Hydrangea x 'Sweet Carol' - it made me think of both Yolanda Elizabet and May Dreams Carol, so I just had to bring it home!

Enjoy visiting all the participating gardens at Garden Blogger's Bloom Day, hosted by Sweet Carol in Indiana.

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day for June, 2008 was written by Annie in Austin for her Transplantable Rose Blog.


  1. Annie, you are working wonders despite the record heat. Nice to check back in with you again.

  2. I've only just begun to pop in on a few bloom day posts, but your comment with the tantalizing "hydrangea you'll want to see" remark lured me over. Now I want one of those!

    Your garden looks wonderful in spite of the heat. It must be the of the gardener. You are one of the best!

    Thanks for a great bloom day post.

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  3. Annie, those Platycodons caught my eye and now I can't stop lusting after them. Did you start them from seeds or buy plants? I have no Platycodons in my garden and I really think I need some!

    The hydrangea is lovely and obviously happy in your garden. What a great find! I love having plants in my garden that remind me of gardening friends.

  4. I'll take your word for it that it's hot, but from the pictures Austin looks like a cool, breezy place with lots of flowers. That second 'Mutablis' rose has freaky-deaky petals. I like!

  5. Robin at Getting GroundedSun Jun 15, 03:40:00 PM 2008

    Annie, you made me realize I forgot to include my hyndrangea in my Bloom Day pics! It is still hanging in there in the shade of a lugustrum and the fence at my place in South Austin. And I want a Clematis like yours! I didn't think I could grow one here - do you have any advice?
    Thanks for great photos and inspiration.
    Robin at Getting Grounded

  6. So many nice blooms! I'll have to check out self seeding petunias...I haven't had much luck with petunias although I'm trying some in my MIL's patio garden that I've begun for her. I love the view from your breakfast room...when it's too hot out you can almost "be" outside!

  7. I'm just wilting hearing you talk of 100 degree heat. I'll refrain from mentioning our temps here today. What a great name for the hydrangea. How could you not bring it home. Lovely blooms Annie. That 'Hot Lips' just makes me smile. --Curmudgeon

  8. Annie your garden looks remarkable for being tortured by 100 degree heat. If I were you I would be viewing the garden from inside most of the time with that heat. I just love that Mutabills' Rose. I have never seen a rose that has a bloom like this. I wonder if it would grow here.?

  9. Really pretty, Annie! Next time I'll be more descriptive but right now the sun has fried my brain...

  10. I'm so glad you included that first photo--the view from inside as it brings back memories of a lovely afternoon. As Chuck B said above, your garden looks great despite the heat and it certainly blows my story that we're suffering through a horrible June that's left Austin gardens brown and crispy.

    I love the hydrangea story, too.

  11. That's a great reason to buy a hydrangea, even in Austin, and I have no doubt that you'll make a success of it, Annie. Your garden looks lush and cool, and there's so much growth since I last saw it.

  12. Oh, your yard looks so lush and green and cool-- I'm envious! And your Mutabilis is looking wonderful, too. I don't think that mine has bloomed or put out any new growth since I stuck it in the ground in late April.

  13. Annie: Love that you added a hydrangea in honor of other bloggers! I have a 'May Dreams' rose! What a nice association. Sorry it is so hot there. We had four days of hot and humid and now it is back to seasonal which is easier on both the garden and the gardener! Also, congrats on two years! Great pictures of your gardens.

  14. I'm not familiar with that hydrangea but all the lacecaps are lovely to me. I love that white hibiscus.

  15. It looks like you've found the plants that can take the heat & humidity & still put on a great show. I'm not familiar with the cultivars of Platycodon & Echinacea that you have, but I think I still have a 'Happy Returns' Daylily somewhere under the Lamium & Geranium macrorhyzium. I love the color of your Clematis. It makes such a nice contrast to the green foliage. And that bargain Hydrangea - wow! I'm really starting to like the lacecaps better than the mopheads.

