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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, November 16, 2009

Garden Blogger Bloom Day, November 2009

Every month Carol of May Dreams Gardens invites us to share what's in bloom. She thought of this idea back in January of 2007 - meaning some of us are close to the end of Year Three and you've become familiar with most of our plants.

So for this third edition of November Garden Bloggers Bloom Day I decided it could be fun not only to show you what's in flower, but to show you how each plant fits into the garden as a whole. Let's wander around, following the numbers on this rough and simplified map. - it gets a little bigger if you click: Annieinaustin, GBBD mapThe bed near the front walk is #1 - here's Rosa mutabilis in bud and bloom, sending up new shoots.
Annieinaustin,Mutabilis rose

A few leaves from the whitebud have fallen on a clump of Creeping phlox. It only bloomed once a year in Illinois, but decorates the edges of this bed in both spring and fall. The Yellow Bulbine is trying to take over the whole bed.
Annieinaustin,creeping phlox, bulbine
Cross the driveway to a bed anchored by three Spiraeas, #2. I like how the pink cuphea and a fragrant mistflower mix it up - a Red Admiral butterfly approves.Annieinaustin,admiral butterfly on cuphea
The Pink Entrance Bed, #3, has whites and purples and blues, too - like this blue-violet Duranta. Can you see that branch with different leaves? It's the 'Rumba' weigela - still alive after the summer of 2009! Annieinaustin,duranta

There is plenty of Pink in the Pink Entrance bed, including this froth of pink Gaura backed by a fading 'Belinda's Dream' rose. This is the only open Belinda flower, but more buds are swelling.Annieinaustin,pink gaura
Let's go toward the Garden Gate - first passing the fuzzy purple Mexican Bush Sage at the corner of the garage, #4, with colors even more intense than at October GBBD.
Annieinaustin,salvia leucantha
Once through the gate we're inside the privacy fence passing the NE fence border #5. Salute the Salvia madrensis, but you'll have to look up to do it.... the wooden fence is 6-feet tall. It was just starting in October and is now in full bloom.

Annieinaustin,salvia madrensis

Buttery yellow 'Julia Child' rose grows in this border - also displaying only one rose today, and saving buds for later.

Annieinaustin,julia child rose
While we walk the grass path you'll see yellow glowing on both sides - in the triangle at right, Bed # 6, the Mexican Mint Marigold is at its peak with Russelia equisetiformis, Firecracker plant adding a touch of orange
Annieinaustin,mexican mint marigoldI've planted both the sunny fence border and this first triangle bed with shades of yellow & blue, with lots of white and touches of orange. I've called this Blue Butterfly flower Clerodendrum ugandense until now- Pam/Digging showed it with the current name, Rotheca myricoides 'Ugandense', in a recent post. But an assortment of clunky names can't make the flower any less lovely.
Annieinaustin,clerodendrum, rotheca
On to #7 Back in the corner of the vegetable plot is a raised planter with an old-fashioned Rose of Sharon bush and a yellow mum below. I used to hate the word 'mums', but at least I can remember it - had to look up Dendranthema x grandiflora, Prophet Series 'Yellow". This mum was here when we moved in, still had the tag.

Annieinaustin,yellow mums

The other day I dug up and divided a clump of cannas, replanting some of them and setting aside the other half for my friend Ellen. Until the pecan leaves fall the vegetable garden is in dense shade so I plopped Ellen's cannas into a big pot and stuck them in the abandoned tomato plot. One of her plants had an opened bud - since they're still here this counts as my bloom, right?Annieinaustin,red canna
This time let's walk back between the triangle beds...the path is still "grass" now, but we have plans for granite. On the obelisk in bed #6 the Blue Pea vine has more pods than flowers but what's there is cherce*. (*Tracy & Hepburn, Pat & Mike)
The tropical milkweed is as pretty in bud as in bloom, and the Mexican Mint Marigold shows through the network of vines from the other side.
Annieinaustin,clitoria ternatea
On the south side of the path at Triangle #8 there's are tiny larkspur and cilantro seedlings and various annual salvia seedlings but the only flowers are on the dependable white reseeding Zinnia linnearis. The green shrub is a dwarf Greek myrtle.
Annieinaustin,zinnia linnearis

