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

Monday, September 15, 2008

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day for September 2008

On the 15th of each month fellow gardenblogger Carol of May Dreams Garden asks us to join Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. I've posted photos on this blog, but a complete list with botanical names can be found at my other blog, Annie's Addendum.
It's mid-September in Austin, and while the days are still hot, there are fewer hours of baking sun on the plants and more hours of restful darkness as we move toward autumn. Annieinaustin, Oxblood liliesThere may not be many restful hours for friends and family hit by monster Hurricane Ike in the Houston area (including Herself, Nancy and Cindy) and those washed out by the greatest recorded calender day rainfall ever for Chicago . You are in our thoughts, even as we rejoice and share the ways the earth speaks in flowers. Annieinaustin, oxblood lily nr fenceLast year I walked the chicken path when MSS of Zanthan Gardens gave me some of her Oxblood lilies. Instead of following her lead and planting the Rhodophiala bifidia bulbs all in one place for a big display, I tucked a few bulbs into 6 small patches, in front, back and side gardens. Just a few of these Schoolhouse Lilies can brighten a small area like the fence at the entrance to the Secret Garden above.

Annieinaustin,brugmansia, plumbagoThe blue plumbago next to the back door has bloomed for months - now it's joined by the pale yellow Brugmansia, with a pink Cuphea barely visible at lower right.

Annieinaustin,tropical milkweed The two tropical milkweeds had gone to seed, so a few weeks ago I chopped them back. They're blooming again, attracting aphids and milkweed bugs. I've seen Monarch butterflies checking out both plants but if there are any Monarch caterpillars they're hiding too well.

Annieinaustin, julia child rose The 'Julia Child' rose is finally looking good again - especially from a few feet away where the cut-out shapes on many leaves are less apparent. The damage hasn't stopped the buds and blooms and is probably done by leaf-cutting bees so I'll ignore it.

Annieinaustin,front gardenThe Divas of the Dirt helped make this front garden in March. The Mutabilis rose, striped cannas, 'Black & Blue' salvia, Gregg's Mistflower, Flame Acanthus, white Gaura and yellow Bulbine strive to fill the footprint where an Arizona Ash once grew.

Annieinaustin,Mutabilis roseAs you can see in this view from the other direction, the 'Mutabilis' doesn't really need any help, just some water and some time.

Annieinaustin,bulbine Here's a closer look at the Mistflower/Conoclinium greggii, 'Black & Blue' salvia and Bulbine frutescens. Annieinaustin,poliomintha, mexican oreganoMexican oregano is an herb in the kitchen, but looks like a small flowering shrub in the borders.... I planted two small plants in 2005 and then Pam/Digging gave me one for the Pink Entrance Garden in 2007. Until this summer I didn't want to cut them too much, so still used the dried Mexican oregano when cooking dishes like black beans. (Who was asking about what to cook with this herb? Was it Entangled?) The plants now have enough substance so that harvesting some won't leave a noticeable gap.

Did you notice those hot pink petals scattered around the light purple oregano flowers?
Annieinaustin,crepe myrtle over fenceOur neighbors' enormous hot pink crepe myrtle sheds petals with every gust of wind. I'm not fond of the color, but the birds like the dense branches and it adds privacy in addition to the pink confetti.

Annieinaustin,clereodendron ugandense, Clitoria ternateaYou've seen the colors that I do love over and over in photos of the intense Blue Butterfly Pea/Clitoria ternatea and the delicately shaded Clerodendrum ugandense/Blue butterfly flower. They're not only blooming continuously, both plants are growing vigorously.

Annieinaustin,malvaviscus Some of the Salvia 'Nuevo Leon' died soon after the heavy rain three weeks ago, but this red-flowered native is less finicky about heavy clay. Both plants of the Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii have grown well and are covered in flowers, ready for a daily visit by a pair of hummingbirds.

Annieinaustin,lightning bugDoes your town have rules about when you can water your garden? We're allowed to hand water with a garden hose or watering can here in Austin but the use of sprinklers is regulated - my days are Wednesday and Saturday before 10 AM and after 7 PM.

On Saturday night I placed a 'bubbler' in the root zone of the 'Forest Pansy' redbud and turned on the kitchen timer. When the bell rang, I went out to turn off the water and had a lovely surprise!

