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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, December 08, 2008

It's Still Autumn in Austin

Even though the Brugmansia went from still-in-bloom last Thursday afternoon
December Brugmansia, Annieinaustin
To crisped and frostbitten by Monday afternoonfrosted brugmansia, annieinaustin

Even though the Blue Butterfly Flower Clerodendrum is also crispy brown today
Clerodendrum & Russelia, annieinaustin
Even though the Loquat is no longer blooming and the hoped-for fruit may have been hit with cold and we'll have another year of no loquat fruit
Loquat flowers hit by cold, annieinaustinEven though we're now using the big comforter instead of the light blankets, and the berries on the Burford Holly are a wintery-Christmasy red .
Burford holly berries,annieinaustin
Even though the cannas that backed up the Julia Child rose are no longer green as in this photo from last Thursday Julia Child rose with cannas,annieinaustin

...it still feels like autumn to me. Must sweep patio,annieinaustin
After all, that Julia Child rose is still blooming and holding onto her foliage (in answer to Jean, the bloom is good, but she does get blackspot and has fewer leaves than she should)
Julia Child rose December,annieinaustin
After all, the temperatures are in the sixties and the leaves are falling and swirling around the patio, needing to be swept so we can use the barbecue,Leaves on patio,annieinaustin

After all, it took a long time to rake and sweep this pile, go over it with the mulching mower and empty the bag over and over into the wire leaf enclosure
Leaves to mulch,annieinaustin
After all, there seems to be an endless supply of unfallen leaves that will need raking - even if the projected cold front arrivesDecember pecan tree,annieinaustin
After all, the pomegranate tree is still glowing golden in the Secret Garden
Pomegranate fall color,annieinaustin
After all, the pink rose near the Brugmansia is still blooming
Pink climbing rose,annieinaustin
And a rather dimwitted Monarch thought there was still time to raise a new generation
(Renee - as you wrote in your Statesman blog, this is not a good idea, is it!)

December Monarch larva,annieinaustin
Oops - someone should get out the ladder and cut those pods of moonflower vine seeds to save for next spring
Moonvine pods,annieinaustin
But the ladder is already in the living room, surrounded by ornaments and decorations boxes, placed next to the Christmas tree so I can reach the top branches. bought LED lights,annieinaustin

Being organized for Christmas gets complicated where December acts like autumn.


  1. Yes, it looks like a collision of seasons, fall running smack-dab into the holiday season like that. Even though and after all, that must take some getting used to! My winter garden is now in that stage where it can be ignored for awhile.

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  2. The frosts are smacking my plants too giving me lots of messes to clean up, but, to everything there is a season, and so we must just resign ourselves to the fact that it is time for the garden to have a rest as well as us. Time to hang up and put away lots of things and let winter slide on in.

    Hope y'all have a wonderful holiday season in Austin!

    Jon at Mississippi Garden

  3. We have had several frosts here and fall is pretty much at the tale end of time. Your photos still look like the tale end of summer!

  4. After all that frost you should be in the holiday spirit. After all of your christmas is up you can concentrate on getting your garden cleaned up.

  5. Hey,Annie, be careful on that ladder! Whew, ladders scare me a little, sorry for that. :-) I can see why you would whine about the leaf raking, you have so many! But good exercise and good for the garden. Such a weird mix of fall and winter activites, and some summer thrown in with flowers blooming! I have saved the moonflower seed pods too, wondering if it was possible to grow the plants from them, it must be, for you are the queen of the moonflowers!

  6. Annie,
    We spent the greater part of Saturday cleaning up the garden. Yesterday we couldn't even tell we had raked.:-(

  7. Happy Autumn Christmas, Annie! The first frost is always a bit of a shocker...what dies for the season and what continues on. Roses still blooming after a frost never fails to make me smile ...they aren't as tender as I think!

    Have a good time trimming the tree and enjoy your autumn garden.


  8. You really did have a heavier frost up there. I don't think we hit 32 down here. (Sounds like I'm talking about different states, not a few miles!)

  9. I'd say autumn has finally arrived. I do hope the monarch stays warm.

  10. I need to do something about the gazillion oak leaves cluttering my courtyard, patios and curbs. I'm loathe to get started because there will be a gazillion more that fall. I'll no sooner finish the first batch than along comes another! Meanwhile, the monarchs are munching milkweed apace and the Christmas tree stands undecorated. Our lives seem to be following similar paths ...

