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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, August 15, 2010

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, August 2010

It's 100°F every day and there has been only a splash of rain in my neighborhood. The mosquitoes are horrid. The salvias are sulking. Barely a leaf can be found whole, due to outrageous numbers of caterpillars and other leaf-eating insects. My main goal is to run out, cut back, deadhead, mow, water enough to keep the garden alive and run back in until fall. August is a good month for genealogy inside.

But it's still better than August 2009, such a depressing month that I skipped GBBD altogether, and later regretted having that gap in my records. Carol of May Dreams Gardens, founder of GBBD, had a good idea, to keep track of what happens each month, no matter what the weather!

Some plants have died, some are doing fine and one new flower opened. A few stalwart plants keep chugging along through heat with no rain - others are in part shade and are watered regularly. Here is the list with botanical names and a few photos.

Abelia chinensis/Abelia, four white shrubs light bloom

Abelia chinensis two unnamed pink shrubs light bloom

Abelia chinensis 'Edward Goucher' smaller pink shrub in some shade - pretty good bloom

Abutilon hybridum 'Patrick's' - in a container in the Secret Garden. The flowers are small & hang down...they are not showy - but when the sun comes through it's easy to see why so many Austin gardeners are falling for Parlour Maples.

Allium tuberosum, Garlic chives has buds but not flowers

Amarcrinum ‘Fred Howard’ The bulb that flowered for July's bloom day is in a very sunny hot place with reflected sun... that plant looks terrible! The bulb that is blooming today, seen below, is in part shade in the pink garden. Even with some shade the flowers don't last long in this heat.

Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii, Flame acanthus from Pam/Digging doing really well

Asclepias curassavica, tropical milkweed, couple of plants with lots of flowers. They seeded themselves right next to the sidewalk, blocking traffic but looking colorful.

Asclepias curassavica 'Silky Gold' gold cultivar of tropical milkweed in light bloom

Buddleja lindleyana/ Weeping butterfly bush, some flowers remaining on branch tips

Calibrachoa hybrids, two surviving plants - just a couple of flowers

Canna americanallis 'Bengal Tiger' syn 'Praetoria' two flower stalks

Capsicum annuum – garden peppers - a few flowers and some hot peppers

Catharanthus roseus - annual vinca- one surviving plant.

Castilleja indivisa, Texas paintbrush, grown as annual - one flower hanging on

Clerodendrum ugandense – Blue butterfly flower. Original plant is finally thinking about making buds. The one in a patio container, bought in June from It's About Thyme is enormous & in constant bloom

Clitoria ternatea- the annual Blue Butterfly Pea, flowering on the obelisk

Conoclinium greggii, Gregg’s Mistflower - Just a few flowers, because I haven't watered it enough

Cosmos sulphureus flowers, many buds and seedheads attracting birds

Cuphea ignea, orange Cigar flower, a fair amount of small orange flowers

Cuphea llavea – small pink & lavender form -a few flowers

Cuphea llavea –red & purple ‘Batfaced’- two plants blooming just fine

Datura unkn sp - seeded in patio container - a bud and seedheads

Dicliptera suberecta Uraguayan firecracker plant - new small plant with some flowers

Echinacea purpurea ‘Purple Stars - one remaining flower - many seedheads. Leaves awful.

Euphorbia 'Diamond Frost' two plants in flower.

Evolvulus glomeratus, Blue Daze, one survivor in a patio container

Gaura lindheimerii, unknown tall rose-pink variety (‘Pink Cloud’?), just a few flowers but there are none on the white gaura, usually quite tough

Hedychium coronarium/ Hawaiian White Ginger - there were a few flowers last week -that's when I took the photo below. Now there are no flowers but a few buds are swelling

Helianthus, three tall annual sunflowers, looking like some species of bizarre leafless tree since the Bordered Patch caterpillars devoured the leaves. At the ends of the bare branches flowers, buds and seed heads attract so many birds that when I look out the window the 10-foot plants appear to be dipping and waving as the birds land and depart. This photo was taken by my son

Hemerocallis fulva – Ditch daylily from Lori one bud left to open

Hibiscus moscheutos ‘Blue River II’, a few huge white flowers each day

Hibiscus syriacus/Rose of Sharon, a few flowers every day

Impatiens walleriana, bedding impatiens. couple of plants in container are blooming

Indigofera amblyantha? /pink false indigo - has a few wands of pink flowers

Ipomoea alba, Moon flower vine, just starting to make buds

Ipomoea quamoclit, Cypress vine, reseeding annual many flowers

Jasminium sambac, Sambac jasmine non-stop

Justicia spicigera/ Mexican Honeysuckle some flowers

Lagerstroemia indica, hot pink crepe myrtles (5 trees), still some flowers

Lagerstroemia x hybrida ‘Acoma’ white crepe myrtles (2 trees); still some flowers

Lagerstroemia indica 'Catawba', in container, reddish-purple flowers, still some flowers

Lantana, unknown varieties upright lavender and trailing white

Lavandula intermedia 'Provence', fragrant,in clay container - keeps blooming as long as watered and deadheaded

Liriope muscari/Lilyturf, in long lines all over the place, flowering lightly

Lonicera sempervirens, coral honeysuckle (just a few flowers)

Lycopersicon lycopersicum, tomatoes mostly the Sun gold, but a few on Solar fire

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii/Turkscap or Red Wax Mallow (two plants), loaded with blooms.

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii, white form of Turkscap/Wax Mallow (two plants in secret garden), sprawling and covered in flowers.

