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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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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day for December 2010

It's time for the December GBBD -our traditional monthly roundup of what's in flower, started by MayDreams Carol almost four years ago. I took time off from baking and shopping to take a few pictures because December has been pretty nice here in Austin! The photos may show you how different the light is now with most pecan leaves down in back, and with the leaves of the Arizona ash trees in front now turning from green to gold. (Many of the photos will expand if clicked.)

Repeated light freezes have killed off many of the October and November flowers - the Blackfoot daisies and cosmos, the peppers and basil, the mistflowers and moonflowers, the evolvolus and Mexican Mint marigolds, the Blue Butterfly clerodendron, the tips and leaves of 'Pam's Pink' turkscap and all but two species of salvia are done. Most of the view seems green, brown and straw-colored. Annieinaustin,Back yard in December
The larger showy flowers are gone, but if you go in closer there are small delights scattered over front and back and side gardens. 'Marilyn's Choice' Abutilon lost a few flowers to freezes, but the plant has new buds developing

Annieinaustin, Marilyn's choice abutilonThe Camellia sasanqua 'Shishi Gashira' that was beginning to open a month ago is now reaching the end - but what a show it put on!
Annieinaustin,Camellia sasanqua shishi gashira
The pink camellia was a 1-gallon starter plant in 2005. Next to it is another camellia - a japonica called 'Morning Glow'. It's been in this container just over a year, bought November 2009 all budded and ready to go. 'Morning Glow' is budded again - today opening the first flower of 2010.
Annieinaustin, camellia morning glowAround the corner in the Secret Garden is the shrimp plant seen last month, with even more flowers. I tried to take a photo that would show you where the name came from:

Annieinaustin, Shrimp plantNow back to the patio where the Loquat still blooms against a blue sky
Annieinaustin, Loquat bloom in DecemberAnd the Pineapple sage has somehow remained unharmed and in bloom after at least 5 nights with temperatures well below 32°F. Annieinaustin, Salvia elegansThe summer flowers are gone from the hanging basket on the patio, along with the coir liner - picked to pieces by birds. To plant these black pansies, I had to improvise with plastic screening and old pieces of artificial pine garland. Annieinaustin, black pansies hanging basketThe Rosemary Birdbath Fountain has two Rosemarys blooming around it.. the upright which blooms whiteAnnieinaustin, Rosemary Birdbath FountainAnd the prostrate rosemary which blooms blueAnnieinaustin, blue rosemary flowersOne of the nearby patio containers has a 'Mutabilis' rose - not exactly in bloom, but definitely in budAnnieinaustin, mutabilis rosebud
In another nearby container a 'Provence' lavender defies the frosts with a few flowers, the tallest wand seen here with the triangle beds and long fence bed in the background. Annieinaustin, triangle & long fence bed in DecemberThe long fence bed has a few blooms - one bud on the 'Julia Child' roseAnnieinaustin, Julia Child rosebudAnd a trio of colorful blossoms closer to the gate: yellow Salvia madrensis, orange flowers on the fresh green-leaved Mexican Honeysuckle, and more orange from the cuphea, its leaves turned bronze with coldAnnieinaustin, madrensis,cuphea,justiciaA glance at the Tropical milkweed with blue plumbago at its feet Annieinaustin, Asclepias curasavicaand we're out the gate, walking over to the bright pink Gaura in full bloom and the pink skullcaps with a few flowers brightening the Pink Entrance Garden. Annieinaustin, pink gauraThe central butterfly bed in front is pretty quiet from the sidewalk side, right now - but from the house side it's very colorful Annieinaustin, birdbath with leonatusPurple creeping lantana and a few unfrozen Blackfoot daisies combine well with the finally-in-bloom Lion's Tail plant. Here's a closer look at the flowers- it's only marginal in my far NW Austin area so each look may be the last! Annieinaustin, lion's tail plantLet's go to the front door - a couple of plants have flowers inside, too. I've had four plants of Schlumbergera/Holiday cactus for quite awhile. This year the peachy pink one is already in bloom near the dining room window. Two more plants in other colors are budded but the fourth plant is having an off-year. This window gets some light... but no real sun.

Five florist Cyclamen look quite content in a brass planter on the tabletop. Annieinaustin, cyclamen & holiday cactus
The breakfast room window gets the strongest sun so it's jammed full of overwintering plants. The four-year-old 'Fantasia Salmon' geranium blooms next to a 'Black Pearl' pepper popped out of the triangle bed before the first frost a couple of weeks ago. Annieinaustin, salmon geranium w Black Pearl pepperMother of Thousands, a plant in the Kalanchoe family, grows in pots on the patio for summer. The bigger plants often freeze and die but a few babies live over to keep the strain going. If a plant has buds it gets a space inside before the first frost Here's this year's winner of the Bay Window lottery. Annieinaustin, Bryophyllum daigremontianum

Carol's post and links to many garden blogs is found here at the May Dreams garden Blog.

Better get back to baking... some day the complete list of what's in bloom (with botanical names) will appear on Annie's Addendum. Hope your December is going well!