  11. That seems normal! I spent 30 years able to ignore the garden in winter, Carol and sometimes miss that ability.

    Hello Jon - the leaves will fall but watering goes on all year! Never any rest here.
    I hope your holidays are wonderful.

    Some of the garden will be gone in a few days, but sometimes those roses are blooming at Christmas,Tabor.

    I might have to ignore the garden so some baking and packaging can get done, Lisa at Greenbow!

    For this house I can use the 4-foot ladder, FairFrances - at the previous house the tree was 13-feet and the ceiling 18.

    I enjoy raking - but it gives me time to think about all the other things I should be doing. These are pecan leaves, so not good for the vegetable garden. They must be composted separately, in hopes the juglone will dissipate and that leaf mulch can be useful someday.
    My experience with the saved seeds is to save a lot - germination percentage was not great. Maybe they weren't completely 'ripe'?

    Ha, Ha! That's what happened here, Randy & Jamie - glad I took the photos so Philo could see that pile of leaves.

    Hello Gail - the weather likes to tease us, doesn't it? We've walked through the rose garden at the TX capitol in Dec and it was in full bloom.

    Hi Vertie- this is not too different from what we had in the Chicago area - people nearer Lake Michigan seemed to be living one zone warmer, while the Western burbs were more like prairie.

    I can't find that monarch caterpillar today, Tina - hope he's safe in a chrysalis somewhere.

    We still need to use our BBQ's and patio tables, right Cindy from Katy? If they stayed on the borders and lawn I'd care less, but every time we open a door the leaves come into the house...and a crunchy LR and kitchen floor isn't cool.

    Thanks for all the comments,


  12. The leaves keep falling here but they are almost gone. We've had much colder temperatures than usual. In fact, our weather has been more like January and February. I like it though and I hope it kills some of the bugs.

  13. Hi Annie.
    Looks like your Brugmansia at least had a few blooms this year...ours did not manage one!

    I am knee deep in leaves right now, I am hoping this cold front and winds will finally blow them all off the trees so that I can finally do one final clean up.

    Loquats usually bounce back pretty well, I have my fingers crossed for you.



  14. Thanks for visiting recently, Annie. I am not the most faithful of visitors, but I always enjoy my time here. Especially when I see things like that monarch caterpillar trying its best to carry on, after all is said and done...

  15. You nailed it, Annie. We have a half-decorated Xmas tree too. Garden chores have kept me from finishing it. Leaves are all over the yard, but quite a few trees (like my Japanese maple) are still blazing or glowing autumnally. No frost here yet, but they say tomorrow it'll happen.

  16. I've been twiddling around trying to write a post about the autumn colors...taking photos and mostly just enjoying. Leaves, leaves, leave. I've assigned this coming weekend as cleanup day...the oak leaves are just turning red and I know I'll clean up and then have to do it all over again.

  17. The four seasons in Austin, TX: almost summer, summer, still summer, Christmas.

  18. Ah, poor Annie, with temps in the 60's! (/snark aside) Good to see you still have some valiant bloomers going strong. I'll trade you our 5 inches of snow on the ground and icy streets for some of that, if you'd like. :-)

    We still have the tree in a bucket of water on the porch because everything has gone completely downhill since Mon night when we got it. We vow to get it up and start decorating this weekend if I'm not stuck working all weekend again....

    Make sure to show us the finished tree when you're done!

  19. "Being organized for Christmas gets complicated where December acts like autumn."

    Hi Annie,

    Thanks for stopping by my blog at yankeeeyes. That line at the end of your last entry is poignant to me, because it pretty much sums up everything I feel about the fact that it could possibly be in the 50's or 60's on Christmas here in Tennessee. Today it snowed, so it feels more like Illinois tonight.

    I have been searching for gardening blogs lately, because I am going to be taking the Master Gardener course here in order to learn something useful about growing things in the south. I still have the Illinois methods stuck in my mind. If you know of anyone who blogs and is from Tennessee, could you please let me know? Thanks!

  20. Annie, it's so nice to see all that is still blooming in your garden when the skies are very gray and snow is swirling in the air here. This is the time of year you can really appreciate being in Austin instead of Illinois!

