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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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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Squirrels and Amarcrinum

It's not supposed to be over 100°F every day in June, but that's happening in Austin in 2009. The heat may be on, but these weirdly fragrant Amarcrinum still opened, probably because they were given one of the best sites in our yard, a smidge of the only border that offers morning sun with afternoon shade. You can grow almost anything with that exposure - even in Texas - but most of our lot gives us the reverse - shade in the morning turning to baking, parching, frying afternoon sun.

We woke this morning to the sound of little paws skittering madly across the roof, and all day long the trees have been full of chattering, sex-crazed squirrels. While on my way to the garden shed I startled this busy pair and was able to snap a photo because Kerri taught me that a blogger never leaves the house without a camera. The image is so clinical that I'm not sure whether to thank her or blame her for this post!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, June 2009

Welcome to Garden Blogger Bloom Day the monthly Floral Circus presided over by May Dreams Carol. Guess it's time to take a break from writing about what the Divas of the Dirt have been up to lately and write about what's in bloom at Circus~Cercis. Holding our GBBD meetings on the 15th of the month didn't work out for a few flowers - the White Delphinium ignored the calendar and bloomed for two weeks around the 1st of the month.

You missed 'Best of Friends' when it was at its prettiest - this photo is from May 24th. This pretty passalong daylily from Pam/Digging still opens flowers, but when temperatures graze 100°F every day, the flower color is paler.
You totally missed my new 'Devonshire' daylily bought at the Austin Hemerocallis Show and Sale. It had three stalks, each with lots of buds but they finished last week.

You've arrived just in time for the native Flame Acanthus blooming near the front door - another passalong from Pam/Digging.
At the end of the veranda these Blue Balloonflowers don't look too stressed yet... this is Platycodon grandiflora, carried to Texas from Illinois as tiny seedlings.
Cross the drive to the Pink Entrance Bed and see the first Coneflowers of the year- these are Echinacea 'Purple Stars', with natives pink gaura, Red yucca and pink skullcap, Mexican oregano, white trailing lantana, more balloonflowers and...one of the purple larkspurs which usually reseed in spring. In April 2008 they bloomed at 6' tall - this year only a few larkspur sprouted to bloom now.
In this border the Balloonflowers are Platycodon 'Miss Tilly'
Let's go see what's blooming inside the fence now - tropical milkweed in orange

It took the 'Acoma' crepe myrtles three years to reach the level of the fence - they look established now! That's a plumeria at left - no flowers but it has buds.
Down at ground level near the right crepe myrtle these passalong crocsmia from blogger MarthaChick are also in bud, rather than bloom. I let at least one of the wild sunflowers grow every summer on the edge of the vegetable garden. It doesn't seem to bother the tomatoes and peppers growing in the little garden behind it and shouldn't sunflower seeds for goldfinches count as a crop? .

The tomato crop isn't large but there are lots of 'Juliet' grape tomatoes and enough 'Early Girls' and 'Carmellos' so that one is ripe in time for dinner every day. I didn't plant the pattypan - it's one of those lasagna-composting bonuses from a chunk of squash added last fall. We've had two so far. The native coral honeysuckle has recovered from pruning and had begun a new bloom cycle.

Look at the shape of those flowers - no wonder the hummingbirds visit them.
The hummingbirds like the Salvia coccinea in the center of the back yard, too - that blur is a hummingbird and that lavender flower in the corner is another confused larkspur.
Sometimes the best color in an Austin heatwave is no color at all... it's White 'Fuji' balloonflowers and white coneflowers with silver gray Lambs Ears, a passalong from my friend Carole.
The color can be a surprise White Calla lily from a clump that hasn't bloomed in a few yearsIt's the White of the fragrant white abelia and the fluffy white crepe myrtles.

But my favorite is still White sails of the Blue River II Hibiscus, another plant carried from Illinois

The hibiscus reminds me of something else that slipped by in the last couple of weeks - my first blog post on June 7, 2006 was about them. These past three years of blogging have been great fun - thanks to all of you, especially MSS of Zanthan Gardens and Pam/Digging, the first garden bloggers I met and my inspirations from the beginning.

Carol will have links to all the GBBD participants and as usual, the list of all plants in bloom with my closest guesses at their proper botanical names can be found at Annie's Addendum.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Imagining Dad In the Garden

Annieinaustin, Blue River HibiscusIt's a dozen years since my dad died but he was with me in imagination as I mowed and wandered around the garden today. He loved our Illinois garden and if he were here he'd recognize these first 10" blooms as the Blue River II Hibiscus. Annieinaustin,hemerocallis citrinaDad would know the Citrina daylily. A neighbor shared it with me in 1978 and it's bloomed in four of our gardens. Annieinaustin, purple calibrachoaDad disliked purple clothes but liked purple flowers so this basket of Calibrachoa might get a nod of approval. Even if the visit is imaginary I'd better do something about the tree saplings sprouting in every shrub and flower bed. That was one of Dad's pet peeves. Get that pecan out of the hydrangea! There'd be no excuse for not weeding once Dad saw the Cobrahead tool Anneliese sent me for winning a contest on the Cobrahead blog. And he he might be amused that the winning plant ID was Horseradish, something he grew near his picnic table. Annieinaustin, praying mantisIf we were lucky we could catch a glimpse of the small Praying Mantis hanging upside down on the Meyer's Lemon. Annieinaustin, Carmello tomato We could taste the first 'Carmello' tomato - a new one this year. Under bird netting some 'Early Girl' tomatoes are coming along and so are a cluster of 'Costoluto Genovese'. Annieinaustin, Costoluto genoveseWith so few tomatoes we'd have to use canned tomatoes for spaghetti sauce. In my mind I hear him say, "getting a little heavy handed with the oregano, aren't you, missy?" He'd be okay with lots of basil, I think...not being Italian never stopped my dad from cooking old-time Chicago Italian dishes - pounding round steak thin, rolling, filling and tying it to make Brachiole in red sauce. With maybe some zucchini sliced, dipped & fried in olive oil on the side.

I can't even imagine what kind of conversation we could have about the non-garden world - my father was a pipefitter at a Fisher Body plant, the division of GM that made car bodies. Every news broadcast this week has made me wonder how my parents would have felt about the whole thing.

What would he think about part of his family living in Texas?Annieinaustin, soldiers in New Guinea, WW2Dad learned to hate Texas weather when stationed here on manouvers prior to shipping out for 3 years in New Guinea during World War II.

Forty years later he learned to dislike Texas highways and their primitive rest stops when he & Mom drove IH35 all the way through Texas to San Antonio one hot September. But like most guys - once he got to the reunion of old army buddies, he had a great time.
Miss you, dad!