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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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Monday, August 04, 2008

"Texas in May" & "The Pond Song"

If you've been reading this blog for awhile (and have noticed the sidebar) you know that I've written and copyrighted more than a dozen garden songs and that Philo and I have made some of them into videos on YouTube. A few are parodies, but most of them fit together and tell a story - they're part of a musical play called Roots In Austin. This weekend two more of the songs went up on YouTube adding more pieces to the story.

When I wrote "I Don't Want to be in Texas When It's May" more than 4 years ago, it was an attempt at writing poetry. My comic, nerdy love poem to Lilac Time in Lombard seemed to be lyrics, so I asked my son Ted for help. Ted wrote music for the lyrics and our song became a favorite at family gatherings. Our song is now a video - it went up this weekend on Ted & Diane's YouTube station. (he and his wife Diane are professional musicians). You'll be blown away by Ted's amazing music.

While this musical surprise was cooking up in Chicagoland, Philo and I hung out in the air-conditioning, working on our latest music video here in Austin. We've had a love affair with ponds for decades ..... maybe it began when we were college students? We saw beautiful ponds while on cheap dates at the zoos, museums, parks and conservatories in Chicago and the surrounding area. Most of them were public ponds back then, but in the 1990's ponds popped up in gardens that we knew... Cher's garden in Lombard, Ellen's in Villa Park, Trudi Temple's in Hinsdale. They were wonderful but still rather rare. Pond construction and care is difficult in a place where the ground freezes deep and the water becomes a block of ice.

Then our move to Austin in 1999 revealed a great big world of man-made ponds and streams behind the fences and walls. There are cold days and freezes in Central Texas, but they're not so deep, and a pond is a year-round feature here. We started going on the annual tours hosted by The Austin Pond Society and I've written posts about them ever since this blog began.

Now it's time to share the love by using years of images of ponds from all over the Austin area to back music from the play - we put "The Pond Song" up last night on
Annie and Philo's YouTube Station.
Please spend a soothing, cool three minutes with us in the middle of this long hot summer.

If you're interested in seeing how the songs fit together and reading about the various characters who would be singing these songs if it ever became a reality, please check out the new blog about the play, Roots In Austin.

Edited August 17...Austin blogger Michael Ziegler has taken some lovely photos of some stops on the 2008 pond tour. Actually he takes lovely photos of all sorts of things - thanks for leaving a comment at my 2007 pond post, Michael!


  1. Annie, we were reading each others' blogs at the same time, only I had a dozen interruptions here! LOL!

    I love your songs and video - especially your pond song :o) It's so soothing and lovely to me.

    Farther north in MD and DE our pond was 3 feet deep in the low end because of ice. Here in NC, we're safe with a two-foot depth.

    Thanks for sharing those beautiful ponds. If you ever decide to have one, let me know :o) I know a good guy.


  2. Annie, what a delightful post! I am quite impressed with your many talents and thanks for sharing these videos. It is always a treat to visit your lovely and lively blog.
    Jon on 8-4-08 at Mississippi Garden blog.

  3. More music! You certainly fit in here in Austin, Annie, despite your wish to be in lilac land in May. I can't relate, never having seen or smelled one. Summer is the time of year I long to be away. :-)

    Which is why your pond song and video were so refreshing. I am intrigued by the photo of the stock tank with the spouting pipes on the side. How cool!

  4. Thanks, Tina - we went on the tour with MSS of Zanthan Gardens this year and hoped for photos that would work with the words. The camera broke but we had the flip video along.

    Thank you so much, Mary - some pond people here say ponds need to be 3-feet deep just to keep some water cool enough so the fish don't cook!

    I'll do my best to be lively, Jon - but a little rain would help! Your garden looks amazing in spite of the heat!

    We'd like to skedaddle wouldn't we, Pam at Digging! But the garden might be toast when we got back.
    I posted that photo with you in mind ;-] One of the ponds was an in-ground pool that had been turned into a large pond with biological bog filters. The owner often swims in the pond with the fish, but said she seldom went in the water when it was a pool.

    Thanks for listening and for commenting,


  5. Annie, Wonderful...This garden nerd loves both your songs! Who wouldn't want to be in Texas when there are lilacs like that in Lombard! But then we all will want to be in Austin in January! The pond tribute was lovely! I might have to see about going on some local pond tours! gail

  6. Loved the songs, they were wonderful, but I do admit that I'm partial to the Lilacia Park song. How lucky you were to visit Trudi Temple's garden. I've only seen pictures of it.

