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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, November 22, 2009

Successful Shopping Saturday at the Natural Gardener

Can you believe that Philo & I went to the Natural Gardener yesterday and came home without one single plant or bulb? Here's how it started - around 2006 I planted a rooted cutting of a passalong corkscrew willow into a big patio container, placing it under the metal trough that directs rainwater off the roof and tucking in a few starts of umbrella plant. Annieinaustin,Corkscrew WillowThe rain fell, the tree grew and the Cyperis alternifolia thrived so I added an amarcrinum bulb filched from one of the borders and some passalong Agapanthus from Pam/Digging. Eventually the combination was so successful we could barely squeeze past the pot to cross the patio.
Annieinaustin,summerkilled willowThen came the summer of 2009 - and the willow died. (Don't worry - I have another rooted cutting and MSS of Zanthan Gardens has one, too.) I'll miss the willow but was glad to have a chance to get rid of that huge pot! I dollied it out to an empty corner of the vegetable plot - soon it will be upended and the Umbrella Plants, Amarcrinum and Agapanthus will be separated to find new homes somewhere else in the garden.

Annieinaustin, roof rain troughWith the pot gone I could try a new idea for the space. Some normal rains have returned to Austin. I set a garden tote under the trough and watched what happened, finding out that even a light rain - say 1/4 of an inch - was enough to fill the 10 gallon tote to overflowing. Our house is small and the patio is essential space. We drove to the Natural Gardener yesterday and came home with a rainbarrel that could catch that runoff & save the rainwater for the patio plants while looking good in our Outdoor Living Room. This house was made without the usual gutter-and-downspout design, but I think the shape of this Cascata Rainbarrel will work!
Annieinaustin, Cascata RainbarrelCan I make May Dreams Carol jealous with my hoe story? I'd admired the Diamond hoe used by my Divas of the Dirt friend Mindy to cut off grass and weeds at ground level. Here's the hoe at work during the Divas' February project.

Annieinaustin, Mindy's Diamond HoeIn September the Divas had redone my parkway - replacing mostly dead turf with waterwise plants. Then the rains arrived, sprouting a million seeds of upturned annual ryegrass. To avoid sitting in the street to weed, I need a Diamond Hoe, too!
Annieinaustin, parkway plantingThe hoes were out of stock last time I visited the store - but this one was waiting for me yesterday...

Annieinaustin, Corona Diamond hoeWe bought one more non-plant addition to the garden yesterday - it wouldn't fit inside, but two ingenious guys at the Natural Gardener figured out how to attach it to the car roof.

I've looked at these trellises a dozen times, knowing exactly the spot along the NE fence where we could put on someday.

Annieinaustin, wire fan trellisSomeday was Yesterday.


  1. Annie, what a great day at the nursery! I love that rain barrel, and it looks lovely on your porch. What are you planting on the new trellis?

  2. Despite not bringing home any plants or bulbs you managed to bring home some wonderful stuff. I am sure Carol will be green with envy when she sees your hoe. I just love those big fan shaped trellises. The big rain catcher is quite pretty for your patio. I hope it works out "well" for you.

  3. Annie! That hoe is at the top of my "want" list, one of the few I don't have. You know I am all shades of green with envy, over not only that hoe, but that beautiful rain barrel and the trellis, too!

    I'm hoping for a "diamond" as in "diamond hoe" under my Christmas tree this year!

    I wish I could come down there and play with yours in the mean time.

  4. I keepforgetting to get and USE a hoe. I am always down on my hands and knees. Some grasses have sprouted beneath the newly moved crepe myrtle, so I will have to use it for that

  5. Lovely! Lovely! Lovely!

    I've like those rainbarrels at the Natural Gardener for some time but they were too pricey for my budget. Is it odd that I feel happy that YOU got them. Just knowing someone acquired something I admired gives me a strange satisfaction--maybe because I know I can visit it.

    The trellis is also wonderful. It's a great shape.

  6. Your rainbarrel is wonderful, Annie. I think the hoe is very practical considering how some people zoom down residential streets--it's just not safe to try to weed on the curb. I have jealous trellis syndrome! I have been looking, but haven't had the $$$ to actually take one home yet. I love the shape of the one you chose. You showed a lot of constraint to come home without any plant purchases!

