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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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Friday, November 21, 2008

My Austin Entomologist

Stinkbug,Clerodendrum,AnnieinAustinIt's been a few months since I made a YouTube for y'all - and November is a month that could use a little comedy. This song fits pretty well with the others in my pipedream of a musical play, "Roots in Austin". It's a song that should be sung by a younger, hot, man-crazy blonde, but since no one else volunteered, once again you get old, not-hot Annie and a piano.
Loralynn is the name of the character who sings this song. She's a girl who starts out focused on the
scientist but soon becomes interested in the science.

Conversations with Vertie inspired me to write this Bug Geek Song - and both Vert and Iris helped with photos. I hope it cheers up your November weekend.

This copyrighted song, "My Austin Entomologist ~The Bug Geek Song" was composed and performed by "Annie in Austin" and the video was made by Philo in Austin.
You can f
ind more of our songs at YouTube Station Kaefka.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, November 2008

Yellow Brugmansia,AnnieinAustinThe developing Angel Trumpets/Brugmansia flowers seen in the last post opened fully and scented the air last night - determined to appear for November Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, a monthly listing of what's in bloom, begun by Carol of May Dreams garden and celebrated by gardeners all over the world.

Camellia sasanqua Shishi Gashira,AnnieinAustinI'd hoped the Camellia sasanqua 'Shishi Gashira', also in development in the last post, would last until December, or at least until Thanksgiving, but all the flowers are opening now!

Julia Child rose, AnnieinAustin'Julia Child' rose has a few open flowers and a dozen buds developing. Her stems look a little bare right now because she needed grooming before her closeup - quite a few blackspotted leaves had to be taken off and discarded - not composted.

Fall crepe myrtle,AnnieinAustinThe leaves on my pecans are mostly green but on the other side of the fence my neighbor's crepe myrtle has put on autumn red. Tagetes lucida,AnnieinAustinIt's a pleasant background now for the buttery yellow of the Julia Child Rose and the Mexican Mint Marigold/Tagetes lucida and white Zinnia linearis.

Pink Gaura,AnnieinAustinIn the Pink Entrance bed that leads to the gate, this pink variety of Gaura lindheimerii still blooms nonstop, draped over the also nonstop Pink Skullcap/Scutellaria suffrutescens. In the same bed, a 'Belinda's Dream' rose overslept and missed Bloom Day - she's just getting around to making buds.

Duranta erecta,AnnieinAustinIn the same bed one plant surprised me - only one of three Durantas survived last winter. It grew just a little in summer and made no flowers. With cooler temperatures this Duranta had a growth sprurt, producing three sprays of violet flowers.

Rosa Mutabilis,AnnieinAustinIn the Central Front Bed the birdbath is surrounded by flowers - the Mutabilis Rose, Yellow Bulbine, Gregg's Mistflower, 'Black & Blue' Salvia, lantana and a white gaura.

Mutabilis rose closeup,AnnieinAustinAnother Mutabilis blooms in a container back on the patio. Moonflowers are done for the year - now photographing Rosa chinensis 'Mutabilis' is my obsession!

Pink rosebud,AnnieinAustinThe unnamed climbing rose on the housewall inside the gate has one bud. See that bump? This rose is just a few feet away from the clematis with bumps. In a comment, Entangled suggested the clematis had thrips... maybe the rose does, too?

Confederate Rose,AnnieinAustinAround the other end of the house in the Secret Garden a "rose" blooms in a pot - well, it's called Confederate Rose, but the botanical name gives it away; Hibiscus mutabilis. Another name is Cotton Rose. This bloom is about 4 inches in width.

Salvia leucantha,bee,AnnieinAustinFrost may come soon but the insects found plenty of flowers in bloom today - I found bees on the Mexican Bush Sage/Salvia leucantha

Pink Cuphea llaeva, bee,AnnieinAustinand dozens of bees on the cupheas - here's a rather large bee on a pink and lavender Cuphea llaeva.

Meyers Lemon,bee,AnnieinAustinI have two Meyer's Lemon trees - the larger tree planted in the ground has no blossoms yet but the small tree in a container is covered in flowers - and the fragrant flowers are covered in bees!

Loquat flower,bee,AnnieinAustinThe loquat flowers are scenting the patio this week - those lucky bees can fly a few feet from the lemon to the loquat, rolling in both pollens.

Fritillary,loquat,AnnieinAustinI think the Loquat must have nectar as well as pollen because butterflies like this Gulf Fritillary are attracted to it, too. ( Meems says it's a male Queen butterfly and of course she's right...the fritillary photo I'd taken was deleted for being out-of-focus, and I forgot to change the name when I changed photos. Thank you, Meems!)

Passionflower,AnnieinAustinIf a Fritillary wants its host plant - it can fly around the corner to the fence in the Secret Garden, where a shy Passion Flower waits.

The complete list (including botanical names) of what's in bloom at Circus~Circus this month will be posted at my Annie's Addendum blog.
To visit Bloom Day all over the world, go to Carol's Bloom Day roundup at May Dreams Gardens.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The Shadiest Time of the Year

This is our fifth autumn in this house and as each October ends we've noticed that the air-conditioner seldom kicks on no matter how warm the day. The sun is so low that it can't penetrate the still-full, green canopy of the two tall pecan trees to heat the rooms on that end of the house. The east end of the garden gets sun in the morning, but by the middle of the day the back garden is all shadows. As the sun swings around to the west around 3 PM, it illuminates the outside edge of the garden along the fence and then shines on the vegetable patch. Spanish Spice peppersAfter barely surviving the long hot summer, the pepper plants obey their biological imperative, using the sun at low power to reproduce and set a couple of dozen peppers. We'll let the peppers run their race to grow until the freeze warning comes - and will be glad to have even a small crop!

In late afternoon enough sun falls on the Secret Garden to trigger a few Confederate Rose blooms. Hibiscus mutabilis is a close relative of hardy Hibiscus like my 'Blue River II'. Hibiscus mutabilis, Confederate RoseConfederate Rose can grow to tree size in Austin if sited well, but my small plant is new this year - a passalong from my friend Carole, it's still in a 10" container.

Camellia sasanqua 'Shishi Gashira' Enough sun fell through the pecan leaves to set buds on the Camellia sasanqua 'Shishi Gashira' a few months ago. The taller, older Camellia japonica did not enjoy this summer. It looks stressed and may have a handful of flowers this winter. In contrast this little sasanqua didn't seem to suffer one bit and is prepared to open dozens of blossoms.

When I wrote about berries in October I had to leave out the most spectacular berry in our yard - a tall Yaupon near the gate. The paperbark type of birch tree was always something I admired for decades but could never own. They didn't do well in Illinois and could not survive here. Now the sight of bright berries, beautiful trunks and white bark have vanquished any longing for birches... I love my yaupon!

Brugmansia buds in progressThe morning sun is enough to make these Brugmansia set buds but they develop more slowly than they did a month ago. If frost comes too soon these buds will never become yellow trumpets and the peppers and warm weather annuals will die and these passionvines will turn to threads, but the garden won't go to sleep.

Instead, as the pecans let loose their leaves, the winter sun will shine through the spaces between the bare branches.
Loquat Tree in BloomWhen the shadows turn again to sun it will be time to plant pansies and snapdragons, alyssum and dianthus. The loquat will keep opening fragrant flowers and when we take our coffee out to the patio, we'll be glad to have the patio umbrella over our heads.