It looked like June instead of September as a scattering of
Lightning Bugs (or maybe you call them Fireflies) flitted around the front yard, grazing the box hedge and swooping over the 'Mutablis' rose. I caught one and took it inside, intending to get a closeup under the kitchen light. The beetle escaped and flew to the top of the wall.

I aimed high and snapped the photo to see what the camera could do - it's not a closeup, but it's a recognizable lightning bug.

Both the blue pea vine and the Moon vine got a late start this summer - I delayed planting them on the tall metal obelisk because the 'Cupani' Sweet peas didn't stop blooming until mid-June! The Blue Pea had already seeded itself from last year, and it grew fast and bloomed quickly. I had to soak and plant a couple of saved Moonflower seeds, and it took a lot longer to climb the tower, finally opening flowers this week.
Annieinaustin, moonvine, blue pea vine

You can usually tell if a moonflower bud will open that night by the way it looks in the afternoon.
I went out in the dark and tried out the new camera, testing its ability to capture the texture of the Moonflower petals.

Annieinaustin,moon vine bloom moonvineHow cool! The new camera lets me see in the dark.

Go to Carol's Bloom Day post and read the comments to find flowers in bloom all around the world.


  1. Annie, that's a better moonflower picture than I've ever managed to take. You can even see the satiny texture of the flower.

    You and I are on the same watering schedule. Now I'll think of you watering your garden as I'm watering mine on Wed. and Sat.---at least until the rains return.

  2. The brugmansia looks lovely. It really likes fall best, doesn't it?

    But the moonflower...whoa! That's stunning.

  3. Annie - what a great bloom day post! The moonflower is so simple but I just love them. I tried growing some from seed last year but was unsuccessful. I think I'm going for round 2 in 09.

  4. I loved this tour of your garden in September. I always learn something new (leaf-cutting bees?) and see wonderful blooms when I visit your garden through your blog (and once in person, too).

    I know this summer has been brutal on both the gardens and the gardeners in Austin, but it looks like you have brought the garden through it and you've survived as well.

    Like everyone else, I love that Moonflower piture, your new camera is a keeper!

    Thanks for joining in for bloom day!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  5. Your new camera is impressing me. It took me many, many frustrating tries before I could get a decent picture of a moonflower with my camera. Your garden is looking great, as always. And if it's any consolation, my roses all have those little cutouts in their leaves as well. It doesn't bother me that much-- it could always be blackspot, instead!

    Out of curiosity, does your Julia Child rose smell like licorice? I was reading somewhere that the flowers were licorice-scented, but I could have sworn that I didn't get that imression the last time I smelled it.

  6. You have so many cool plants blooming beautifully!

  7. It's always nice to tour your garden, Annie. The oxblood lilies really do light up areas...wonder if they grow here. I'll have to check that out! Your camera is a keeper...that moonflower picture and far of lightning bug prove that!

  8. Annie, you have so many unusual and lovely plants like that tropical milkweed. I've never seen that before. It's beautiful! Does your neighbor's crepe myrtle provide little seedlings for you in your yard? I have one of the shrubs and keep having to yank out seedlings here and there where I don't want them. It was already here when we moved in, and I love the blooms, but its growth and other habits are not endearing ones.

  9. Beautiful blooms Annie. Great shot of the moonflower! Very dramatic.

    We had more than 7" of rain here. Roads are closed, and even our street is flooded and closed on one end. Fortunately all we had was a little basement seepage, but no damage.

    It would have been nice if you all in Austin had gotten some rain from Ike, but I'm glad Austin escaped flooding and damage.

  10. Beautiful September blooms, Annie.

    The sun is out this Monday morning and I think we're going to dry out today after the weekend record breaking rainfall. Some places got over 8 inches and when you see people in a canoe on Albany avenue you know we're in trouble.

    September is overcompensating for the lack of rain in August. Thus far we've had over 12 inches this month and it's just half over.

    I'm glad your area wasn't damaged by Hurricane Ike.

  11. I'm sorry you didn't get a nice rain, Annie, but I'm so glad that you didn't get damage from the storm. You always show many cool blooms that are new to me. I think my favorite of this month's collection is the malvaviscus; what a great color!

  12. I love the moonflower. Mine have finally started producing but the blooms don't open all the way. My neighbors probably thought I was a nut as I went to the backyard with a flashlight every thirty minutes to check on the bloom. They never opened like yours and the next day they were dead. Any ideas?

