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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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Monday, May 16, 2011

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day May 2011

For those of us who have posted for GBBD from its beginnings in February 2007, this is the fifth time that we're showing our May blooms. Participation in this ritual may now require alcohol ... one drink to celebrate those parts of the garden that are better after 5 seasons... and a second glass raised as consolation after viewing GBBD photos of dead-and-gone lovelies.Annieinaustin,2009 malva zebrinaWoe for the Passionvine, the 'Happy Returns' daylily, the Sweet Peas, the Malva zebrina AKA French hollyhocks, the gardenia, the single mockorange, the aloe in flower!

Most of my flowers are the same plants that have appeared here every May - their return is comforting and rhythmic, giving the illusion of stability in the garden, even in the erratic climate of Austin,Texas.

'Best of Friends' daylily from Pam seems happy and established: Annieinaustin,Best of friends daylilyThe small rebloomer known as 'Vi's Apricot' has been divided into several plants, adding repetition to the borders. A GBBD photo reminds me to appreciate the individual flowers:Annieinaustin,Vi's Apricot daylilyHemerocallis 'Devonshire' has been here a couple of years and so has the orange Ditch Lily kindly passed along by Lori the Gardener of Good and Evil. The larkspur is an annual - first added in 2005. Last year there were just a few reseeded plants but this year it appeared everywhere! Annieinaustin,Devonshire daylily
After 5 years the 'Little Gem' magnolia has filled out. It was not quite in bloom for April GBBD but there have been dozens of fragrant flowers in the past four weeks. Today's bloom now fades as new buds swell: Annieinaustin,little gem fading Four weeks ago the reddish purple Clematis by the back door was in full bloom. The very last flower opened today. Annieinaustin,red-purple clematisOn the other side of the back door there are Tropical Milkweed plants in bloom and the first flowers of the blue plumbago. The plumbago dies to the ground each winter. The milkweed can survive a mild winter but last February was not mild. I bought a couple of new plants in early spring and since then seedlings have appeared from last summer's plants - they'll catch up soon.

Annieinaustin,tropical milkweed w plumbage Salvia guaranitica grew near the back fence when we bought this house - we brought Salvia 'Black and Blue' with us in a deck pot and introduced them to each other in 2005:Annieinaustin,salvias guaranitica and Black & Blue
With those two blues as background, a patriotic May border just sort of happened. The Shasta daisies came from the previous house, a pure red Salvia greggii was a passalong from my Divas of the Dirt friend Mindy. Salvia elegans/Pineapple sage seemed to fit in easily. A visit to the garden of Jill Nokes made me seek out Salvia 'Hot Lips'. Seeing 'Diamond Frost' Euphorbia in the garden of Pam/Digging made me want it- growing the Euphorbia last year turned me into a fan.
Annieinaustin,red & Blue salvias with shasta daisies
'Blue River II' Hibiscus grew in our Illinois garden, survived 5 years in the previous deck garden, and is now established here. It isn't in bloom yet but the buds promise many large white flowers. Annieinaustin, hardy hibiscus buds
The Bluebonnets & Texas Paintbrush that looked good for April GBBD are still flowering in the mini-meadow, joined now by the reseeding orange cosmos.Annieinaustin,bluebonnets, paintbrush, cosmos
Last year I let too many self-seeded sunflowers grow wherever they sprouted. One of them shaded two small orchid-purple Salvia greggii plants at the end of the meadow bed, stunting their growth. This year the sunflowers are confined to another spot. The salvias are already responding to the space & light.
Annieinaustin,salvia greggii with bluebonnetsAnother plant also appreciates the new Sunflower rules. Last year this Perovskia/Russian sage grew sideways in the shade - this year it stands upright, making a see-through mist of tiny blue-purple flowers. The magenta and white flowers of Rose of Sharon are barely visible at back-top of the fence. Annieinaustin,see-through perovskiaBetween the Rose of Sharon and the lavender-blue Perovskia is another small-flowered plant tending more to pinky-lilac in color - Poliomintha bustamanta/Mexican OreganoAnnieinaustin,Poliomintha bustamanta
Up front in the Pink Entrance Garden the pink skullcaps/Scutellaria suffrutescens have rebounded after winter's deadwood was snipped off:

Annieinaustin,Pink skullcapA native skullcap blooms in the parkway strip, Purple skullcap/Scutellaria wrightii. It's done so well that I bought a few starter plants to try in other places.

Annieinaustin,purple skullcap
Last winter the 'Patrick' abutilon froze in its pot in the Secret Garden so this replacement 'Patrick' will come inside when it gets cold. The 2010 Patrick grew as one single stalk but this year's plant has been cut back to see if it will make multiple stems. I gave Patrick a Torenia for company.
Annieinaustin,Patrick Abutilon w ToreniaTwo plants surprised me this month - both native plants. For the April GBBD I photographed a newly planted Salvia regla/Mountain sage in bloom - but it had buds when I bought it so that wasn't the surprise. Now the established older plant has bloomed- it's never made flowers in spring before - only in autumn. Is this a result of our odd weather or did something about the new one having flowers trigger the bloom?Annieinaustin,Salvia regla in MayFragrant mistflower/Ageratina havanensis has always been an autumn bloomer, too - but this May I'm seeing Mistflower with Larkspur.
Annieinaustin,Ageratina Mistflower with LarkspurA recent surprise wasn't a flower - it was another bird sighting to add to those in the last few posts. Local bird expert Mikael Behrens identified this green visitor to the birdbath fountain for me... it's a female Painted Bunting. Seeing a colorful male would also be fun.Annieinaustin,female Painted Bunting

I'll bet you'll find many more surprises in the posts linked at Carol/May Dreams Gardens Garden Bloggers Bloom Day Roundup.

