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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, July 16, 2011

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day July 2011

Some of you have already heard how I feel about living in Texas in July. The 2011 heat & drought is worse than when I wrote this song in 2009! The last couple of winters finished off the Aloes, Agaves and cactus, so there's already a nostalgic quality to the photos in the video:

"I Don't Want to Be in Texas in July" via my YouTube Station Kaefka

But with the help of a few long hoses and a big hat, I helped quite a few flowers to survive and pose for May Dreams Carol & Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. Most photos will expand when clicked.

The plants on the patio and along the back of the house look the best. The house shields them from the searing sun of late afternoon and they're close to the back door and the hose.
A Blue Pea vine/Clitoria ternatea sprouted near the rain chain, now fitting in quite nicely with the resident Blue Plumbagos and Tropical Milkweeds. Annieinaustin, Blue Pea and MilkweedThere's only one flower head on this newly planted, hand-delivered in person, division of my Grandmother's phlox but it's good to see this heirloom in bloom. A tiny-flowered pink form of Batfaced Cuphea peeks in from the side. AnnieinAustin, Grandmas white phlox
Near the birdbath fountain the red & purple batfaced Cuphea is out of bloom but the Blue Daze Evolvolus has not stopped. A 'Red Cascade' minirose draped a branch over the container, substituting its own red blossoms for the missing cuphea flowers. Annieinaustin, Evolvolus w Red Cascade minirose
Last year a large pot of Blue Butterfly Clerodendron was the star of the patio but an exceptionally harsh February nearly killed it, reducing the crown by 2/3. The plant is barely half the size it was last July but it's alive and it's still blooming blue. (You may find this beauty under various botanical names: Clerodendrum ugandense, or Clerodendrum myricoides 'Ugandense' or Rotheca myricoides 'Ugandense'. )

Annieinaustin, Blue butterfly clerodendronIris/Society Garlic gave me a couple of tomato seedlings last spring. One is blooming and making tiny tomatoes near the back door - this one was labeled 'Mexico Midget'. Annieinaustin, Tomato blossoms, Mexico Midget

This miniature tomato plant and the equally tiny 'Sungold' tomato in a container are the only tomato plants still making fruit. Annieinaustin, tiny tomatoes
Around the corner of the house in the Secret Garden there's only one perennial in bloom - Buddleja lindleyana is dangling its wandflowers against the house. Part shade helps this shrub survive, and so does being in the drip line of the live oak. The drip line rather than the area close to the trunk is where slowly watering can help our stressed trees. Annieinaustin, Buddleja LindleyanaLife is tougher away from the house in the full sun triangle bed - the native Blackfoot Daisies look exhausted Annieinaustin, tired Blackfoot Daisies

Just a few feet away, native Zinnia linearis looks much fresher. The bedraggled long leaves belong to an Amarcrinum. Last fall I moved that non-blooming Amarcrinum from a shady spot, hoping more sun would kickstart flowering. Maybe I should have left it alone! Annieinaustin, Zinnia linearisAt the other end of this bed the Orange Cosmos bloom, go to seed and regrow.
Annieinaustin, orange cosmos w seedsIt looks messy but this patch is not for people - it's for the finches, as are the nearby tall native sunflowers. Annieinaustin, Sunflowers in July
Dicliptera suberecta/Uruguayan Hummingbird Plant is also for the birds. AnnieinAustin, Dicliptera suberectaLater on the seedheads of Crepe myrtles may be eaten by birds, too - but right now we appreciate the foliage and flowers of the cool white 'Acoma' crepe myrtles.
Annieinaustin, cool, white Acoma crepe myrtlesLast month I showed you the small 'Catawba' crepe myrtle planted in 2010. We ran into a tree sale at the end of June & now there's another 'Catawba' on the opposite side of that path.
Annieinaustin, Catawba Crepe myrtle newLast month I showed you buds on the crepe myrtle labeled "Zuni' - the promise was kept and delicate, pinky-lilac flowers are open on the small tree outside the breakfast room window.
Annieinaustin, Zuni crepe myrtle newThe tree sale was a good one with varieties we wanted in sizes we could haul home ourselves. We bought one for the front but instead of planting it, repotted it into a larger container for now.

So if we ever get cooler temperatures, if we ever get rain, and if we can manage to dig a hole in the baked front yard, there may be someday be a Garden Bloggers Bloom Day featuring a tall, 'Muskogee' crepe myrtle covered in lavender flowers.

May all your days be Blooming Days!


  1. What with your weather Annie I am surprised that anything is blooming or surviving for that matter. It sounds down right scary in your area. Thank goodness you can still water a few plants. That blue pea vine is such a deep blue. Very pretty with the milkweed. I hope the drought is broken soon. I love the replay of 'I don't want to live in Texas in July'. I don't blame you for those sentiments.

  2. Quite interesting, to see your garden's bloom compared to "pre-drought". I also sense less angst in your post, and that of many Austin-ites, compared to the first really dry summer you had. Have you all resigned yourselves to this as the new reality?

