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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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Sunday, October 18, 2009

GBBD for October 2009, Late but Flowery

"GBBD for October 2009, Late but Flowery" was written by Annie in Austin for her Transplantable Rose blog

Look out the front door and see the butterfly garden awakened by rain (photos enlarge when clicked)

Annieinaustin, Birdbath bedThe native Gregg's Mist Flower looked as if it would die in August but it's full of bees and Queens in October. The Blackfoot daisies should show up if you click.
Annieinaustin,butterflies on mistflower
Walk to the flower bed at the end of the porch and see the white Salvia greggii reblooming... did you guess that those emerging leaves are narcissus? Even while summer lingers the garden is thinking of spring.
Annieinaustin,Salvia greggii
As you cross the driveway, notice the usually sedate Salvia leucantha is throwing a party under the garage overhang
Annieinaustin,salvia leucanthaThe Pink Entrance Garden really is pink now - 'Belinda's Dream' rose, 'Champagne' minirose, pink gaura, rosy ice plant, pink skullcap, lavender pink angelonia and white lantana rejoice that they lived through summer 2009
Annieinaustin,Pink Entrance garden

Next to the garden gate a tall white abelia hangs blossoms, its clusters full instead of sparse. In quantity they are lightly fragrant. Annieinaustin,Abelia blossoms
Walk through the gate and look left - after sulking through the summer, the Salvia madrensis swallowed the rain, had a growth spurt and quickly made buds. But those flowers weren't open for GBBD - the rascals tried to fool me by staying close until the 17th. I fooled them by being late. Annieinaustin,Salvia madrensisThe two triangle beds and the long borders don't look too bad at a distance, and some flowers can stand a close-up...but this month we're not displaying our bedraggled and raggedyfoliage in any medium-close photos.
Annieinaustin,layered garden beds
The walk to the door is pretty interesting right now - the Meyer's lemon has some wicked thorns and the 7-foot yellow brugmansia blocks the sidewalk while dropping little green spiders on anyone approaching the back door. The clematis still has a few unopened buds. Annieinaustin,brugmansia & clematis
Blue goes with everything - Mistflower goes with Black & Blue salvia and a pink butterfly bush passalong from Lori likes the Salvia guaranitica hanging over its shoulder.
Annieinaustin,October blue flowersAbove left, more Salvia 'Black & Blue' works with Yellow bulbine in the front butterfly bed while at right the Blue Butterfly Flower/Clerodendrum ugandense cavorts with Mexican Mint Marigold in the larger triangle bed in the back yard.

The two flowers below earned closeups: Pineapple sage/Salvia elegans and Scutellaria 'Dorota Blue' - one of the Skullcaps. Any "Gossip Girl" fans out there? I just learned the show has a character named Dorota
Annieinaustin,october flower closeupsThe 'Julia Child' rose looks good once again - and so do the clematis flowers. If you're interested in the botanical names check back at Annie's Addendum - eventually the full list with botanical names will appear.
As the finale here are two little white lookalike flowers, both having a very good October.
Annieinaustin,Blackfoot daisies,zinnia linnearisPlease go to Carol's blog to see the other gardeners taking part in GBBD for October.

"GBBD for October 2009, Late but Flowery" was written by Annie in Austin for her Transplantable Rose blog

Thursday, October 15, 2009

National Park Time Machine

"This could be fun", I thought, when Pam/Digging suggested we bloggers post their memories of National Parks. Drizzly days are perfect for turning the pages of dozens of photo albums, are great weather for finding and scanning decades of time-faded prints, then seeing them expand on a screen. I've also allowed the category to expand from National Parks to other places with that National designation.
Annieinaustin, Smoky MountainsKentucky's Mammoth Cave National Park and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park were the first on our life-lists, one-day stops along the route when moving from Illinois to South Carolina in the late 1960's. We took a tour of Mammoth Cave and got into a traffic jam in the beautiful Smokies, returning in later years with babies in tow to see more of each park. The only photos that showed up were a couple of fading b/w Polaroid Swinger prints but I think a few minutes of the Smokies exist somewhere on an 8mm reel. Philo disagrees. To find out who's right we'll have to finally get those home movies into digital format!

Roll down to the map in this Wikipedia article about the National Park System.... what's the first thing you notice? Pretty empty in the middle isn't it? Visiting National Parks west of the Mississippi would mean long rides in non-airconditioned vehicles in July - the only month Philo's company allowed vacations.

Annieinaustin, Badlands in 1970'sBy the mid-1970's Philo thought we could handle it, and he planned a road trip from Chicagoland to Wyoming with stops along the way, including Badlands National Park above. The kids loved Dinosaur Park in Rapid City - it isn't a National Park, but it's on the National Register of Historic Places. We took our first look at Mount Rushmore, a National Memorial and saw the Crazy Horse monument when Korczak Ziokowski was still alive and the rocks barely hinted there would ever be a face.

