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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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Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Holly & The Ivy & The Roses

This year, our tenth in Texas, we decided to spend a small, quiet Christmas in Austin instead of making the 1200 mile drive to Chicago. Now the bubble lights and the tree are turned on

The pumpkin pie and cornbread cool on the table while the turkey roasts in the oven

In this quiet time before the others arrive for dinner, I go out to the garden and look for evergreens to make a simple centerpiece for the dining room table. Holly and ivy are traditional greens, but this is Texas, not Olde England! My Holly will be Burford holly and the Ivy is Fig ivy. A snip of magnolia, a small branch from a Meyer's Lemon, some rosemary in bloom, a few unfrozen wands and leaves of lavender and cuttings of dwarf Greek myrtle make the base. The roses looked pretty good from ten feet away, but up close only five are undamaged enough by cold to use: one large flower from the pink climber, a bud of 'Belinda's Dream', a medium-sized bloom of 'Julia Child' and one bud & one bloom from the 'Champagne' minirose.

Happy Christmas from Philo and Annie ~ May your days be merry and bright!


  1. Merry Christmas to you as well! That's a beautiful centerpiece, and a festive Christmas scene. I'm too stuffed for pie right now, but perhaps later a piece would hit the spot!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  2. A quiet Christmas at home sounds comforting and pleasant. I hope you enjoyed your holiday dinner. Merry wishes to you both!

  3. Merry Christmas! The centerpiece is lovely.

  4. Merry Christmas, Annie. I hope your quiet Christmas at home is as lovely as your centerpiece.

  5. Annie,

    I hope your Christmas dinner was a relaxing and joy filled evening. The white glass vase is perfect for the beautiful Southern centerpiece.


  6. What a beautiful centerpiece Annie. Glad to hear you had a peaceful Christmas. Many happy returns.

  7. I just gotta say that the centerpiece is gorgeous!

    Merry belated Christmas!

  8. Happy Christmas to you too, Annie -- your centerpiece is just lovely!

  9. Annie, your Christmas table arrangement was one of the loveliest I've seen, all the more so for being a personal and heartfelt creation. I hope your Christmas day was both peaceful & joyous!

  10. Smart decision to avoid the midwest... Your home looks so warm and inviting, Annie. Your special touches make it beautiful. Many of us pay lots of money for a centerpiece that looks like the one you created from right outside your back door.

    Merry Christmas! Enjoy the rest of the holidays...


  11. A lovely centerpiece, Annie. I didn't make a big Christmas dinner this year--do you mind if I have a piece of that pumpkin pie?

    You were very smart not to drive to Chicago this year--you might not have gotten there. I hope you had a wonderful and peaceful Christmas.

  12. Merry Christmas, Annie. Well, it's over now. Happy 2009, hot on its heels.

  13. Oooooooooo Annniiieeeee,
    I was just itching to rake my finger thru that pumpkin pie! It looks delicious! Your center piece turned out fabulous!

  14. Merry Christmas and very Happy New Year!! Did you get the freakish warm spell this weekend?

  15. Hi Annie,
    Your arrangement was beautiful, but I liked the pie photo! :-)
    Follow this link to my weblog Christmas card:


    All the Best!

    Mike Z

  16. I think it is sometimes good to break with tradition. We skipped decorating this year. It was odd not having the lights and trees up but I think we needed the rest. Have a happy new year!

  17. How lovely to be enjoying your own centerpiece at Christmas, Annie! I hope that you and Philo had a nice, quiet holiday and enjoyed the slower pace... :)

  18. Hello MayDreams Carol - there were too many cookies so the pie wasn't even cut until the next day...wish you could share it.

    It was certainly different, Pam/Digging! We're used to being with 20 family members in a cold place. Your own Christmas was a little too exciting.

    Thanks, Apple - it was weird to be able to cut flowers outside.

    Thank you, MorningGlories - it worked out well.

    The bowl was a nostalgic choice,Gail, a gift from Philo's parents many years ago.

    Hope your Christmas was wonderful, Tina!

    Thank you, Lisa at Greenbow - I think your Christmas was a peaceful one, too.

    My Christmas lights will stay on until Epiphany on January 6th, Katina - so I'm still wishing people Happy Christmas!

    Thank you, NancyBond - Happy Christmas to you, too.

    Hi Cindy from Katy - with all that you have still in bloom, one from your garden would be spectacular!

    I miss my family, Mary from NC, but we would have hit at least one ice storm on the way up. Wishing you a year full of beautiful birds!

    We can't eat the whole pie, Prairie Rose - help yourself! The drive to Chicago is always long, but a few times it's been terrifying - we need to visit our family in good weather this year!

    Christmas Day is over, Chuck but we Stubborn Irish People from Chicago will keep our trees up and lights lit for another 9 days ;-] Happy 2009 to you, too!

    Too late, Randy & Jamie - Rose and Carol got to that pie first! Thank you for liking the centerpiece.

    We were nearly up to 80 degrees, but had a light freeze last night...all typical Austin weather, Lisa but you guys in Wisconsin are supposed to stay frozen!

    Thanks, Michael Ziegler - Philo liked the pie better than the arrangement, too! Thanks for the card.

    Being in Austin was a break with tradition, Phillip - in other years we're on the road when the wacky Austin lights are at their peak, but we saw them this year!

    Hi Blackswamp Kim - I missed the chaos and the family, but loved lunch on the patio in 70 degree weather, sleeping in my own bed, and having leftover turkey!

    Thanks for all the comments!


  19. How lovely to be able to add roses to holly and ivy...with a twist of Meyer's Lemon! It's a beautiful centerpiece, Annie!
    I'm glad you enjoyed a quiet Christmas in Austin, and slept in your own bed (bliss!), but sorry you missed your family.
    I love your festive decorations in the top photo, and the pie looks delicious.
    We had chocolate éclair cake with our Christmas dinner and should've sent more home with the kids!
    I know it's not too late to wish you and Philo a very merry Christmas, and may the New Year bring joy and many blessings to you and yours.

  20. Annie, thanks for another lovely post. (Glad you still have bubble lights...as a child I loved them!)

    Hope y'all have a Happy New Year and all the best in 2009! (I say good riddance to 2008...such a horrible year in so many ways.)

    Jon at Mississippi Garden

  21. I stopped by the other day meaning to leave a comment and then began watching your "Can I recover Christmas" video. I love it!! Your voice is so wonderful - I was glad to see your "Roots in Austin" blog too.

    It sounds as if you had a lovely Christmas ... the centrepiece was beautiful. Now I'm wanting some pumpkin pie.

    Hope you have a wonderful New Year 2009!!

  22. Hi Annie,
    Just dropped in to say how much I´ve enjoyed your blog this last year. And of course to wish you a happy and healthy 2009.

  23. Annie, I hope you had a wonderful Christmas - and that you are enjoying a nice New Year's Day. (I'm guessing there is no more of that pumpkin pie left - it looks delicious!). Best wishes to you from Charleston!

  24. A late Merry Christmas. I just missed Epiphany, but my greeting is heart felt. It's been crazy busy in Oklahoma. That pie looks good. You make a pretty crust. I love your centerpiece.~~Dee


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