(added abt 3 PM on May 16th - complete bloom day LIST with botanical names and more photos has been posted at Annie's Addendum Broke 100 this month!)


  1. You have so many pretty blooms this May I hope you don't remember the plants that passed. Your new yard bird is gorgeous too even though it is a female. I would faint if one showed up in our garden. We did get a new yard bird this morning. It was a Pileated Woodpecker. Yay! Happy GBBD.

  2. Oh, to have a painted bunting! Your flowers are beautiful too. You grow several plants that I'm not familiar with (like skullcap).

  3. What a beautiful Bloom Day post, Annie! Your spring garden is looking lush and lovely. It's obvious you've been busily enjoying pottering among the plants, and your hard work has been richly rewarding.
    It's good to see your 'old faithfuls' each year - the gorgeous Clematis, Plumbago, and oh, Daylilies already! They're wonderful. I love the skullcaps too, and the salvias, and, well, I love them all!
    How exciting to have a sweet little female painted bunting visit your fountain. Your photo is so beautiful.I hope a male shows up and you're able to get a photo of him to share with us. We've had rose-breasted grosbeaks and a few Baltimore orioles visiting lately, along with the regulars. They're all such a treat.
    Wow - 100 bloomers - that's impressive! Happy GBBD!

  4. I just cannot get a handle on the size of your gardens!! You always have so many plants in bloom, you seem to have a couple acres???
    Sigh...if you were here with your native hibiscus, it would be chewed up by the Japanese beetles each summer, I'm afraid. They love them.

  5. Annie, the painted bunting sighting is just awesome! The blooms aren't bad either. :-)

  6. Did your 'Diamond Frost' euphorbia come back after winter, or do you plant new each spring? I had two come back just recently, surprising me with their hardiness. Two others died, but that's pretty good for a plant that isn't supposed to survive the kind of temps we got.

  7. That's the problem with spreadsheets, Lisa at Greenbow - all the ex-plants are lined up in large numbers. I like the Painted Bunting but would faint if a Pileated Woodpecker showed up here!

    Hope you see Buntings, Phillip. The pink skullcap is from a part of Mexico that is supposed to be a lot like Central Texas and it will grow in alkaline soil. Mine had some cold damage so maybe it's not hardy enough for you?

    Thank you Kerri - skullcaps are cute but not like your tulip parade! Lisa from Greenbow had a Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, too - what a treat! We had orioles last week so should not be greedy.

    Sissy - it's barely 1/4 acre and a weird trapezoid shape - check out this garden map. It's definitely a Bitty Garden!

    There's something about the soft roundness of the bunting's head that makes me want to pet her, Cindy from Katy - quite delightful!

    Last year's Euphorbias were totally dead, Pam/Digging - I rooted 3 cuttings & they grew very slowly in the windowsills all winter. They were too small for the borders so are now in hanging baskets & I bought more to put in the ground. How cool that yours lived over!

    Thanks for the comments and Happy GBBD!


  8. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!!! I am in love with all your flowers. I've been concentrating all my energies on veggies and must live vicariously, mostly, when it comes to flowers. But we do get at least 2 painted buntings each year.

  9. I can always count on your garden to provide a small Eden of lush floriferousness in what's quickly becoming the semi-desert of Austin. I love coming by in person or virtually just to drink in relief.

    After this week's rare rain and cooler temperatures, it's wonderful how the plants bounce back. I, too, get discouraged comparing the present to the past. When I began keeping garden records two decades ago, I thought I was charting the progress in the garden. But all I seem to do is measure loss. Maybe, like me, the garden hit its peak some years back and is now falling into ungraceful decline.

  10. Annie, lots going on in Circus Cercus, as always. Mistflower with Larkspur has to be a shocker for the eyes, though. I have a few Fall Aster blooming now, too! Our climate is really odd these past few years, I hope this isn't a permanent change for Central Texas. My daylillies are not as lush this year as last, are yours doing that as well?

  11. Are you saying that your gardenia and single mockorange DIED? Rest their souls, I think you should try again and not love that gardenia to death but make the soil as acid as possible.

    The Daylilies are just spectacular. Are butterflies diving into yours?

    If there is a female Bunting, there must be a male somewhere nearby. I hope you get to see him and a pileated woodpecker too.

  12. Salvia guaranitica is one of the ones I've lost since the early GBBD's. It seemed hardy through a couple of winters and then vanished. I'm not sure if I want to look too closely at those lists - too many passing fancies.

    I just saw an Indigo Bunting at the feeder this morning. Hoping to see a photo of a male Painted Bunting here soon!

  13. Really liking the look of that Clematis blossom - I'm going to have to try some of that genera (likely gonna start with the natives even though they don't have that quality of flower!).

  14. Ooh, love those skullcaps! My 'Patrick' abutilon was in the ground and I thought I had lost it. But lo and behold it is coming back, but very slowly. I figure I might have some blooms by fall, ha! Love your painted bunting. How lucky you are to see that!

  15. You are in the heat now aren't you? Great blooms and keep cool like the birds in your bath.

  16. This is just gorgeous! I love that you have so many plants and outstanding wildlife to see. Your garden bounded back beautifully after the harsh winter you got in your spot.

  17. As always, you have so many luscious blooms! The lilies are amazing--so painterly. Or vice versa, I guess: a painter could only strive to capture them. Must try the "black and blue" salvia soon. I, too, just bought some new purple skullcap. They don't seem as hardy as the pink, but I just love them. Yours look great!


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