Melampodium leucanthum / Blackfoot daisy - many plants - floppy and flowering - sweet fragrance in heat

Oxalis regnellii 'Atropurpurea' (dotted around and in containers), blooming some places- crispy in others

Pavonia lasiopetala, pink rock rose, opens flowers but they fry quickly

Pelargonium hybrid, 'Fantasia Salmon', zonal geranium in breakfast room window

Pentas lanceolata - Egyptian stars a few flower heads

Perovskia atriplicifolia, Russian Sage (two beds), floppy but holding onto flower heads

Phlox paniculata 'John Fanick' - new plant - very pretty flowers and some buds

Physostegia virginiana, Obedient plant - stressed but has a few flowers that caught my son's eye - he took this photo

Piper auritum/Hoja Santa or Rootbeer Plant - two plants in shade have odd wand-shaped white flowers

Platycodon 'Miss Tilly' (3 plants), a few fading flowers

Plumbago auriculata (two shrubs), going nuts and covered in pale blue flowers- have to keep cutting it back

Plumeria unknown species/Frangipani, creamy yellow one bud stalk not open yet

Poliomintha bustamanta, Mexican oregano (3 plants), all blooming but looking ratty & stressed

Portulaca - reseeded & purchased Moss Roses and Flowering Purslanes - all have flowers

Punica granatum 'Nana'/ dwarf pomegranate - couple of buds

Rosa 'Mutabilis' (two good-sized plants) just a few flowers on front plant

Russelia equisetiformis, Firecracker plant 2 plants in bloom

Salvia farinacea, Mealy Blue sage, wandlike flowers opening but do not last

Salvia greggii, one cherry color, one white, one purple have flowers - dozen others are either resting or dropping branches.

Salvia microphylla 'Hot Lips' only a few flowers on back plant... other one spindly and not blooming

Salvia vanhoutii SYN Salvia splendens var 'Van Houttei' does not make a lot of bloom, but a few at a time for hummingbirds

Scutellaria indica 'Dorota Blue' Blue evergreen hybrid skullcap, in container, part-shade & watered. Just started flowering

Scutellaria suffrutescens, pink skullcap, two plants in Pink Entrance Garden - light bloom

Scutellaria unlabeled blue-violet skullcap blooming in hellstrip

Scutellaria unlabled - flower pink but different from suffrutescens, blooming in hellstrip

Tetraneuris scaposa, four nerve daisy Hymenoxys - a couple of flowers

Verbena bonariensis – a few stragglers - most done

Vitex agnus-castus / Chaste tree this year is looking pretty good!

Zephyranthes 'Labuffarosea', Pink rainlily - in this bunch open today today the focus is on the seeds. I scattered them along the edges of a border.

Zinnia linearis/ syn Zinnia angustifolia, several plants, abundant white flowers.

Happy GBBD - thanks again, Carol!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Mystery Melon Melo-Drama

At a garden blogger get-together toward the end of March, Laura of Some Like It Hot brought a few melon seedlings to share, unnamed second generation starts of seeds saved from melons she grew in 2009. Lancashire Rose & I each took one .... did anyone else try to grow them? Thanks again for sharing, Laura!

Our vegetable patch is too small for a melon to sprawl so after repotting it into a recycled cardboard container I stuffed the box into a corner of the compost bin. That seedling grew fast, making enormous leaves and tendrils. Annieinaustin, melon leaves
By mid-June it had produced a few melon-like objects, but instead of growing - they just did this Annieinaustin, unpollinated melonI'm not sure if it failed because the melon flower hadn't been pollinated or if insects made holes that set off rot.
A few weeks later the chance of getting fruit looked pretty goodAnnieianaustin, melons growing

One melon was looking fabulous for quite awhile - although it didn't look like any melon I knew. But while it was still green and hard, something attacked the bottom, the stem was chewed, and the weight of the melon had pulled against the wire, damaging the stem even more. I took the melon inside and weighed it, wondering what kind it would have been. At six pounds it was much larger than the store-bought Tuscan melon - but the interior hadn't matured - looks like Melon #1 was a fail. Annieinaustin, mystery melon with tuscan

A couple of small melons were still on the plant. Annieinaustin, mystery melon

After Katina tweeted that critters had chopped her crop I ran out to find Melon fail #2Annieinaustin, little melon chomped

We took the evidence over to the patio table and cut it to see if we could guess what kind it was - but there was no real color and no scent.Annieinaustin, cut small melon
Maybe the remaining melon would grow if I netted it and supported the stem with an S hookAnnieinaustin, mesh over melon

During July the netted plant kept growing and by the 26th some reticulation was showing - was it a cantaloupe like the one grown by RockRose? Annieinaustin, melon reticulating

Our Melon #3 almost delivered a sweet ending to our tale, but last weekend I found it on the ground, mesh & stem chewed through and skin chomped. The poor fruit bled orange, but not the burnt orange of a University of Texas fan - just the pale orange of a melon taken too soon.Annieinaustin, mystery melon critter bitten
It wasn't fully developed but it sure looked like it would have been a cantaloupe. Annieinaustin, inside wrecked melon

Apparently in my garden protective mesh can't be plastic - it would have to be steel! Back in Illinois in the 1990's famed gardener Trudi Temple told us that in order to get any fruits or vegetables for the table she had to build a wire-roofed-and-sided-enclosure with more mesh buried under the ground to prevent animals from digging from underneath.

Sometimes I daydream about having a small version of that enclosure here.