Bed # 9 is the best spot in the whole garden, offering morning sun, afternoon shade, shelter from hail and cold north winds, access to the hose faucet and attention from the gardeners who use the back door. Currently blooming in this desirable location are the pink mouse-faced cuphea and the big Brugmansia/Angel Trumpet. The Meyer's Improved lemon ripens a handful of beautiful fruit.
Annieinaustin,brugmansia, Meyer's lemons
Before we head for the patio a close look reveals a beautiful green spider who has captured a bee.
Annieinaustin,green spider & bee

On the South end of the patio, #10, impatiens bloom in one pot, Sambac Jasmine is budded in another and a potted Meyer's lemon promises Cranberry-Lemon relish for Thanksgiving.
Annieinaustin,patio chair & lemon tree

The arch connecting the patio to the grassy area under the pecans is covered by a Coral Honeysuckle in both beautiful bloom
Annieinaustin,coral honeysuckleAnd delicate, graceful bud.
Annieinaustin,lonicera buds

Cross the grass to the South fence where #11 was designed as a hummingbird bed with lots of Salvias. Right now Gregg's salvia, Pineapple sage, Salvia coccinea, Salvia 'Black & Blue', Salvia guaranitica, and Salvia farinacea each have a few flowers in red and blue, but when the Cuphea llavea/Bat-faced cuphea combines these two colors the result is so cute it gets the photo.
Annieinaustin,batfaced cuphea
Enlarging one batface on a different photo surprised me - How old is this plant? It looks like it's growing a beard: Annieinaustin,closeup batfaced cuphea
The hummingbird bed merges with a shady long bed as you move to the right - first bats, now toads? The Toadlily plant is half the size it was last fall, but it survived in shade and managed to push out a few spotted flowers. Annieinaustin,toadlily
As we head toward the garden shed, stop to look up at my beloved Loquat, grown from a seedling, now flowering and covered in butterflies 12-feet up in the air. The buds are just beginning to open on the lower branches.
Annieinaustin,loquat in bloom
The sasanqua Camellia started blooming this week in the bed along the garden shed, #12.
Annieinaustin,sasanqua shrubA new shrub might have died but I planted it in 2004. Being established in filtered shade meant that the camellia not only survived but made a few dozen buds and flowers. Austinites on Hill Country terrain don't usually succeed with camellias, but they're not uncommon in my part of Austin. Annieinaustin,sasanqua flower

A few feet away is the Bulb Bed, # 13, jammed with leftover Christmas amaryllis/Hippeastrum, with dollar store Daffodils, with non-blooming Agapanthus, old Easter lilies, freesias and other bulbs picked up on sale. One pot of Oxalis regnellii 'Atropurpurea' , sometimes called Purple Shamrock, has been divided over and over and appears in a dozen clumps front and back. The flowers seem paler here than in real life.
Annieinaustin,purple oxalis

Through the arch to #14 - where more dark purple comes from a Potato vine in a blue pot, annual Impatiens act like perennials in this sheltered spot and green Oxalis bloom white. Annieinaustin,potato vine, blue pot
The wooden privacy fence surrounds this little area and separates the front and back yards. I've heard this kind of space called a Dogleg, but after we cleaned out the junk we christened it the Secret Garden. When May Dreams Carol visited my garden I joked that the secret was that I would never let the Air-Conditioner appear in any photos.

Annieinaustin,sweet olive flowersBut here's the real secret of the Secret Garden: Three Sweet Olive/Osmanthus shrubs are spaced around the south end of the house, with inconspicuous flowers wafting a lovely scent over the whole back yard. A visitor might wonder where the fragrance came from, until I tell them the Secret.

The complete GBBD list with my best shot at the botanical names will appear is now up at Annie's Addendum.
To see more than 100 Bloom Day posts from around the world go to Carol's roundup at May Dreams.


  1. WOW. I think you win this Bloom Day! Really amazing--this is clearly your time of year. That blue pot w/ oxalis and potato vine is one of my favorite things I've seen in a long time--a great combination of three simple, wonderful elements. Bravo.

    You also get a gold star for the green spider and bee!

    I don't remember seeing Salvia madrensis before. I didn't realize the leaves were so big. With those flowers, it reminds me of Mahonia lomariifolia, although I think think they've changed the name. Speaking of which, thanks for the news about the former Clerodendrum. I didn't know.

    I feel really happy for you after the long, hot summer. You're also making lots of bugs and birds very happy with your beautiful garden. Not that they care about its beauty, per se.

