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, August 03, 2009

The Lilies of August

Open the back door and you'll see three plants that are thriving in spite of the weather - they do get water, but the real secret seems to be the house wall - this strip gets full sun in the morning but from early afternoon it's sheltered from the burning rays.
Annieinaustin, Plumbago, milkweed,AmarcrinumThe blue Plumbago auriculata is almost as tall as I am and the Amarcrinum
'Fred Howard', a has finally settled in after a few years, making four flower-stalks on two plants. We call plants like this Crinum lilies, but they're really in the Amaryllis family.

The pink and blue combination was expected, but the pop of orange was added when seeds of Asclepias curassavica/tropical milkweed parachuted in from another part of the garden and made themselves at home.

Annieinaustin, Juliet tomatoesThere isn't enough orange in what's left of the vegetable garden. Last summer's level of heat and drought didn't stop the 'Juliet tomatoes from producing enough to chop up for fresh salsa, but this summer's heat has kept the Juliets down to only 2 or 3 ripe per day. Too bad - I really want to try Renee's fascinating method of drying Juliets inside your parked vehicle!

Annieinaustin, Labuffarosea rainlilies
We had 1/7th of an inch of rain last week. This piddle of nature did nothing for the trees or shrubs or perennials, but some parts of the parched lawn sent out exploratory blades and the rainlilies? They went nuts! Above are Zephyranthes 'Labuffarosea' in a large container on the patio, under the spare boughs of a Pineapple Guava. Zephyranthes are also called lilies and are part of the extended lily family.

Below are 'Labuffarosea' in a container near the front steps, marooned in a sea of Silver Pony Foot/Dichondra argentea. (sideways photo upload courtesy of Blogspot). The original bulbs came from Plant Delights nursery in 2000. They have multiplied and I've given bulbs of this rainlily away to many fellow garden bloggers and to most of the Divas of the Dirt - hope all their rainlilies are blooming, too!
Annieinaustin, rainlilies, Silver ponyfootSo even though there has been a DROP of rain, most of the words in my recent song, 'Don't Want to Be in Texas in July' are still valid... except that it would be a lot harder to write lyrics that rhyme with "August".


  1. "Canada or bust"?
    "Get away I must"?
    "La Nina will save us, I trust"?
    How about those "August" rhymers, Annie?

    Yes, your rain lilies were blooming in my garden again recently, not as profusely as yours, but I know they will, in time. Thank you for this sweet summer flower.

  2. Hey, Annie-

    I love the tomato drying idea... I going to try it with San Marzanos...think it will work? In any event I need a better smell in my can anyways... Much peace to you- Megan aka bertscannery

  3. We thin slice them and put them in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes then let them sit overnight and freeze them in zip locks the next morning. (season with salt, sugar, basil, garlic, olive oil...whatever you like before going in the oven.)

  4. I love your Rain Lilies! They are so cute and fresh looking. The song parody is great. What do you call it when you parody your own song?

  5. The garden would be robust
    if it weren't for the
    drought of August.

    Signs of 'Canada or bust'
    are growing in Austin
    this August.

    Thank goodness for rain lilies and tomatoes for drying. I don't think you need an automobile this year. Just leave them on the vines. I do hope the drought is broken soon.

  6. Annie,
    Love the rainlilies, I've got some but not a named variety, they are a mix of passalongs from my aunt and a few I bought along the way somewhere.

    I wish you the best through August, may it lead to rain and cooler weather both passing through and on the other side!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  7. 1/7 inch of rain and those rainlilies respond...that's amazing biology if you ask me! I keep reading about your 'exceptional drought' - and feel so badly for you guys. It's a tough thing, wishing for rain - it reminds me of winters in Michigan, when in mid-March you convince yourself that it will NEVER...EVER...be spring. Hang in there!! And I'm glad you have those rainlilies to cheer you up.

  8. I still love those rain lilies! I imagine they help cheer up the dry gardeners of Texas...at least a bit.
    I love the car tomato dryer idea...Juliets make yummy dried tomatoes. I actually still have some in my freezer from last year.

