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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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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Bloom Day & Genealogy

WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?? Annieinaustin,last purple clematis
Maybe you recognized that line as a riff on the recent family history series "Who Do You Think You Are?" It was fun to see Twitter-friend Megan Smolenyak on the show, helping celebrities find out answers to mysteries of their family's past. My time and brain cells have been devoted more to genealogy than to gardening lately - and until last night's blessed 2-inches of rain fell, the gardening mostly consisted of watering.
Annieinaustin, old group photoSomehow old records suddenly appeared, solving some puzzles while sprinkling new question marks all over the charts.

Some of the findings are fun: A previously unknown great-grand-aunt appeared out of thin air on the Zoelle branch! Researching this name has produced such variations as Zolle, Zolla, Zoller, Zello, Seller & Colley.

Some of the findings are disturbing: so many death certificates had forms of tuberculosis as the cause of death that I started reading about its effects on Chicago in the late 1800's-early 1900's. Now I'm feeling emotionally overwhelmed with sympathy for my poor immigrant ancestors, many of them born before TB was recognized as infectious rather than an inherited tendency. Logic and reason remind me this happened so long ago that they'd all be dead by now... even without consumption to carry them off...how is it possible to mourn for and with people you never knew?

Enough of Family Trees for now! It's Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, begun by May Dreams Carol. Even in that relationship genealogy comes into play... I first found Carol in a web search- not through her garden blog, but at her Grandmother's Diary.

In other months my GBBD posts may feature plants that will only grow where winters are comparatively mild - Texas mountain laurel, Carolina jessamine, White ginger or bluebonnets.Annieinaustin, yellow and blue borderBut sometimes a vignette like this one looks quite similar to some place 1200 miles away and a dozen years ago.

This little reblooming daylily, a recross of 'Stella d'Oro' called 'Vi's Apricot', used to flower in Illinois -
Annieinaustin,apricot daylilyBut it bloomed in July rather than May, and never at the feet of a 'Meyer's Improved' lemon tree! Annieinaustin, daylily with lemon
Tomato blossoms are beautiful no matter where or when they bloom.
Annieinaustin,tomato blossoms
Calibrachoa and green beans are pretty universal, aren't they? Annieinaustin, Millionbells

The so-called Ditch Lily (Hemerocallis fulva) really did grow in roadside drainage ditches in Illinois. It was so common that I didn't bother to bring a piece with me to Texas. It's been nearly 11 years since I saw one blooming but thanks to Good and Evil Lori this Wisconsin-born orange daylily opened flowers today. Annieinaustin, ditch lily
And thanks to the inspiration of MSS of Zanthan Gardens, the daylilies opened with a cloud of 'Royal Wedding' sweet peas above them Annieinaustin, orange daylily with white sweet peas

In Illinois the yellow rose would have been 'Graham Thomas' instead of 'Julia Child', the pine was a dwarf Mugho Pine instead of an Italian Stone Pine and the pale purple bells of Mexican Oregano would never survive winter, but the vine in the background would be the same -a Clematis 'Ramona' eventually shows up in all my gardens, no matter where we live.Annieinaustin, julia child rose with Poliomintha

So does the light yellow daylily, Hemerocallis 'Happy Returns' - here with other old favorites blue larkspur, yarrow Achillea 'Moonshine', yellow snapdragons and Salvia farinacea. The main difference in this scene versus one in Illinois is that the rocks are free in Texas! Annieinaustin, larkspur with Happy Returns daylily

If I see a beloved plant from the past on the distressed/sale table there's a good chance I'll try to grow it here. This Oakleaf Hydrangea followed me home from Countryside Nursery last winter

Annieinaustin, Oakleaf Hydrangea

But before anyone calls the Reality Police and tells them to stage an intervention, here is proof that I really do know where I am. This is Austin, Texas, where Salvia 'Black & Blue' grows like a weedAnnieianaustin, Black and Blue salvia

Where exotic fruits like Pineapple Guava are used as garden shrubs
Annieianaustin pineapple guava flowers

And tender fruit trees like 'Wonderful' Pomegranate live through the winter and bloomAnnieinaustin, pomegranate flower

Where 'Celeste' figs grow uncovered and unprotected as landscape elements
Annieinaustin, little figs
Where a fragrant double yellow Oleander from Plant Delights Annieinaustin, yellow oleander
Combines with fragrant white Confederate jasmine Annieinaustin, Star jasmine

And a fragrant white 'Little Gem' magnolia to scent the air and make one feel like a superannuated Scarlet O'HaraAnnieinaustin, Little gem magnolia flower

Austin is a place where odd lilies like Eucomis copy pineapples Annieinaustin, pineapple lily
A Justicia pretends to be a ShrimpAnnieinaustin,shrimp plant

And Cuphea llaevea mimics a Bat's faceAnnieinaustin,batface cuphea

Where Pam's passalong Aloe can survive hail and cold in the shelter of a holly tree to bloom in the shadeAnnieinaustin,aloe bloom

Where wildflowers like Texas Paintbrush can be picked up at local nurseries to grow as container plants on the patio (last year's plants even seeded in the front lawn!)Annieinaustin, Texas Paintbrush
And where the tender Rosa Mutabilis that I once sighed over in out-of-zone gardening books elbows out every other plant in the front borderAnnieinaustin, mutabilis rose
Here's one more look at the 'Royal Wedding' Sweet peas, caught a few days ago as the sun came through their petals in early morning light. The seeds came from the Natural Gardener - a little gift when we bought our second rainbarrel last winter.
Annieinaustin,Sweet peas

Happy Blooming Day! Celebrate by checking out the gardens linked to the GBBD post at May Dreams Gardens. Soon I'll get a list together of everything in bloom with botanical names at Annie's Addendum.

(The GBBD List is now up)

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Garden Blogger's Muse Day for May 2010

Annieinaustin, white flowered tradescantiaThat is May, the month I love the most, and when my turn comes to make the world, as surely it will, I shall make make my May ninety days long. December, January, and February shall be allotted ten hours each; I have not finalized my plans for the other months, but none of them shall exceed May.

Jamaica Kincaid in MY GARDEN (BOOK):

I've been rereading Jamaica Kincaid's book and read the above quote yesterday. I still like the words, but the desire for May ran stronger when I lived in a northern city.... here the month to wish for might be April - or even November! Annieinaustin, Purple clematis
Another quote from this book works wherever one lives:

I have really learned this as a gardener: listen to everyone and then grow the things you love. I have learned as much through my own conceitedness and from my own mistakes as I have from all the great gardeners I have met.
Annieinaustin, Climbing Iceberg Rose w Siberian IrisThis month, this May - Jamaica- you are my Muse!

Happy May Day, Lei Day, Derby Day and Happy Muse Day at Carolyn's Sweet Home & Garden Chicago blog.