  13. Wow, Annie! I can hardly believe we're gardening in the same city: you've got so many pretty, lush blooms. I've got to get some of that blue butterfly flower...

  14. Thank you, Pam/Digging. Bet we'll both be out there on Wednesday - hoping for rain, but not floods!

    The brugmansia flowers go fast, MSS at Zanthan Gardens - I had to cut half of them off this morning!

    Thanks Chicago area Gina - I used to grow Moonflowers in Illinois - go for it next year! Did you make it through the record rain okay?

    Wish I could remember what blogger showed leaf-cutting bees, Carol - that's how I learned about them!
    The garden is raggedy around the edges, but it's still here!

    I thought my last camera did okay with Moonflowers, Lori, but this photo exceeded my expectations.
    I wonder if that so-called 'licorice' scent was a marketing ploy that was picked up and repeated by plant websites. Many posters on forums and blogs can't detect it.

    Thanks, Tina - fall is fun around here!

    This article seems to say the Oxblood lilies would grow for you, Leslie!

    Zone 8 is an interesting place to garden, Walk2Write - cold enough so that milkweed is sometimes an annual here, just as it was back in Illinois.
    Shoots from the roots of that crepe myrtle come up in my yard - and there were more than 20 of them in our yard when we bought the house! Too many!

    Oh wow, Garden Girl - glad you're okay. Our families in Illinois also have some mopping up to do - hope that will be all!
    Thousands of people came to Austin to get away from hurricanes.

    Hi Carolyn Gail from Chicago - so you guys are okay? We had WGN radio playing on the computer over the weekend - hoping our families were safe while having flashbacks to August 1987.
    Seeing photos of Glenbard West all flooded and St Adelbert Cemetery under water were creepy!

    Thanks Nan Ondra - the Wax mallow/Turkscap/malvaviscus is a favorite of many Austin gardeners, a very adaptable plant, but sometimes can be invasive. I was pleased that the color came out right.

    Hi Vertie - keep the neighbors guessing is my motto!
    Could your vine be too dry? For moonflowers I follow Henry Mitchell's advice - give each plant at least one big watering can full, every single day once the buds start to develop. The individual blooms only last one night.

    Thanks Iris - the grass may have big dead patches, but most of the flowers are alive! I've tried to germinate seeds from the clerodendrum, but nothing's happened so far.

    Thanks for the comments - hope your blooming day is a good one!


  15. Annie, You've captured my favorite Moonflower look; the twirled, pre-opening stage, then it blooms with that lovely face and fantastic fragrance, only to twist closed again! Lovely photos. I always enjoy a visit to your garden,

  16. Hi Gail - I'm glad you saw the moonflower at the stage you liked! It's a big favorite of mine, too.

  17. I'm always in awe of your garden, Annie! I got moonflowers this year too, and not so coincidentally, have several pictures on my GBBD post. Aren't they amazing? So hard to photograph, too.

  18. Wow! That moonflower shot is gorgeous! Cool indeed. You're taking some lovely photos with the new camera.
    I share your love of blue in the garden, and have learned from you about several new-to-me plants that have blue blooms.
    Actually, I've learned all sorts of things from you, Annie, and I'm sure will learn much more as our blogging friendship continues :)
    Love the brugmansia with the plumbago. How pretty!
    I'm so glad you didn't suffer any damage from the storm, but too bad you missed out on some good rainfall. Thanks for those links to others who were in the path. Hope your kin are OK in Chicago! That was an unbelievable amount of rain! Mother Nature...you never know what she's gonna do!

  19. Thanks for the link Annie! There are so many interesting bulbs, I'll need to look at more of them. They will be good for my daughter...she's the one in San Diego (Encinitas) and that's my "other" garden. I'm actually about 500 miles north...near Sacramento. And it looks like the oxbloods will grow here too. You have so many things I find intriguing...so many plants...so little room!

  20. Annie your garden has a tropical feel now. So many lovely blooms despite your watering restrictions. We don't have water restrictions here. I place some on myself in that I don't water the lawn such as it is. I just love that last photo. Your moon flower looks iridescent.