  16. I'll bet I have that same coneflower. Years ago when I bought it, it was just listed as Purple Coneflower, Echinacea. I've seen other coneflowers but this one seems to be the closest to it. I think I'll claim the name of Purple Stars for mine. Thanks.

  17. Beautiful Bloom day post dear Annie.
    It must be uncomfortably hot at 100 degrees and the picture with the shade line pretty much illustrates the resilience of the geraniums.
    'Bliss Hydrangea x Sweet Carol' is very touching.

  18. I have GOT to have one of those disappearing fountains. RIGHT NOW. Well, except for the money part. . .

    Love your place, Annie!

  19. Cool looking rose! I hope my echinaceas will look as good as yours one day.

  20. Hello there dear friend....I've missed our chats...

    What I'm about to share over at my post, I've waited two years to experience...Nic's wedding....

    Here's a blanket invitation to share in our joy....

    let's chat

  21. Good luck with that hydrangea, Annie. I certainly appreciate the photos of your garden more since I've been there in person.

  22. Hi Sarah Laurence - thank you for the visit - the borders get watered but I won't show you the lawn!

    I hope you find a 'Sweet Carol' hydrangea, MayDreams Carol!
    Have fun trying to visit 100 posts!

    Cindy, I grew platycodons for years in Illinois, and came to Texas in 1999 with a potful of 6" seedlings. They bloomed and grew on the old deck and have done well planted in several places here. 'Miss Tilly' is a slightly shorter balloon flower that I bought for the Bat-Bed back in 2006, then transplanted it to the Pink Garden in 2007.
    Do you have any plants named 'Cindy'?

    The photos were taken in early morning or early evening, Chuck ... it would be all glare in midday. I love 'Mutabilis'!

    It's good to know a ligustrum is good for something, Getting Grounded Robin!
    I've got a few clematis that are making it in the ground after a few years in good-sized containers to form big roots. Mine have morning sun with afternoon shade.

    The petunias were supposed to be an old heirloom variety... small flowers in white, rose, pink and lilac. Leslie, even before we moved in it was obvious that everything in the back yard had to relate to the window!

    We expect hot days WWWenches, but mid-June is too early - and no rain is not normal. I'm very glad to have found the 'Hot Lips' but just hope the hydrangea won't croak!

    Some plants look like heck, Lisa at Greenbow and do not appear here! Most of the roses are pitiful. The 'Mutabilis' is an antique China rose, usually listed for Zones 6 to 9. What do you think?

    Mine's pretty fried right now, too, Iris, even though I never step out the door without a hat!

    It was so lovely to see you, MSS! The lawn has deteriorated in just a few days but most of the perennials are hanging on, even the Hydrangea.

    Pam at Digging - it seemed like kismet! And I've seen a few hydrangeas around town, so knew it was theoretically possible, especially with large trees casting shade on the west side of the house.

    Hi Lori - a big tree was taken down in February 2007, the stump was ground and the chips mixed into the soil. After it sat for a year, the Divas of the Dirt added decomposed granite and compost, put in plants and we piled on the mulch. A birdbath in the middle ensures frequent watering. After all that it should grow!!

    Oh, Layanee, I didn't know there was a 'May Dreams' rose - how cool! Seasonal would be only 90 degrees and that sounds good now!

    Sweet Carol will probably be an only child, Phillip - I'll be happy if it lives here! I had hydrangeas in the north, but none were lacecaps. Maybe that white hibiscus should be my signature plant?

    Hello Mr. McGregor's Daughter - some that I thought would be tough have bailed while ones I thought were delicate are fine. It's impossible for me pass the "rescue table" without looking - that hydrangea was just sticks and dry leaves when I bought it!

    The coneflower came from a local nursery in spring 2006, and the tag said Echinacea purpurea 'Purple Stars'. There was no name of a grower. It seems more dense than my species Echinacea purpurea, and the dome of the cones is slightly different. Go ahead, Jane Marie, but even if we call our coneflowers purple... they're still pink!

    Thank you Green Thumb - in this house I have the luxury of air-conditioning, so should not complain, but a break in the heat and some rain would be nice!

