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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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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day June 2011

This GBBD post for June 2011 was written by Annie in Austin for her Transplantable Rose blog.

The ever-quotable Henry Mitchell once said, "It is not nice to garden anywhere.", a phrase from his essay on "The Defiance of Gardeners". This afternoon I defied our Austin weather by buying 5 cut peonies at the local grocery story. The inside of our house may not be cool enough to let them last long, but for now, they smell like peonies! Annieinaustin,grocery peoniesOutside it's hard to summon up defiance after more than 10 days of temperatures over 100°F with the last rain a distant memory and little hope of a break. I've managed to hand-water beds & borders a couple of times a week, water the containers almost every day and have filled the birdbaths over and over. Little is in bloom in front - no roses, no gauras, one surviving purple coneflower, 'Black and Blue' salvias barely alive - even the tough anisacanthus looks ragged. At least in the back yard there's a ring of green grass at the base of the birdbath and a few plants in bloom for June GBBD (photos will expand when clicked).

Annieinaustin,Sunflower, white crepe myrtlesKeeping the sunflowers out of the borders but letting a few grow in the "lawn" is working so far- with less water they're still pretty tall but seem less likely to topple or crack.

Hey, sunflower - let me see your face. The finches have probably calculated how many seeds fit on each flower head.Annieinaustin,sunflower faceThe orange cosmos makes a steady supply of seeds for the lesser goldfinches - the few they miss have sprouted and will make the next crop of buds and flowers. Annieinaustin, orange cosmos

Another yellow daisy-type face is Rudbeckia hirta 'Irish Eyes'. It's not a big plant but there's enough green around it to make the color pop. The fragrant foliage of Mexican Mint Marigold/Tagetes lucida can be seen at upper left, Salvia farinacea at lower left, one of the last larkspurs still blooming purple at bottom center, an evergreen dwarf yaupon at lower right, and the grassy leaves of Garlic Chives right top, behind the blooms. Annieinaustin, Irish Eyes rudbeckia
Last year Linda from KLRU's Central Texas Gardener featured Dicliptera suberecta, sometimes called Mexican Hummingbird plant and other times called Uruguayan Hummingbird plant or Uruguayan Firecracker. I ran across a starter plant soon after reading her post and it did OK last fall. I like the name Firecracker because the top froze off but this spring the plant came back from the roots with a bang! The hummingbirds do love it. Annieinaustin,dicliptera suberecta
Tropical Milkweed/Asclepias curassavica grows with Blue Plumbago in the bed along the back of the house. The rainchains haven't had any rain to carry in a long time but look closer... a seed from last year's Butterfly Blue Pea Vine/Clitoria ternatea landed there, sprouted and is using the chain for a trellis
Annieinaustin,tropical milkweed & PlumbagoOn the other side of the walk I hope the small 'Zuni' Crepe myrtle is making roots and getting established. The 'Diamond Frost' euphorbia took awhile to catch, but is now starting to spread lacy white skirts around the slender crepe myrtle trunks. Annieinaustin,diamond frost euphorbia

The 'Zuni' flowers are supposed to be Violet but it hasn't bloomed yet. Today I saw buds developing - sure hope the tag is right! Annieinaustin, zuni crepe myrtle buds

The 'Catawba' crepe myrtle was planted in March of 2010 - it hasn't grown much but it's blooming along with the 'Blue River II' Hibiscus. Can you see the browned flower heads of the Oakleaf hydrangea in the background? I hope it will forgive me for planting it in Austin. Annieinaustin,Catawba crepe myrtle, hibiscus
In addition to these two smaller purple-toned crepe myrtles, Philo & I bought and planted the two white, semi-dwarf 'Acoma' crepe myrtles in the NE border.
But the pink ones came free with the house. Full-size hot pink crepe myrtles grow on the three borders of our garden, just outside the fence in all the neighboring yards. We still have six hot-pink crepe myrtles in our own yard. I'm not crazy about the color but this year the smallish one at the entrance to the Secret Garden is looking pretty good. Since the pecan trees were trimmed in February that spot gets more sun, and when the Mediterranean Fan Palm froze back over winter, I tucked the potted palm stump in between this crepe myrtle and a holly bush and the runoff from watering the palm was good enough to make the crepe myrtle happy. Annieinaustin, Crepe myrtle near archSee what's blooming for other gardeners all around the world at Carol in Indiana's June GBBD roundup at May Dreams Gardens.


  1. Despite the drought your garden looks quite happy with several things blooming. It is a worry to have drought at this time of year. It just makes one wonder what the rest of summer will be like. I am always amazed to see Crepe Myrtles blooming so early in your area. It really makes me realize how warm your zone is. Happy GBBD.

  2. When nature gives you only sun, grow sunflowers! Seems appropriate. Happy GBBD.

  3. From your intro about the temps, I was expecting a sere wasteland, but your garden is filled with blooms! I met crape myrtles for the first time last year in Dallas, and was delighted to make their acquaintance. Too bad it's too chilly for them up here. Happy Blooms Day, Annie.

  4. I know what you mean about the heat. Isn't this June? It feels like July or August. I mean, I'd expect 90 in June but I'm just not ready for that full front of 100 degree heat.

    I'm thinking, kids should let out for "summer" in April, May and June...cause they might as well be inside studying in all this heat, and it's just starting!

  5. How fine that you splurged on the peonies. They were $6.50 a stem at the florist down my way, but I couldn't bear the thought of torturing them with the hot car-drive home. Bought a dahlia and some asters and goldenrod instead.

    Stay cool (but how?)


  6. I'm happy to see that your blue clitoria is reseeding in the rain chain--how fun! And I envy you the orange cosmos, since they're hard to find around here and I always forget about starting seeds until it's too late.

    Hope that you get a break in your hot, dry weather here soon! Happy GBBD!

  7. My goodness... so hot and so dry in your garden, but still there are blooms! I'm sure it is a lot of work to keep it all watered because I know you water carefully.

  8. It looks as though you have some pretty sensible plants in your garden. I too looked at those peonies. I saw so many wonderful peonies in bloom on my trip. It seems the hard winter did them a favor. I was tempted to buy some but last week I bought glads and they didn't last 5 minutes.

  9. Beautiful garden. And your pictures are stunning, keep up the great work!

  10. I'm going to look at a grocery store for peonies. After hearing about them for years from "Texas transplants," someone sent me a bouquet. I was totally totally in love, and can see why they are magic. Sometimes it is worth it to fill the house with such beauty.

    My garden is hanging on, but it doesn't look great. But that dicliptera is still going strong. If you want some more, I'll trade you when we get together for the Siberian iris swap. It's been the gray & hummingbird favorite in both semi-shade and sun in my garden. I'm so glad I ran into it!


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