  2. Agree with Chuck- you ought to win for this epic opus. Such an interesting tour :)

  3. Wow, I had no idea that Salvia madrensis could get so big! And I love how the color goes with the soft yellow of Julia Child. :)

  4. Very impressive display of blooms! If it were not for the fallen leaves on the patio and the late blooms of the Toadlily (generally the last "new" bloom in my fall garden) I would have guessed it was summer in your garden. I am always impressed with the variety of flowers you have. Thanks for letting us see them once again for bloom day!

    And the map is very impressive!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  5. Hi Annie, I love the map! S. madrensis certainly gets a bow and salute and a round of applause! Those Cupheas are my new favorite plants, the bat faces are worth intimate exploration for signs of age. Think of the stories they must have stored in between those red ears. Julia Child, and all are indeed cherce. :-)

  6. Great idea using a map. Made it more interesting except I think I need to print the map and then re-read the blog...;-)

  7. Annie - I love looking at the map and going on the tour with you. Almost like seeing it in person! Your garden is chock-full of lovely blooms that like this weird weather. I'm particularly impressed with your Bush Sage and the Madrensis. Wow! My Loquat is about to bloom, too. Happy GBBD!

  8. Lots of pretty colour and the map is cool. I love the coral honeysuckle and the roses.
    I recently ordered seeds for Mexican Mint Marigold after seeing it on so many southern garden blogs-so I hope it does well for me.

  9. Thanks for the map, Annie, I understand the lay-out of your garden much better now. And I found out your secret too: in Austin you don't have Autumn at all, you go from spring to very hot summer to spring to 1 or 2 weeks of winter and back to spring again. ;-)

    Your blue butterfly plant is still among my firm favourites and so is the Mexican Bush Sage!

  10. Great bloom day post Annie, it is nice seeing your garden plan and how the plants fit in your garden.

  11. Annie, that map was so cool! Thank you. Someday, I hope to see it all in person, but what a jam-packed November you're having. Amazing to see the garden spring back to life after such a devastating summer.~~Dee

  12. What a charming tour of your garden, Annie. Naturally, that gorgeous camellia, the Alabama state flower, holds a lot of nostalgia for me.

    I enjoyed seeing some of your unusual plants, many unfamiliar to me. But like one Chicago gardener joked "you can just spit on something down South and it'll grow ! "

    Thanks for showing us your beautiful garden.

  13. You have that pink cuphea/white mistflower combo I so loved in my old garden. I can't replicate it in my new garden (not enough space), so I'm glad I can enjoy it in yours. Also, what a good shot of that spider and the bee.

    I laughed over YE's spot-on characterization of Austin's seasons, didn't you?

  14. What a great way to tour your exploding-with-blooms gardens! I love your map. I can never capture the true pale pink color of my Purple Shamrock's flowers in a photo, either. I think my gaura bit the dust, but yours is lovely! Great photos, all.

  15. The map idea is great - it really helps visual where things are in your garden. (I may have to try that.) Your garden is just chock full of gorgeous goodies now, I wish I could smell the Osmanthus. I think my favorite this time is the Clerodendrum/Rotheca Uganda thingy. I love how it holds its cute little blooms.

  16. I love it when people manage to do same things differently. I have been doing GBBD for some time, though not very regularly, and had been a little bored displaying almost the same stuff time and again. This layout map idea has made your post interesting and the blooms so easy to visualize.

  17. Even though I've been fortunate enough to visit your garden many times, I really like the map feature. It really helps me imagine where things are growing...especially things that weren't in flower during my visits.

    Renee (@Reneesroots) gave me a Salvia madrensis last week but after seeing how huge yours is, I'm going to have to rethink where I plan to put it.

    Robin (@ Getting Grounded) promised to passalong a butterfly flower. Oh, they look so gorgeous! Just my favorite color of blue and a lovely shape of flower.

    The toadlily plant has leaves similar to the setcreasia and tradescantia. I wonder if they're related. I love it's exotic-looking flowers.

    What a lot of work you've gone through to bring us this GBBD post. It's wonderful!

  18. Annie, what a great way to help us visualize your garden! I'm still hoping for a chance to see it in person one day and "fix" it all in my mind!

  19. Your map drawing put me in mind of Gertrude Jekyll's garden plans. You have an amazing collection of blooms this month. From roses to toadflowers, what an array of blooms you have. The tall Salvias must be an impressive sight to see. Photographs never do flowers justice. It was wonderful to see the blue I love the bat-faced Cuphea and Gaura.