  21. Your garden looks like a tropical paradise, Annie! The moonflower is gorgeous; the petals look as if they're made from satin. Maybe the loss of your old camera was a blessing in disguise:)
    So glad to hear you didn't suffer any damage from Ike. I was looking at a map of Texas to see where several towns were located, and I didn't realize how close you were to Houston. We received the benefits of Ike in the form of rain, so water restrictions are no problem here.

  22. Chicago got hit by both Lowell & Ike. Over 10 inches of rain fell in some places. Although it's entirely academic now, regardless of the amount of precipitation we get, we can water only from 5-10 am & pm every other day. I think Austin's watering regulations are the strictest I've seen. Ah, a silver lining to your camera problems - that's a fantastic shot of the Moonflower blooms!

  23. I love how your plumbago looks next to the Brugmasia! Beautiful blooms - especially with limited water! I had hoped you all would get some rain from Hurricane Ike.

  24. As one of the beleaguered Houston area gardeners, I appreciate your kind thoughts as I struggle to clean up after Ike. It's a mess out there ... I've had moments the last couple of days when returning the beds to lawn seems like a good idea. Then I read Bloom Day posts like this one and I remember why gardens are infinitely preferable. I had a couple of hummingbirds fighting over the turk's caps today ... you won't see them doing that over a patch of lawn!

    Like everyone else, I'm marveling over the moonflower photo. It reminds me of a beautiful satin dress, so heavy and perfect.

  25. Night photography in the garden--sounds like a cool blog post...

  26. Hi Annie,
    Great post as always! I was hoping you'd get at least some rain (only rain) from Ike's remnants, but he shot up over the midwest like a rocket this weekend. SE Iowa got rain from him, but all we got was a lot of blustery wind yesterday, which was fine, because the previous 3 days were so rainy!

    Kudos on the moonflower shot... truly fantastic! We gave up on planting them here because they want such a long season we could never get the seeds in early enough to get many blooms. Nice to see it has done so well for you despite the drought you've been having.

    BTW, my copy of The Fall arrived last week and we watched it again already. It's even more mesmerizing and rich the second time through! Glad I have it in our collection now and thanks again for originally tipping me off about that film!

  27. I remember seeing those Oxblood lilies when I first started visiting your blog last year. They are so pretty. I bet they are not hardy here because I've never come across them.

    The Julia Child rose is really nice - how is it on disease resistance?

  28. Hmmmm, I'm sure I left a comment here. Luckily I remember it:

    Georia Okeefe would be proud! That moonflower shot is perfection personified! I also told you that I had ordered some oxblood lily bulbs from southern bulb company after seeing MSS' photos. And will plant them all together like you said should be done. Blogger and wordpress do not like each other and make it hard to cross over!

    Frances at Fairegarden
    new url

  29. I love the yellow rose-a must for a Texas garden. Is this a hybrid or antique?

  30. Everything looks just beautiful. Whenever I see you post those oxblood lilies, I make a mental note that I need to get one (some) - they are just gorgeous. Seeing some of your garden made me sad - my spring was such a distracting one that I didn't get some things planted. I believe it's the first year I haven't had moonvine or blue pea vine (often the moonvine reseeds, but oddly, it didn't this year). I hope your fellow Texans are okay - and boy did Chicago get rain, craziness. We got about 5 inches from a windless Hanna, and last night I think the garden got at least another 3 or 4 inches and better yet, cooler weather. Hopefully now I'll be able to find some time to spend outside. You too I'm guessing!

  31. The awe is bouncing back to your garden Healing Magic Hands - the layout of your garden has made such leaps! We love our moonflowers, don't we.

    Kerri, I admit to whooping a little when I first downloaded that photo onto the computer. Blue doesn't work so well in a big garden...kind of disappears... but my spaces are small.
    Two members of the Chicago group had a warning of possible evacuation! But the creek went down, thank heavens. A few houses needed some pumping and mopping but were otherwise okay.

    I'm never sure about zones, Leslie - we're 8B. But looking at catalogs is always fun ;-]

    Lawn has never been a big priority for me either, Greenbow Lisa, but I've been diligent in handwatering containers and new plants. Oh - iridescent is a cool word!

    Thanks, Prairie Rose - I've been growing and photographing those big white flowers for years and years. We knew the old camera couldn't last forever!

    The Astrodome in Houston is about 180 miles from my house. There are highways between Austin and Houston, but there is no Interstate, so it's about 3 1/2 to 4 hours away, I guess.