    It must be somewhat difficult to get into the holiday decorating spirit when there is still so much going on in your garden. I just returned from a week in Arizona; somehow it seemed strange to see artificial snowflakes on porches and patios when the temperature was in the 70's.

  21. C. Moonflower, you really need to check out Fairegarden (Frances) and In the Garden (Tina, Skeeter, Dawn). From TN, they are great mentors as well as being fantastic garden-bloggers. They won't steer you wrong. Tina is a Master Gardener as well. (Sorry for jumping in there, Annie.)

  22. Hi C. Moonflower, sorry Annie, we are taking over the comment section, I want to mention, Marmee, of thingsilove-marmee.blogspot.com, she lives in Franklin also. And Dave of thehomegarden.blogspot.com and Gail of clayandlimestone.blogspot.com. There are more I think, Tina has them on her sidebar. Do leave a comment on these blogs for they are friendly folks.

    Frances at Fairegarden

  23. Hi Phillip - in the last few days many more leaves have come down here, with up and down temperatures. Good luck with cold air keeping insects under control.

    That Brug had one modest flush of bloom after another, ESP - less than last year but still nice for looks and fragrance.
    It would be nice to get some fruit from the loquat once in awhile, but it's generous with flowers and screening so very worth growing.

    That will have to be my mantra too, Walk2Write - it's impossible to visit everyone in a timely fashion, so we'll just enjoy it whenever! Doing our best to carry on, yes.

    My tree is still half-decorated, Pam/Digging - but some baking was done and with several frosts here, also been cutting down the annuals and pepper plants. We'll get there!

    What's the name for the season when the temperatures go from 81 to 31 in one day, Chuck? Tuesday!

    They were back in the high sixties today, but highs in forties for Monday. You are welcome to the 5" of snow...our 1/3 inch was okay, IVG! Don't hold your breath waiting for the tree photo - might be a few days.

    Welcome C.Moonflower - another transplant from IL to warmer climes. The Tennessee blogs mentioned by Walk2Write and Frances in their comments below are all worth visiting. And in case you haven't heard that garden bloggers meet in real life, Gail and Frances came to Austin for a big party called Spring Fling last April, so I know them in real life and you will love their blogs!

    When we came to Austin we found the wooden cutouts of penguins placed around front yards full of palms and cactus kinda weird, Prairie Rose - but now it looks normal!
    Well, in most of the US, whether warm or cold, it's still dark! We need the lights.

    Walk2Write and FaireFrances - thanks for jumping in - that willingness to help and share is one of the sweetest things about the garden blog world.

    I don't post too often, but you can check the Twitter feed in my sidebar to see if anything has happened recently....of course you might not find out anything more fascinating than what's for dinner...

    Thanks for the comments,


  24. Hey! You guys look more fall-ish than we do - we had a good freeze and haven't recovered (although we did have two days in the 70s this week!). It's still quite strange, seeing snowman decorations on a seventy degree day. Isn't that just...wrong?

  25. We had our first hard freeze a couple of nights ago. The irony is, yesterday I found some small Tupperware freezer containers--very small--that I bought for one purpose and one purpose only.

    To freeze basil.

    Of course, my basil froze without benefit of plastic intervention.

    Maybe next year.

  26. Hey Annie, What do you think happened to the caterpillar? Did they manage to make it to Mexico?

  27. Annie, your roses are lovely! I saw an adult monarch in my yard just a few days ago -- I certainly hope she wasn't planning to lay eggs!! (Thanks for the monarch link)

    Renee's Roots

  28. Such a nice, long transition you have from summer...I sure hope I can get my brug to bloom like that next year!

  29. Hmm that Monarch's not too brilliant, huh! Nice pre-frost flowers.

  30. It looks like what would pass for fall in my neck of the woods, only 2 months earlier!

  31. Hi there !

    I like your page ,and the moust...the foto you posted.

    You`re a nice person so...take care of you !!!

  32. http://bubba-wakeboarder.blogspot.com/

  33. I just stopped in to see the latest "Blog of Note". Your photos are truly wonderful, especially during the dead of winter. I will keep tabs on you page, if for no other reason than to look at your beautiful photos.

  34. those are very amazing light strings

  35. I love the Pink climbing rose. it's so beautiful.


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