Annieinaustin, Devil's Tower WYWe met Devil's Tower, a National Monument, shortly before the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind was released. With no connections to extra-terrestrials to color our experience, we camped nearby, walked around the base, felt the power and fell in love with this wonderful place.
Annieinaustin,Bighorn MntAfter a stop to play in summer snow in the Bighorn Mountains, we enjoyed the rock stores and Buffalo Bill Museum in Cody, Wyoming, spent a terrifying night in a tent during a wind storm, and at last passed flower-covered cliffs to arrive at one of the most beautiful places we've ever seen, the Grand Tetons National Park.
Annieinaustin, cabin in Tetons, 1970'sFree of the car we found our waiting cabin and spent days breathing the fresh air, watching the lodgepole pines sway, playing on the shore and trying to catch glimpses of the marmots Pikas*.
Annieinaustin, lake view TetonsThen on to Yellowstone National Park - where geysers blew, mud pots sputtered and panther tracks could be found in the dry soil around our cabin. The beer can collecting fad was in full swing - we wanted our kids to look at the wonders of the park but they wanted to find rare labels. Riding horses along switchback trails kept them out of the trash cans!

Annieinaustin,horseback at YellowstoneAfter Yellowstone we moved on to a rough camp in the partially finished Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area. When we hit a launderette in a mining town in Utah, signs on the machines warned customers not to wash clothes soiled with gilsonite, a natural asphalt mined in the area. We knew the next stop would be a treat for our dinosaur-crazy kids.... Dinosaur National Monument with its wall of real fossils exposed to view.

Philo revised the the route for a return trip in the 1980's - we aimed straight west through Nebraska and eastern Wyoming. Getting to the Tetons was a long hot, tense trip with dashboard gauges warning us how much our vehicle disliked the steep hills and heat of Wyoming.Annieinaustin, Tetons in bloomOnce again the Grand Teton Park welcomed us with its beauty. I signed up with a guide and went on a Good Medicine Plant Walk with a guide while everyone went hiking. Annieinaustin, Teton horse was FrankWe rode on Teton trails this time - Lily's horse was named "Frank".

Annieinaustin, rowing Coulter BayBefore shifting from the Tetons to Yellowstone we all went rowing on Coulter Bay Annieinaustin, Grand Canyon YellowstoneThe Grand Canyon - no not that Grand Canyon - the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

Annieinaustin, rustic Yellowstone lodgeThe Rustic Cabins at Roosevelt Lodge in Yellowstone National Park let us pretend to be pioneers or cowboys. I bought bear bells to notify wildlife a human was around and refused to set foot outside without them secured to my shoes. Philo said the park was so crowded the wildlife had retreated and the bells were unnecessary
Annieinaustin, Mammoth Springs 1970'sWe moved on to Mammoth Springs Lodge for more exploring. One afternoon three of us stayed in the room while Philo & our oldest went hiking. They had more excitement than they'd planned, catching glimpses of wildlife (this seems to be a female moose).Annieinaustin, Yellowstone moose or elkWithout bear bells to signal their approach, the guys had to run for it when they surprised a grizzly bear! It came after them as they sprinted through tall grass to the branches of a tall tree. Luckily the bear didn't follow them up the trunk, but it didn't leave right away. Eventually they were able to descend and report to the ranger. I wonder if a grizzly will be featured when the new quarters are minted? Yellowstone is in the first group of National Parks Quarters scheduled for 2010

Annieinaustin, Devil's Tower 1980'sIndividual renditions of the five iconic notes of the Close Encounters' theme filled the car as we came near Devils Tower, but the potent atmosphere of this natural wonder overcame us once again and respect for its history kept us quiet as we walked.

Annieinaustin, Mt Rushmore,1980'sBeer can collecting may have been passé by the eighties, but checking off license plates of all the United States & Canadian provinces in the Mount Rushmore parking lot never goes out of style and neither does the studio of Rushmore's sculptor Gutzon Borglum. We checked in at the Crazy Horse Memorial, too - the enormous face hadn't changed a great deal, but the campus had expanded.

Annieinaustin, Philo and Lily, Mammoth CaveMore from the eighties: When returning from the ocean we stopped at Mammoth Cave National Park, spending the night in a simple and secluded cabin on the park grounds. Who needs TV when Lily is around? She invented a game called Guess the Relative, making us figure out identities as she impersonated members of our large extended family.

Annieinaustin, St Louis Gateway ArchAlso from the 1980's - a visit to family in St Louis and the Gateway Arch and Museum of Western Expansion...a National Memorial. I liked the museum but preferred the Shaw Gardens!

Annieinaustin, St Helens park, climb windy ridgeNow we've moved into the 1990's - the Empire Builder took us from Chicago to Seattle for a whirl of visiting and touring - my husband's childhood dream of visiting a volcano finally came true. We joined the lines of people climbing Windy Ridge to see Mount St Helen's National Volcanic Monument.
Annieinaustin, Mt St Helens 1990'sSigns of regeneration were visible when we saw the area, a dozen years after the devastating eruption.