  9. The rain lilies are gorgeous. I should plant more of those.

  10. "After wetter climes I lust" ??

    Always enjoy your songs, Annie, especially the comic slides to illustrate the lyrics along the way, like the flames on the roadside:) The rainlilies are lovely flowers; they are certainly living up to their name if they're satisfied with 1/7 inch.

    Perhaps this winter you could try a another version of this song for us Midwesterners--"I don't want to be in Illinois in January" :)

  11. I thought about you this morning as I walked my Annie dog. I was amusing myself by making up lyrics about rain to ABBA's Gimme A Man After Midnight. I knew you'd appreciate the impulse that led to my doing that!

  12. Love seeing your rainlilies! I bought some small bulbs over a year ago and they are finally blooming this summer, makes me happy!

  13. I love your rainlilies- such a pretty shade and such a treat during the hot summer days. I hope I am not missing mine. I bought bulbs in the spring, yellow and pink. They will have to tell me where they are because I have already forgotten where I put them. I think I should have left them in pots like you did.

  14. Even on my roof it's not hot enough for Zeypranthes to bloom. Maybe I should try growing them in my parked car.

    I love that you guys call it the Death Star. Do cars really start Texas grass fires? Wild.

  15. Annie, so delightful to hear your lovely voice as always! You clever, talented girl, maybe you should try a rain dance, too?

    Love your photos of the rainlilies.

  16. Oh lordy, what have I done- the Plant Parodists are coming out!

    Those are hilarious Pam/Digging - but aren't we hoping for El Nino rather than La Nina? I get them mixed up!

    Hi Megan from Bert's - thanks for coming and commenting. And adding to the pun count with your smelly can.

    If I get enough Juliets this sounds delicious, Tabor - but the sticky part may be turning the oven on and heating it up to 400°F.

    I also wondered about the name for a parody of one's own song, Mr MgGregor's Daughter- but at least knew there would be no copyright issues because the song belongs to my son and me!

    Oh, Lisa at Greenbow - the thought of Canada is pretty tempting right now!
    Don't think there'd be anything left if I left them on the vines - only way I get any at all is by bringing them in pale orange!

    Thanks, Carol of May Dreams - how sweet to have a passalong rainlily from your aunt. Long may your rainlilies bloom!

    It gets even better, Pam in SC - those rainlilies have bloomed when there was barely a film of mist on the patio. Read somewhere that high humidity combined with the pressure changes associated with a thunderstorm is what triggers bloom - not the moisture! Isn't that weird?

    The car dryer idea sounds good to me, Leslie, but didn't appeal to Philo one bit. We used to get real tomato crops in Illinois and he invested in an electric food dryer - made okay tomatoes but he did not like the smell one bit.
    Lucky you to still have some!

    Maybe I'll be in a position to share once again Phillip, if what's left will survive and increase again.

    It's been ten years without MOSS, Prairie Rose- something I took for granted in IL. Moss lust?
    I think the Stones already sang about how we felt in an Illinois January! Thanks for liking my songs.

    Love that ABBA song, Cindy, My Corner of Katy - and also love it on the Mamma Mia soundtrack. Boy the lyrics would be fun to parody, wouldn't they?

    Did you also come up with Gimme gimme gimme some rain after midnight Help me to the dampness that will gladden my day?

    Hi Tina Vaziri - rainlilies are so stubborn, aren't they? Glad yours finally bloomed!

    At the other house I had to grow them in containers, Lancashire Jenny. I planted some in the ground when when we moved to this house, but am glad I left others in pots - they hate the heavy clay ground here, seldom bloom and don't increase. You have different soil - hope yours are okay!

    This is a surprise, ChuckB - I didn't realize they needed that much heat. They bloomed in Illinois but as annuals. The first time I heard "Death Star" it was from our beloved garden personality Tom Spencer. There are even T-shirts with the saying!
    There really are grass fires. I would have used a news photo but most are copyrighted - so used the goofy photoshopped flames.