  7. I really like the rain barrel. I would like to have one but we can't figure out where to put it. We do not have gutters and all of the real estate around the perimeter of the house seems to be taken. I like the trellis too, very pretty!

  8. May I compliment you on your excellent taste in rainbarrels? (I have one just like it.) The trellis is beautiful too. Good haul!

  9. Practical AND pretty purchases are always something to be happy about. We have no gutters either at our new-old house, and it drives me crazy to see that water pour off the roof and not be collected in rain barrels. One day we'll add gutters, and then I'll be fantasizing about adding a gigantic cistern like Bob at Draco Garden or Vicki at Playin' Outside have.

  10. Hi Robin Get Grounded thank you! The rainbarrel is on the patio a few feet from the table. I'm trying a Mexican Flame vine bought from the Master Gardeners at the Inside Austin tour.

    There was an even bigger fan trellis for sale, Lisa at Greenbow - so wide it would need to be carried on edge in a pickup. You would love it!

    It was a day to quit talking and do something, May Dreams Carol - timing was right. Feel free to come and play with any hoe you fancy!

    The Cobrahead works great for beds in back, Tabor, but some previous owner seeded ryegrass in the front. Good luck hoeing under the crepe myrtle.

    Thank you, MSS of Zanthan Gardens. I was very glad someone made a graceful rainbarrel that fit in with the terracotta containers on the patio. It was pricey, but if we gardeners don't buy good design, the companies won't be around to sell it!

    Same thing with the trellis - after 5 years of eyebolts and garden twine on the fence a real trellis was overdue ;-]

    You are so right, Morning Glories - it sure didn't feel safe to weed out there the couple of times I'd tried it. When several Divas of the Dirt worked on it we were a visible crew but me alone felt like a target!

    The original builders of this house sure never had rainbarrels in mind, Phillip - and a willow had to die before we had some blank real estate!

    Yes, you may! We drilled holes in the flat, wide Crown, Mr McGregor's Daughter, now fingers crossed it can catch as much rain as possible.

    Hi there Pam/Digging - your comment came in just before I hit publish. Our only gutter is over the veranda. We made a seep garden to catch rain from one downspout, and this summer tucked another Cascata (in the stucco color) into the shrubs next to the steps. Good luck with fitting a water tank in - Vicki's is great but her side yard is huge.

    Thanks for the comments,


  11. That's the best looking rain barrel I've ever seen--how exciting! The trellis is so beautiful, I wouldn't even want any plants to cover it up. Fun weekend trip!

  12. Annie, I don't think I could be more excited for a gardener's successful shopping trip then if it were my own! I love the rain barrel and the trellis is perfect. You do know that you've thrown down the hoe gauntlet! gail

  13. I think you had a very successful shopping trip, even without plants, Annie! I'm envious of that rain barrel, and it looks great on your patio. That ought to come in handy during the next dry spell. I'm not a hoe collector like Carol, but I do like that trellis.

  14. Great purchases Annie!

    After seeing this "designed" rain water collection barrel, if you can call it a barrel, I looked shamefully at my "everything but the kitchen sink" ""system"" and pondered how nice one or two of these would look. It really is a great looking shape, much nicer than an assortment of odd pots and pans! The side of my house where I collect water looks like a gypsy camp at this point.

    Interested...how much water can it hold? Can you daisy-chain a few together?


  15. You and Philo had an excellent shopping adventure at the Natural Gardener, Annie :)
    The rainbarrel shape and color are really lovely, and your trellis is a beauty. I'm curious about what you're going to plant by it.
    I like that handy hoe too. I'm always down on my hands and knees, or sitting on my Garden Hopper to weed, but standing upright and using that hoe seems like a practical idea. I might just add one to my wish list.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and Philo!

  16. After losing a few plants to Katrina, now having a plant die (or get crushed), I have the attitude that this give me the opportunity to do something new. Glad to see you were able to do the same after the willow died.

    Always Growing

  17. I love it! Went to a nursery & didn't get plants.

    You did good! I love the classy rain barrel, trellis, and hoe. Getting "stuff" is so much fun. Your plants will appreciate your latest finds, too.