Annieinaustin, Mt Rainier meadow 1990'sWe climbed the meadows at Mt Rainier National Park but took few photos in the drizzle and mist. There are so many places you can get to in a couple of hours when you're centered in Seattle! We saw beautiful state parks, took a ferry up to Butchard Gardens, and were amazed to walk in the Temperate Rainforest of Olympic National ParkAnnieinaustin Olympic National Park tree
I've never seen anything quite like these ancient, gigantic trees. Annieinaustin, Olympic temperate rainforest

We learned that when one tree fell it gradually composted in place, providing a medium for seedlings, thus becoming a "nurse tree".

The Pioneer took us back along a different route - we arrived at the train station in Chicago exhausted - but satisfied we'd crammed in as much as possible!

Annieinaustin Mammoth Cave knight statueSometimes the corny stuff works when a family heads to a National Park... mini-golf and wax museums can be fun, and kids like goofy statues like this one near Mammoth Cave.
Annieinaustin Mammoth Cave parkThe park around Mammoth Cave is beautiful, too - in 1993 we were delighted to see Pileated Woodpeckers. Both cave and park have a long human history - on this visit we walked through an old cemetery within the park boundaries. Early caver Stephen Bishop is buried there.

Annieinaustin, MT Rainier snowWe'd enjoyed the two-day train ride, but decided to fly to Seattle a few years later. We found Mount Rainier National Park buried in snow reaching up to the tops of wooden picnic tables.
MT Rainier foggy hill
Clouds and mist hung over Mt Rainier again that July. Some prankster taped a photograph of the mountain on the viewing window of the visitor center to show what we were missing.

In the late 1990's Philo's job took him to El Paso for weeks at a time and weekends gave him a chance to add more parks to his list: Guadalupe Mountains National Park, The City of Rocks National Historical Reserve, White Sands National Monument and the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument below:Annieinaustin, Gila Cliff DwellingsHe made it to Carlsbad Caverns National Park, too - here's the amphitheatre:
Annieinaustin, Carlsbad AmphitheatreWe had a unexpected chance to return to the Black Hills in the late 1990's but had to put the trip together in a couple of days. With a rented Windstar, credit cards and better cameras we headed off, stopping to see touristy things we'd avoided before, like the Corn Palace, Reptile Gardens and even Wall Drugs. Annieinaustin, Badlands in 1990'sThe Badlands hadn't changed much but this time we were able to see the Prairie Dog village
Annieinaustin, Badlands prairie dog villageWe figured out why we'd seen so many motorcycles - our timing had landed us in the middle of the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally! Motels and parking places were hard to find but what fun to be close to the action!

Annieinaustin, Sturgis rally in 1990'sBandanna'd guys took turns taking each other's photos riding through tunnels or posing at the Mount Rushmore Memorial. Annieinaustin, Mt Rushmore 1990'sMore bikers rode to the Crazy Horse Memorial - and we were amazed at the progress that had been made - the face of Crazy Horse was awe-inspiring!

Instead of a basic motel we blew the budget and landed near Custer Mountain in a house away from other buildings and lights, with the most beautiful and star-filled sky we'd ever seen overhead. We added another park to our life-list, touring Wind Cave National Park, buying sweatshirts but taking no photos.

Annieinaustin, Devils's tower 1990'sDevil's Tower had never seemed more beautiful - just writing this post makes me want to be there again. Will that ever happen? If we still lived in Chicago we'd have driven back already, but we're in Texas, now. Big Bend National Park is in Texas, too, but that means little with the park entrance nearly 500 miles from Austin. We set out to see it in 2001.

Annieinaustin, Big Bend Park rdBeautiful roads, spectacular hikes and walks were everywhere, with views like this reflection of the Rio Grande at Santa Elena Canyon
Annieinaustin, Santa Elena CanyonFantastic night skies and the desert in bloom were the reward for going in March. We stopped at Caverns of Sonoma on the way back - truly one of the most beautiful caves we've ever seen and a National Natural Landmark.
Annieinaustin, Big Bend in bloomEven the most intrepid travelers can't drive to the next National Park - we flew to the big island of Hawaii a few years ago and walked through a tumble of green at the Thurston Lava Tube in Hawaii's Volcanoes National Park.
Annieinaustin, volcanoes national park lava tubeThe paths and terrain change as the flows do - when we were there a half-mile walk across the rock took the visitors to where the lava flowed

Annieinaustin walk to volcano flowPhilo had seen what a volcano had done at Mt St Helen's - now he saw one still at work.
Annieinaustin, Flowing lava Hawaii

A few years ago our family gathered once again at Mount Rainier National Park - we were shocked to find no mist, no rain, no impaired view.... just the full glory of the Mountain.

Annieinaustin, Mt Rainier 2005No one will need to hunt and scan old prints in future - the cameras in the family finally outnumber the family members.
Annieinaustin, Mt Rainier photo opThe title of this post was suggested by character Don Draper's assertion {YouTube Link) in the Mad Men episode "The Wheel" that the Kodak Slide Carousel is not a spaceship... it is a Time Machine.

ED: This post by Tabor made me realize the animals in the Tetons were Pikas - we saw the Marmots at Hurricane Ridge in WA.