    The fountain has been wonderful, Healing Magic Hands and may be keeping many creatures alive right now - hope you get one some day!

    Thank you Gintoino - the rose is an Antique. This is the third year for the Echinaceas so they've had time to grow!

    Hi yourself, City Farmer - sounds like I'd better head over and see the post - I love weddings!

    Kathy - you were really on my mind this weekend - a young actress in a movie reminded me so much of you... made me want to see a photo of you as a ten-year old!
    I hope the hydrangea will live, but since it was half-dead on the rescue table, there won't be guilt if it refuses to live here!

    Thank you all for the comments!


  23. Hi Annie! Great post with lots of stuff that surprised me that it would grow in TX, especially the Platycodons. We must give those a chance again after losing our first attempt. Those petunias you were talking about sound like what we call the 'wild petunias' here (you must have seen those in IL, no?) which can easily turn into rampant weeds if not kept in check. I tried to sneak one in (from my sister's garden) a couple of years ago and Fernymoss found it and pulled it, lol. This year we're trying some of the fancier hybrids, just to keep the hummingbirds and butterflies happy. That's a big step for Urban Oasis, because until now petunias have been plantus non grata in our garden, LOL.

    Our coneflowers are just beginning to put on some buds and will be blooming in full force in July and August. I probably pulled hundreds of seedlings over the weekend, because we just can't find enough homes for them and they're encroaching upon the front of the boulder bed border... I'm also having to (much to my chagrin) a lot of Eryngium maritimum 'Miss Wilmot's Ghost' because it is so happy where it is out front. I bet that one would do well for you if you don't already have some ... it's a very beautiful and unusual plant with great ghostly gun metal blue flowers, and it thrives in hot, dry conditions such as yours.

    Finally ... I was so thrilled to see you have a 'Blue River' hibiscus! I have the original 'Blue River 1' and it's so beautiful that it's almost my favorite (and I have about 5 different cultivars). I'm curious though ... I saw 'Blue River II' in stores last year and wondered if it gets as big as mine, which usually tops out at about 6-7 feet unless it gets snapped off by high winds. It's a constant bloomer from July to frost, all in all a great plant. Do you have (or have you seen) the hybrid 'Kopper King?' We have two of them and they're outstanding ... bronze type foliage resembling a maple with spectacular pink and red blooms ... if you see one, snap it up, you won't regret it.

    My new hibiscus this year is 'Luna Red,' a supposedly bushier, shorter deep red bloomer similar to 'Lord Baltimore,' (we have two of those, lol). I'm curious to see how that one turns out this year.

    Yeah, I'm slightly hibiscus obsessed, but it's harmless! (At least that's what I keep telling myself...)

  24. "such severe light can fry a delicate plant" Since we are full sun almost all day now, I'm really familiar with the whole fry a plant thing. Last week I watched a daylily bloom almost dry on the spike before evening came. Things are much better since the rain came.

  25. Annie, I really enjoyed seeing your front gardens, especially the Pink Entrance garden. As humble as coneflowers are, they are still one of my favorites.

    What a great deal on that hydrangea and how nice it reminds you of your garden blogger friends. It's a very pretty color.

  26. What a great hydrangea! It's beautiful and has a perfect name.
    Your garden looks beautiful in spite of the heat.

  27. Your garden both front and back is just so lovely. It looks so settled and comfy. Mine is still in the throws of growing and I am not happy with its growth patterns.

  28. Whoops, I missed you, Annie, on Bloom Day--I must have gotten sidetracked.
    Enjoyed seeing all your blooms, but the picture showing the contrast of sunlight/shade is great! And I can see why you couldn't pass up that hydrangea. With a name like that, it was bound to thrive in your garden.