  18. That's the nicest looking rain container I've seen yet, and I've seen a lot.

    There is a company in Burnet that makes plastic cisterns. I researched them before finding my good deal on the ones that I bought. They make a couple sizes of rain water catchments that are quite attractive. The containers have a finish on them that looks like sandstone and come in a couple of colors. It makes them look like stone or stucco. Tell MSS to check on them before she buys any thing. They seemed reasonably priced at the time.

    On another note, I have heard two stories lately about people in Colorado, having charges pressed against them for collecting rain water. It seems weird but that's what I heard.

  19. Annie, I love the new rain barrel. I've got one of the big green ones from Gardener's Supply that has yet to be hooked up to my downspout. I think I've procrastinated because it's just so danged ugly!

    You say they have an even bigger version of that trellis? Hmmmm ... I've got a garage wall that's been crying out for something to be hung on it!

  20. Dagnabit, I love that rain barrel, but it's sooo expensive! Nice job...it is lovely on your patio.

  21. Annie, I just took a little of the curry sauce and put the leaves in a blender and pureed it all. Having sliced kaffir limes on the side would have been nice, but I only had one lime left and it was a bit faded! Hubby does use it in his iced tea. I hope to have more limes inthe future as the tree grows.

  22. What fun purchases! I've been eyeing a rainbarrel too (humorously enough, it would be for the end of the Airstream's awning - the awning collects water and I use a hoe to push up on the awning to get the water to run off one end - or the other - and should be collecting it). The trellis is a beauty!

  23. I bought 3 of those same trellis this past spring! I had to have them delivered. But they're so pretty.

    We went to Natural Gardener Sunday. I bought a Pomegranate tree to be delivered today. I am thinking of going back for one of the little gingkos and putting it in a pot and treating it like Bonsai.

    I love your rain barrel!

  24. I planted a Mexican Flame vine on the trellis, Iris...your comment reminded me the trellis will look good even if the vine doesn't grow ;-]

    Thank you Gail - it was fun to quit dithering, actually decide on something and buy it! No chance of a hoedown with Carol -she's already asked Santa for a Diamond hoe, and apparently has been a very good girl.

    Sixty-five gallons won't do much for the yard, Prairie Rose, but it can supply non-chlorinated water for the container plants - a real plus!

    Hello ESP - until we bought the Cascatas my system was the red tote and two buckets so I know what you mean! It holds 65 gallons and there's an overflow at back that could probably be used to link them together.

    I have a wooden vase that's this shape, Kerri - think it's rather classic?
    Maybe there should be a Hoe Report once I've used it for awhile!
    Everyone should read your Thanksgiving Post!

    The willow was also an attempt to use the drip, Jan/Always Growing, but the only healthy willows I've seen around here had their roots at the edge of a pond. Now it can be remembered as a short-lived experimental prototype leading to the rain barrel!

    It was fun, Linda from CTG. We've bought Christmas gifts at local nurseries, too - maybe "Went to ___ nursery & didn't get plants" could be a fill-in-the-blank bumper sticker.

    Some Colorado bloggers posted about the water laws a few years ago, Bob. Sure is different from places like Austin where local government encourages barrels.
    Those sandstone containers sound pretty cool!

    Oh, Cindy from Katy - you'd love the really big trellis and maybe would feel like hooking up the rain barrel ;-]
    I'm always seeing suggestions to put barrels or compost bins in "out-of-the-way" places or "unused parts" of the lot.
    There's no such thing here! With its size, shape, and slanted fences, my garden is more like a stage- no where to hide!

    It wasn't exactly cheap, Conscious Gardener, (although the day we were there it was 20% off) but it was a reasonable fix that could actually happen in real time.

    Thanks Tabor - Philo loves green curry sauce - adding the kaffir leaves should make salmon special!

    Isn't there some kind of vintage barrel sold as an Airstream Accessory, Pam in SC? It's a lifestyle! Now wondering if Carol ever thought of this use for a hoe ;-]

    Hi Mandy - three trellises must look spectacular! Did you leave them plain or add vines?

    I've never grown a ginkgo but always admired the leaves. Good luck with the pomegranate - mine is growing but made no fruit yet.

    Thanks for the comments,


  25. It is definitely the season for shopping and for gifts. Garden gifts for oneself are the best. :) ~~Dee


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