  7. Annie, two more classics! I don't know how you do it, but you do it so well. The lyrics to the pond song are quite soulful, and the lilac one is fun. Somehow Pam/digging needs to "get north" some spring and smell a lilac in bloom! Maybe a future spring fling at Lilacia park?

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  8. Oh Annie, I love sharing garden dreams and schemes with you. I also love your music. It is so heartfelt. Like poems set to music.

  9. Annie, you are a hoot! I had no idea you could sing like that. And what guts you have to put the videos on YouTube. I really like them!

    I must admit, I love lilacs too. I noticed a beautiful white lilac today, growing with some lilies around it, and the fragrance was spectacular! I was going to take a picture - I should have done it!

    You're going to have people asking for your autograph now, and you'll be famous! :-)

  10. I love both videos and I'm glad that you've thrown anonymity to the wind and decided to share them. I'm intrigued with some of the pond photos from other tours (or maybe just the day I missed). The stock tank fountain is wonderful. And did someone build a miniature Boulder Dam in a pond? And at minute 2:04 you have a shot of the boy stature that I considered using in my own post.

    Mostly I like the sentiment...that we share our garden dreams.

    @ Carol of MDG. Like Pam/Digging, I've never seen or smelled a lilac either.

  11. Durn spelling errors! How I wish we could go back and edit comments.

  12. Hi Annie,
    Loved the lilac video! What a fun poem and song, and it looks like you had a lot of fun doing it too! Unfortunately youtube is kinda hinky on me now (we have a thunderstorm with your name on it moving through ... what's that button I push to send it your way?), so it keeps stopping on me. I'll try again tomorrow!

    Great stuff in this post! It's got it all, lilacs, nostalgia, good music and great images...

  13. Annie, thank you so much for sharing your garden dreams with us. I love the melody to "The Pond Song" ... and I feel cooler just looking at the pictures!

  14. Dear Annie, you are so entertaining with your words and music. I love listening to your deep husky, dare I say sexy voice! We have lilacs here in TN, but they are nothing compared to the ones in Pennsylvania, along with delphiniums and lupines too, things we cannot grow. Do we always want what won't grow where we are? I longed for crepe myrtles when living in PA. Hope you guys get some rain from the big system entering Texas territory.

  15. Thank you, Gail - when a song has cultivar names inserted you know you're writing for a niche market ;-]
    I hope you find a pond tour and see some Tennessee dreams!

    Lilacia Park has a friendly lilac rivalry going with Rochester, NY Mr. McGregor's Daughter.
    Trudi Temple and her garden have had a big influence on me. My first visit was on a guided tour with a garden club, but later I was able to come back over and over and see her garden change and progress through the years. Trudi's autobiography is wonderful.

    Thanks for that comment, Carol! The town of Lombard runs a 3-week festival centering around Lilacia Park every year - busloads of people, a parade, Lilac Ball and Art show!

    Blogging is also about sharing dreams, isn't it, Lisa at Greenbow? Thank you for liking my songs.

    I'm not sure if it's guts or if I'm nuts, Jo, but I'm glad you like the songs and that you get to see wonderful white lilacs and enjoy their scent.

    Hello MSS at Zanthan Gardens - thank you for liking them. The dam (actually I think it was supposed to be Hoover?) was from the 2006 Pond Tour up at Liberty Hill.
    For some reason I thought you were in England when lilacs bloomed - well, I sure hope you get the chance some day!

    Thank you Iowa Victory Gardener - unfortunately the button does not seem to have worked...Eduardo has been a fizzle!
    Since you're in Iowa you probably have many lilac memories yourself ;-]

    Feeling cooler would be wonderful right now, wouldn't it Cindy from Katy - and I'm a little jealous that you have a pond.

    Most of the women in my family have similar low voices and none of us even smoke, Frances - good thing Philo likes my voice!
    I guess most gardeners want to grow everything at least once - one way to expand the list is to move from state to state as you and I have done.
    No rain, alas, beyond a brief tease of a shower yesterday afternoon.

    Thanks for the comments!


  16. Annie: What fun! Loved them both but that negative edge pool looks mighty invitin'! A great compilation of lovely pictures and when will the CD be out?