  29. What a happy coincidence to find a hydrangea with such a lovely name combining two of our favorite bloggers! It's a beauty too. I love the color! Looks like it's happy in your garden, Annie. Good luck with it! My mom grew them beautifully in Australia (with some shade), where the heat can be as fierce as it is in Texas.
    Your gardens seem to be holding up well in spite of the heat and lack of rain.
    That chair on the patio looks inviting.
    I love your clematis! And the hibiscus is heavenly.
    We both have 'bluebells' blooming at the moment :)

  30. Hey, your hydrangea looks pretty good - congrats! I've seen that white-flowering hibiscus before, and I keep meaning to write the name down - those flowers are just beautiful (are they open at all during the night? They'd probably just glow if they were). This post also reminded me of the self-seeding petunias...I don't have any, but they are my favorite of the petunias. I hope you are managing the heat yourself - we finally got a bit of a break last night, with .5" of rain, and cooler temps (mid-80s) today.

  31. Hmmm, Mexican Oregano....I've cooked with it from little spice bottles, but never looked into where it came from. It looks like it might be another good hummingbird plant?

    I can just imagine all the frantic internet searches going on right now for the 'Sweet Carol' hydrangea. I'll be looking for one too ;-)

  32. Thanks for the heads up Annie. What a find that Bliss Hydrangea Sweet Carol was and resistance is futile with a name like that. ;-) I hope it thrives in your garden. 100 F is very hot but your garden still looks nice and green, almost as green as the garden I saw in Scotland.

    Gorgeous white hibiscus and that salvia hot lips is aptly named.

    Cheerio as I'm off for another holiday!

  33. Looks like you have a lot thriving in your garden despite the heat. Thanks for braving the heat to share it with us!

  34. Thanks for stopping, IVG - while we still lived in Illinois I read a book about Texas perennial gardening... the book made me think the platycodons could survive, so I brought them with me.
    These petunias are far from rampant so far! They reseeded in the same spot, except for a couple I transplanted to a hanging basket, and they bloom in a harmonious range of colors, not just muddy pink.

    There are always too many coneflower seedlings, but I haven't grown Eryngium in either of my Austin gardens.

    The name 'Blue River II' should have tipped me off that there would be a BR one! Mine never got more than 3-4 feet tall in Illinois or at our first Austin house, but once in this ground it goes up to about 6-feet. Most years here it has bloomed from early June to to October.
    The only other hibiscus I have now is the native Texas Star, which is very stingy with flowers, and quite disappointing.

    Hi Randy & Jamie - mine get some shade, so don't fry too fast, but even with watering the individual flowers are only 2/3 the size that is normal. Phooie!

    Thank you Zoey- the coneflowers look cheerful with the pink gaura... they're supposed to be an announcement that a gardener lives here ;-]

    Thanks Robin of Nesting Place - it's looking pretty ragged a week later, and so is the gardener! Some parts of Austin got over and inch of rain but not here, darn it!

    We'll be here 4 years at the end of July, Tabor...and each year makes a difference. Some big trees and a few large shrubs were in the yard already (although we moved those shrubs around!) and we dragged along tons of stuff we'd been growing in pots at the last house. That gave us a head start.

    Rose - It's so hard to keep up with blooming day while also dealing with this hot, dry summer - thanks for coming. I have my fingers crossed on the hydrangea!

    Kerri, it was one of those times when I dearly wished another garden blogger with me to see the tag, get the joke, and maybe buy their own Bliss/Sweet Carol Hydrangea!
    It's not happy - just surviving so far, but maybe in time can get rooted enough to feel at home.

    Do you use Mexican Oregano with black beans, Entangled? That's one of the things we add it to - but I really grow it because it's evergreen and has flowers.
    Your remark about internet searches made me look - wow... it sure doesn't show up in many places. I'd better really baby this one now - it's rare!

    Hello Yolanda Elizabet of Bliss - isn't it fun? I never really tried to resist it, but sure hope it stays around. Have fun on your holiday!

    Hi Sherry at the Zoo - all the rain in Indiana has given you quite different reasons for being brave in the garden...wouldn't it be nice if we'd both get some moderation in weather for a change!

    Thanks for all the comments,


  35. I love the photo of the coneflowers. It's hard to get my head around the temperatures being so blistering hot there ... your fountain is really eye-catching.


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