    I heard about that double punch, Mr McGregor's Daughter - my old garden club sent amazing photos.
    The twice a week is actually more lenient than Austin's previous rules of every 5 days.
    Thank you for liking the photo.

    Hi Mary Beth - that's a sheltering southeast wall so I've planted it with stuff that is iffy in winter... a Meyer's Lemon is in there, too. They get big sun and gets reflected light no matter what's planted there it needs hand watering.

    Cindy from Katy, TX - it's so good to see you posting - and I'm glad the hummingbirds are still alive and still feisty!

    Wish I could catch a firefly in the act, Chuck! Now that would be a photo!

    Hello IVG - thank you. Sounds like you got just the right amount of rain.
    I was able to get moonflowers to bloom in IL but started them in pots some weeks before last frost.

    I'm glad you enjoyed the second trip to The Fall!

    It's zone 8B here, Phillip, and those lilies really like Austin.
    Julia has had some blackspot but the main problem is whatever cuts holes in the leaves.

    Hi Faire Frances - I never thought of Georgia O'Keeffe! Thanks!

    In my garden the small groups of Oxbloods work better and I like to see every individual plant as it opens. That gets lost in a big planting. But your garden is pretty dramatic, so you're probably right to plant like MSS.

    I think it's a floribunda, Lancashire Jenny - a fairly new introduction. My old favorite was a David Austin rose called 'Graham Thomas' but it doesn't seem to do well here and the press on Julia was good.

    Once my Oxbloods start to spread a bit I'll share, Pam in SC!

    The blue pea reseeds like a weed, but I have to use saved seeds for the moonvine. Maybe they'll be extra beautiful for you next year.
    Since we never got one drop of water from Ike I'll be outside, all right... still watering!

    Thanks for the comments!


  32. Hi Annie,
    I love your pics, you have so much going on. My garden is such a dried up mess. I love your brug, is it in the ground?

  33. Hi Annie, it's good to see you are having oodles of fun with your new camera. Great shot of the Moonflower. I tried them this year too but nothing came up. Will try soaking the seeds like you are doing next year.

    Fireflies, wish we had those here too.

    I know how hot it has been and am amazed at how green everything looks in your garden right now. It's wonderful what a few rain showers can do, isn't it?

    Your Brugmansia looks great, mine was eaten by slugs. It's been so wet over here that there are zillions of slugs and snails in my garden.

    I'm not so keen on Lilies but I do like those Oxblood lilies, they are so elegant. Are they scented?

    Happy GBBD Annie!

  34. Hi dear Annie! The moonflower petals look fabulous; i wish i could experience the touch. Did you have to use the flash to take this picture?
    I heard about the hurricane ike from the news; i hope everything is well and under control there.

  35. Thanks for the garden tour. It must be so relaxing to be out there. I guess your plants are loving the cooler temps this week. I sure am.
    For your moonflower shot (I agree with everyone it's great) did you use a low shutter speed? It's a pretty great shot w/o a flash, for sure.
    Best regards,
    Mike Z

  36. Annie, your garden comes in so many lovely bloom sizes and colors. It looks like high spring more than almost fall.

  37. Annie, I haven't seen any caterpillars on our milkweed yet either. Ours looks so scraggly, I wish I had been smart enough to cut them back. Your blooms are absolutely stunning! -Randy

  38. Oooh... I love all of your combinations, Annie, but particularly the plumbago and brugmansia. (And I'm still liking that clitoria, too!)

    But the picture of the moonflowers is absolutely amazing! Now if only we could get the scent... they're supposed to smell good, right?

  39. Annie, your garden still grows as mine is waning...

    I call them lightning bugs. This year, I've seen only a few - probably due to our drought, which by the way, is on the mend! We have water restrictions also. I can use irrigation on Sundays only but can hand water any day.

    With the rain we have received from Fay and Ike, I think we might enjoy lots of new growth next spring :o) Finally. I hope.

    Your camera rocks. I'm having a hard time with photos of Gardenias - white is hard to photograph but you do it well!


  40. Annie,

    Your plants are awesome. I'll take the first three plants for my garden. ;0)

  41. I could sure do with a little less rain. The weather reports 3 days of no rain, but doesn't mention heavy nightly fogs, which wets the grass.. so need to wait all day to mow grass which keeps growing longer and longer.
    I love the moonflower shot, the detail is amazing.


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.