  20. Thank you for the tour, it was lovely! I can practically smell the sweet olive from here. :)

  21. Your garden is Paradise at the moment, Annie! I'm so happy for you. Exulting even :)
    I always want to comment on each and every lovely bloom, but it's late, and I'm about to turn into a pumkin, so I'll simply say what a wonderful tour this has been. I loved seeing the overall plan of your garden, and where each bed is situated. And I love the fact that your froth of pink Gaura looks exactly like the one I enjoyed this past summer. Seeing yours will prolong the memory of mine for me. I also love those blue butterfly flowers.
    Did I say "simply say"? I can't do it! :)
    Happy Bloom Day, Annie!

  22. I love the outline of your garden Annie. It really puts into perspective the garden shots you have presented. I love the spider photo. What a beautiful creature. If the REd Admiral likes your garden who is to say not?? Happy GBBD.

  23. Thanks for the tour Annie. I'm crazy about that toadlilly...where did you get it? You also reminded me that I forgot to count my Loquat blossoms on my list. And, lastly..please post your lemon-cranberry recipe...Thanksgiving is the same every year at my house...escept the cranberry...I do something different with that each year! Happy GBBD!

  24. Wow, Annie, I feel as though I've just gone on a Garden Walk! Thanks for this great tour through your garden. The Mexican bush sage and the lovely blue of the butterfly weed really caught my eye--wonder if they can be grown in Illinois? It's wonderful to see so much blooming in your garden after the scorching summer you had. Right now my garden is a soggy, brown mess:)

  25. Hi Chuck B- it was worth making the post just for your comment- thank you! The S madrensis acts like a true perennial, dying low to the ground in winter. It was amazing to see it get this big in one season.

    Thanks, Ilona - I'm glad you came.

    There's a little more green in the salvia- not sure I'd put them in a vase together, Lori, but they're fine in the border.

    I cleaned up a lot of the leaves pre-photos, Carol, and it's around 40°F this morning! Summer is over. The toadlily bloomed 2 weeks earlier in 2008- rain kicked it into bloom gear, I guess!

    That yellow overhead is the best Fall Color we get, Faire Frances! I first saw Bat-faced cuphea about 8 years ago in the garden of one of the Divas of the Dirt and wanted it immediately! Since they have big ears with tiny mouths they hear all but tell no tales.

    I'd thought of trying to make a map before - glad it worked for you, Tabor! I asked my husband to read the post - he used a FF app that gave him split screen with map on top, scrolled post underneath.

    Thanks, Diana -wasn't the timing great? We had Bloom Day first, and NOW comes the cold front.

    Good luck with the Mexican Mint Marigold, Nicole - never tried it from seed. The foliage smells so wonderful I'd grow it even if there were no flowers.

    I'm glad you liked the map,Yolanda Elizabet - I got tired of saying oddly-shaped or trapezoid lot. It's a weird shape and it needed a visual!
    I think you need a few more seasonal swings in that description... remember a couple of years where we were close to frost in late November, but the air-conditioner came on when it was time to bake Christmas cookies!

    Thanks, Phillip - I'm glad I made the post.

    The "someday" wish works in both directions, Dee of Red Dirt - would love to see your garden some day, too.

    Thanks, Carolyn Gail- I never saw a camellia until we moved here -my nostalgic moments come when Northern bloggers show peonies!

    Thanks everyone,


  26. Yes, I copied that combination, Pam/Digging! It sure makes the butterflies and bees happy.
    How can we get YE here to see Austin's seasons for herself?

    Most of the flowers are micro-explosions, Iris - you really do have to walk right up to the plants to see them.
    I wish I knew the right name for the pink gaura - found it on the plant outside an HEB in Feb 2007.

    That's just what I'd hoped, MMD - although Philo pointed out orientation should be added if I use the template again. Don't those blue Rotheca flowers look like tiny orchids? The only bad part is that it's zone 9 and sometimes my garden is Zone 8.

    Your comment made my day, Green Thumb! I'm glad the map worked for you ;-]

    Hi MSS of Zanthan Gardens- the fortune was mine to have you here.
    The Forsythia sage/Salvia madrensis is not only tied to the fence but also is leaning on an out of bloom plumeria in a container. If it makes it through the winter I have to come up with a better staking arrangement. Pam/Digging showed a Chicago Botanical Garden photo where the salvia stood up in full sun, but I don't have that!
    I hope you get a butterfly flower, too!
    Looks like tradescantia and setcreasea are in Commelinaceae while the Tricyrtis is in Liliaceae - know the terminology has changed but think of both as monocots.