Edited Dec 19 - List of all in bloom in December is up on Annie's Addendum.


  1. What a pretty group of blooms, Annie! And thanks for reminding of those purple/black pansies I love so much: I had them last year but have been so focused on the vegetable garden that I haven't yet bought any. Tomorrow...

  2. Pretty pics. I love your pink camellia and your birdbath fountain.

  3. I'm amazed that your Salvia madrensis is still blooming. Mine got blasted in the first freeze, weeks ago. My orange cuphea took a hit too, but the pink one you gave me is still flowering. The Radrazz Knock Outs, a few Turk's caps, pineapple sage, Salvia mexicana, and even some 'Diamond Frost' euphorbia are blooming in my garden, though I didn't get around to making a Bloom Day post.

  4. You have many lovely blooms for the middle of December. I'm still waiting for my loquat to bloom, but it's a young tree. Perhaps it's just not ready yet.

    Joyous holidays and a happy New Year to you and yours!

  5. Hi Iris! I saw the black pansies at Natural Gardener & had zero resistance to them.

    Thanks for commenting, Mac from Australia- the birdbath fountain was added as a memorial to my mother. It's been a total delight in our garden.

    I put a division of the Salvia madrensis in front this spring, Pam/Digging, and only the yellow bracts survived the frosts up there. In back the fence, a Cenizo and a dwarf Greek myrtle make a sort of cove, giving the madrensis-cuphea-justicia trio more protection.
    But my lovely Diamond Frost euphorbia was more exposed - one of the first to freeze!

    Thanks for the visit and holiday wishes, Birdwoman may your days be merry and bright!


  6. I'm happy you took off from baking to show us your blooms. I've got "snow flowers" in my garden, yep, nothing but snow and we got some more today. Looks like it will be a white Christmas in Indianapolis this year since it doesn't appear that we'll be above freezing anytime soon!

  7. Your blooms look incredible to me Annie. I am sitting here looking out at a world covered with ice and snow. Booo. Love seeing all your bloomers.

  8. The quantity of blooming things in your December garden is astonishing! I love that abutilon -- used to have one like it until I moved.

  9. Ah, roses and camellias--so delightful to see these on this cold December day. Your garden looks full of blooms to me, Annie. As Carol and Lisa said, we're living in a world of white right now.

  10. Like the look of the Cyclamens in the brass planter; I think that's a great idea.

  11. I also love that fountain. So many pretty things - the brugmansia, the salvia, the camellias. That first camellia was named a Louisiana Super Plant this fall.

    By the way, thanks for the link to R Bell. Indeed, we are both growing the same thing! I bought that plant at Barton Springs Nursery, which is probably why only an Austin blogger would have it!

  12. There are lots of lovely blooms at Circus-Cercis for December. I'm envious of your Camellia blooms. I can only assume that mine didn't get enough water in the last few months: all the buds shriveled up and turned brown!

  13. Sheesh,
    It looks like springtime in your garden. Your camellias are almost done and mine haven't even started yet. You certainly can't see a lot of damage from the frost.
    What is your day time temp?

  14. A merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and garden fun filled 2011 to you and yours!

    Your garden is so full of blooms, chez Bliss there are none at the moment. We are experiencing a cold spell with an enormous amount of snow and weeks of frost during the night and day. So if I have blooms they are hidden by snow.

    Of course inside is a different story altogether as my conservatory is filled with orchids in flower.

    Love your pretty Cyclamen, they are fab!


  15. C'mon Annie/Kathy, I am waiting for your holiday song. Happy new year!

  16. Wow - comparing your pics to my mid-December garden (I didn't post for GBBD however) makes me realize how cold our December was - we lost most things early in the month. I think I read somewhere this week that in the month of December we have already had the average number of days below freezing that we usually have for the entire winter!

    I love your 'Marilyn's Choice' Abutilon and I've always admire the orange Lions Tail - what a treat to have them both blooming in mid-December!

    Best wishes for a Happy New Year! (And may your winter be a mild one!)

  17. I'm finally catching up on some Bloom Day post...and I'm glad I came by! I see once again so many similarities in our climates although you definitely seem to have more frosts. I hope you had a joyful holiday season...best wishes for a great 2011!

  18. I'm so glad I stopped by today and could enjoy some beautiful flowers. As I was looking through your photographs, I couldn't help but think of the Abutilon, the Plumbago and the Pineapple Sage residing in pots on my front porch and covered in snow. It's comforting to think that the plants can survive year round somewhere. I loved seemed the Camellias. They are just gorgeous.

  19. I've thought of you often during the holiday season, Annie, and how you must have blooms while our gardens here in the northeast are sleeping under the snow.
    It's lovely to see your spots of color. Those black pansies are so pretty, and I see the gaura 'butterflies' were still dancing in December.
    The brass planter full of Cyclamens is gorgeous!
    I hope you and your family had a very happy Christmas celebration and that your garden will fare well during the Austin winter, dear gardening friend.


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