    Always good to hear from you, lost Roses - hope this means you've made a new post?
    People on GardenWeb talk about a "nekked turtle rain dance" but that could be as scary as the drought!

    Thanks everyone, for visiting and commenting,


  17. I know that I would have to have them in a container I could move somewhere sheltered from the cold in the winter, but I want rain lilies.

    How about: "Everything 'round here is as dry as dust" for a rhyme?

  18. C'mon up here, Annie (and Pam, and the rest of you Hot August Texas gardeners) to lovely if soggy Nova Scotia. You'll run screamin' back for your hot dry climate after a few days of the soggies, I promise.

  19. Now plan to add a bunch more rain lilies and crinums. Too lovely.

    Looks like you've found a fellow lyricist with Pam.

  20. Hi Annie, I absolutely LOVE your rain lilies. I'm a sucker for them and tried growing them here in Louisiana but I think it rains too much, ha!

    I have no idea why there's only 4 documented kinds of butterflies in my county (parish actually). The area is rural with logging being one of the major industries (that and chickens and a university!). The woods around here used to be mixed hardwoods but that's changed over to more of a monoculture of loblolly pines. So perhaps the lack of diversity is the reason for the low number. Having lived in Austin for so long where there are so many butterflies, I could never figure out where they all were when we moved here. At least I know now it's not just my yard they're not coming to!

  21. You have such wit, Annie! :) And those rain lilies are beautiful, too. (Yes, even in pink.)

  22. Come to Californy
    where the weather's not so ornery.

    The above attempt is the reason I don't have
    a cool (or should I say hot,) song on YouTube.

    I loved your song.
    It made me laugh.
    Keep cool.

  23. As always, my dear, you find the positive (even in drought conditions). We had the heat earlier in the summer 107F-ish for two weeks, a break and then three weeks. I thought I would lose my mind. You Texans (even the transplants) are tough.~~Dee

  24. geez. If you guys had had one 50th of our rain, you'd be sitting pretty. But heck, you're used to it, you know what you're in for, just as we do in February.

    And you seem to be wearing it well.

  25. Healing Magic Hands, I grew rainlilies in Illinois and overwintered them in the basement with cannas, dahlias and callas...go for it!

    Hi Jodi Bloomingwriter - am no longer used to Northern weather so you may be right. Or we could just adapt and grow gills ;-]

    It's been 3 long hot, dry weeks since I wrote this post, Linda from CTG, yet the crinums and rainlilies are still alive! Pam is not only a fellow lyricist, she is also , in the words of Olympia Dukakis/Clairee, a True Smart-ass!

    Hello again Jean - my best rainlilies grow in pots, so you know they want drainage and water, the little spoiled brats.
    So many species of butterflies need trees as hosts so that makes sense, especially if the chickens eat caterpillars!

    Coming from you that's a big compliment, Blackswamp Kim - think I like the texture and translucence of this pink!

    The weather in Californy sounds pretty ornery to me! You guys are way hot, Chigy at Gardeners Anonymous,!
    I'm glad you laughed!

    Positive is very hard right now, Dee of RedDirtRamblings - a few drops of rain have fallen on other parts of Austin but not here! I am not feeling one bit tough.

    We're used to heat and drought, EAL, but NORMAL heat and drought...not this. Today we tied for second place in days over 100°F ever recorded (66 days), and the lake is at it's 3rd lowest level ever, with a much smaller population drawing on the water than when it happened before. Our August is more like the February when temps dropped to -26°F in Chicago...no one gets used to that!

    Thanks for commenting -


  26. The rain lilies are beautiful. They are among my favorites...will keep coming back for more..


  27. I had a baby in Texas, in July, once, prettiest baby in the world. I was hanging diapers on the clothesline and noticed the temperature on the little back stoop was 122 degrees. It was a long time ago.

    My answer to the hot Texas sun and rhyming August: Go on back to Georgia if you Must.

  28. Thanks for stopping by Paula and Urban Green!

    Your rhyme is funny, Nell Jean, but I don't know anyone who came here from Georgia ;-]



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.