  17. Annie, Loved the songs! I'll have to bookmark the first one to play in the winter to remind me why I would want to be in Illinois in January!:)

  18. Perhaps you could add an alternate blog name, Annie: "The Transplantable Rose, or Let me Entertain You!", because you sure do entertain :) Thanks for sharing those 2 fun songs. Ted did a great job setting your poem to music, and The Pond Song is very soothing, sung in your sultry voice.
    More! More! Clap, clap, clap :)
    Our Rochester Lilac Festival runs for only 2 weekends, so Lilacia Park has us beat there. I've worked at the craft show there twice and been totally rained out by heavy day-long downpours on the Sunday...twice! It snowed the second weekend (both times), but we were only signed up for the first w/e, thank heavens. Our May in NY weather is dicey, to say the least, and sometimes the lilac blooms are late! But the festival is always fun, in spite of all that...especially when the sun shines :)

  19. So fun Annie! I'd LOVE to see the play someday.

    Although I've never had the pleasure of visiting Austin, I've been in Houston in May. I can say for sure Houston's one place I don't ever need to visit in summer, and I don't need to go back in May again either.

    We went to a comedy club while there, and most of the comics we saw spent most of their routines discussing Houston's summer weather. Most compared it with what they imagined the underworld to be like, and I can't say I disagreed!

    On the other hand, I don't want to be in Chicago when it's January either.

  20. Your songs are all so marvelous Annie! I think I would be heart-broken if I couldn't smell lilacs in the spring.

  21. That pool was at an incredible garden close to downtown on the 2007 Austin Pond Society tour, Layanee. Cold Climate Kathy also mentioned a CD!

    Thank you Rose - sometimes it's hard to enjoy being anywhere in January - it's not so cold in Austin but it still gets dark way too early.

    "Sultry" - ooh, that's a flattering adjective, Kerri - thanks!
    Usually the lilacs are open for at least part of the fest time at Lilacia, but I remember one hot year when the blooms were very early. By Lilac Parade time the local lilacs had fried and fresh ones had to be flown in from France for the Lilac Queen and her court.

    YouTube is the only venue for this my in-progress play now, Garden Girl, but thanks for the wish!
    I haven't been to Houston in May - but I've heard that the humidity is overpowering. On the other hand the Houston area bloggers have the most wonderful gardens!

    That loss is something that hits me every spring, WWW Curmudgeon - thank you for liking the songs.

    Thank you all for coming and commenting,


  22. I envy your lilacs. They're one flower from my childhood in Maryland that can't survive in my San Diego desert. You never forget the fragrance, so lovely in the flower, so crappy in cosmetics.
    I knew you were a talented gardener and photographer, but now I find out you write and perform music?
    Have you been nominated for a Nobel Prize too?

  23. Lilacs can't survive in Austin, either, Weeping Sore - have to travel 1200 miles to see them.

    Actually what I've heard is that a real Nobel prize winner, Al Gore, invented the internet just so Baby Boomers like me can embarrass our children. Think that's true?

    Thanks for commenting,


  24. Annie, how perfect! I just love that first video and your song.

    (We can't do lilacs down my way either - and I associate them with my home further north - there's just something about lilacs and peonies - there's a sense of longing for them if you've ever lived near them and then had to move away).

  25. Annie, a very Texas sounding song to celebrate the northern lilacs. I do understand your love of them. I have several and don't think I could live without them. Now, I'm going to listen to the pond song. Thank you for sharing your talents with us and thanks to Philo too.~~Dee

  26. I came back to listen to your songs and just realised that I left a comment on your son and daughter-in-law's YouTube site and then forgot to come back and comment here. My apologies!! I love both the songs ... the lilac one especially! Your voice is a treat to listen to ... I hope you continue to record more songs!! Please!!! I need something to get through this winter ... reading your blog and other Southern ones help, but a song helps even more!

  27. your lyrics are very interesting that basically comes on your mind.

  28. Hi Annie,
    I just noticed your comment about chocolate. I am enjoying some while I blog. I have been busy helping my daughter move and clean at her old place. Tonight, I am blogging!

    I enjoyed your lilac and pond songs. When I was a girl, a neighbor had a row of lilacs growing across the back yard instead of a fence. I remember them having money to hire a gardener, who kept it nicely shaped. The lilac my brother-in-law planted in the vegetable garden after their mother died, was one that kept spreading by runners, and I had trouble keeping it looking decent, so my husband attempted to dig it out a few years ago. I am still battling the runners. The ones in your video sure were pretty.

  29. Hi Sue - thanks for visiting and listening! All the gardens had lilacs in Illinois and I miss them - never had runners - too bad they didn't work for you.



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