    Thanks, Cindy from Katy - I also hope that you can make it up here one day!

    What a complement to be in the same sentence as Gertrude Jekyll, Kate Smudges! There's not enough structure yet, but there's evidence a plant collector lives here ;-]

    Hello Caroline - couldn't grow Sweet Olive in Illinois, and at our previous Austin house it could only grow in a deck pot. Having it planted here makes me gleeful.

    Thank you for that, Kerri - many of the flowers are almost done, so it was fun to have them all at once for GBBD. And your comment makes me glad I made the map - now when I see the Pink Gaura I'll think of you.
    We both stay up too late, don't we? But the ideas don't come until after 10 so what else can we do!

    With so many big trees on a small lot, the beds are sort of jammed in wherever there is sun, Lisa at Greenbow - it sounds as if the map idea worked the way I'd hoped! And thanks for liking the green spider ;-]

    Good to see you, ConsciousGardener. The toadlily was a passalong from a friend with family in East Texas. They grow in Illinois, Indiana & Iowa - this one barely survived summer!
    This 2006 post tells how to make the Meyer's lemon-cranberry relish... it's become an annual tradition!

    So glad you took the stroll, Prairie Rose! We still need more rain, but this fall has been gorgeous.

    I think some people grow the Salvia Leucantha/Mexican Bush sage as an annual in the north - I tried it myself in IL but was frozen before the bloom got going.
    The blue butterfly is Zone 9 - even with mulch I'll be lucky to keep it through winter. So neither plant is likely to make it in IL. On the other hand, you can have tulips, lilacs & peonies and I can't!

    Thanks everyone- Happy GBBD!


  27. Annie, the only thing cooler than seeing your beautiful blooms was to see the map and know where each of them live within your garden! (I LOVE that idea--I need to work on that for future posts, GBBD or otherwise.) By the way, it seems like your garden is not only mostly in flower, but that they're well-spread around. Great planning. :)

  28. Annie, seeing those lemons made my mouth water! I love the Duranta, I've never seen it before.

  29. You and your garden are both sighing in relief after this past summer. It's just lovely. I think we all need to produce maps like yours...I love it. But I think I want a hard copy to pull out each month!

  30. A beautifully planted garden! Great collection of flowers and a wonderful plan.

  31. Thank you for the plan~~it was fun to place the plants as we walked around the garden....and what a magnificent amount of bloom. No wonder Austin gardeners get re-energized in the fall...I am just from visiting. gail

  32. Truly, after such a tough summer - fall is definitely a season of redemption, isn't it? I'm so glad that you have had such a nice fall garden - that madrensis! Mine is in almost all shade now (I need to move it) - so it gets about 5' tall - yours is craziness! And I love (as always) your bat-faced Cuphea. I've been told that it's an annual here - and just about a month ago I saw it for the first time 'in the flesh' - there was a huge clump of it growing in front of a gardening center. It was incredible! It really does look like little bats - lots and lots of them!

  33. Thanks for the plan and explanation of where everything is! I am definitely going to do that, but I will use overhead shots, I think.

  34. I like the map idea very much. It was great to be able to "place" things in your garden.

    I enjoyed my tour and your flowers are beautiful. glad to see that things are recovering from the hot dry somewhat. However, I have to say my favorite picture was that beautiful green spider!

  35. Oooooooo, I love your loquat! Do you remember how tall she was when she finally first flowered? I have two i grew from seed. One is about 5' 6" now, and I baby it to death. I'm so hoping for flowers and fruits this winter! Do you think I have a chance?

  36. Hi Nicci,

    I'm not sure exactly what triggers the first flowers - it has to be more than age or size - maybe that in combination with sun and temperature?

    My large loquat was probably about 5-years old when it first made flowers - still in a large deck container at that point and with lots of sun. After that first bloom it has flowered every year in November-December, and the buds for the 2010 flowers are already visible.

    But a second loquat, also from seed and now about 5-years old, has been planted in the ground a few years. It's in semi-shade and has grown tall-at least 8-feet now- but never made buds.

    Good luck and hope that loquat blooms for you soon!



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