  3. Love the song - I hadn't heard it before! You've got a fair bit blooming in our dry heat. Happy GBBD!

  4. Love your song. July Texas gardener blues! You have lots more blooming than I do here in Houston.

  5. I'm so happy the Mexico Midgets are still producing, even if they are tiny. My sungolds are still producing but have slowed down. That blue pea vine looks so pretty w/the other blue and orange behind! My Red Cascade isn't blooming, but I haven't watered it much. Love the sweet grandma's phlox.

  6. I've been thinking of you Annie, and the other TX bloggers (and other residents too,) every time I hear news on the heat and drought you all are experiencing. It's hot and dry here, but nothing like what y'all are going through. Your July blooms are lovely in spite of the awful weather. Sending cool, rainy thoughts your way.

  7. I've been thinking about that drought of '53, especially since the severity of the drought has spread to my state. It was certainly legendary and I'm hoping 2011 does not surpass it.

    I like your clerodendron and other little beauties. And aren't those Sungolds amazing? I don't get many now but it still manages to live and produce a few. At least there's a few things still going!

  8. What a lovely gift that phlox is! And all your plants look simply gorgeous. Mexican midget: I'm going to add that one to my list for next year!

  9. I'm happy that you have so many blooms...I guess some of your plants are adjusting or at least tolerating the heat. I love the idea of a dedicated bird patch!

  10. Every time I whine about the lack of rain here, I think of you and other Texas gardeners. It's a wonder you have anything blooming at all; love the pretty little blue pea vine. We may have more rain and somewhat cooler temperatures in Illinois, but we don't have your beautiful crepe myrtles!

  11. You really are a testament to the fact that we can have blooming plants in Texas even when the summer is in full blazing swing. Mexican midget is a must on my tomato list for next year. It is a new one to me. I cut all my blackfoot daisies back so they will give me a good display in the fall, provided we get some rain. You may want to try that.

  12. You must be working hard! Your garden is still so beautiful. I can barely stand to step outside.

  13. Hi Lisa at Greenbow - handwatering is tedious, but I can get the water right to the roots under the mulch on perennials & annuals, anyway. The grass is shot. Thanks for liking the song!

    There is still angst, MayDreams Carol - but the repeated deep freezes, alternating flood, drought, hail & heat of the past couple of years have lowered my expectations. I've accepted the reality that it will never be possible to make a truly Fine Garden here - but I can probably manage to have a Pretty Yard most of the time.

    Thanks, RBell - I enjoy writing garden songs - thanks for listening!

    Singing the blues comes natural to gardeners, doesn't it, Joanna? We'll keep our fingers crossed for all-state rain!

    Hello Iris - the Mexico Midgets didn't even start until a week ago so they're really appreciated now! The Red Cascade is near the birdbath fountain - the birds splash water on it all day long even when I don't water it... it's really happy.

    Thanks, Garden Girl - you Chicagoland gardeners are on my mind a lot, too - first such a long wait for summer to arrive, and then those storms & power outages were freaky!

    The stories & photos from the early 'fifties are scary, Jean - and what we've experienced during our 12 years in Texas doesn't give me any confidence that it can't happen again. But I sure hope we'll get a reprieve ;-)

    The story is that Grandma got the phlox from her mother in Michigan, Linda at CTG - she grew it in Chicago & brought some to my parents in the early 1950's who gave it to their kids, etc. So a genealogy garden treasure! I don't know where Iris got the seeds for 'Mexico Midget', but I think it's called an heirloom currant tomato.

    The front yard is a disaster, Leslie - I've watered & mulched to little avail since that fierce west sun bakes the plants. It's more fun to look out the back at the finches, mockingbirds, jays, cardinals, wrens, etc ... even saw 3 Robins at once last week!

    You're allowed to whine, Rose! Drought can be brutal anywhere - and we have similar too wet/too dry clay soils in both IL & TX . I still like the white & purple crepe myrtles better than the overused hot pink ones, but this year I appreciate all of them!

    Having some plants in bloom is partly possible because my whole back yard is pretty small, Lancashire Rose... the dry, unphotographed front yard is bigger than the back.
    I will take that advice and cut the Blackfoot daisies back. They're pretty much annuals in my soil anyway so nothing to lose! Check with Iris about the 'Mexico Midgets'.

    Hello MSS of Zanthan Gardens! I try to be conscientious about the 6 birdbaths and the patio pots - the best grass in the yard is that birdbath in the center of so many photographs! But the sun is more daunting than the heat and there seems to be less shade this year - with no rain in spring, the leaves on the large trees never fully expanded. It's light shade rather than dense shade in back.

    Thanks for the comments!


  14. Considering the heat and drought, your garden looks amazing! I love that Blue Pea Vine...great color!

  15. You have a lovely array of blooms Annie, in spite of the dastardly weather.

  16. ok... I'm going to have to start paying extra close attention: I just bought a fixer-upper in San Antonio and need to plant a garden. (Of course, I'm never there.) Just so you know, I'm planning on copying a lot of what you do. I'll put a sign in the garden giving you credit. Love the Clitoria. Hank

  17. I love that adorable blue flower. Never seen a flower like that.

  18. Lovely blooms, Annie. I haven't had Blue Daze survive for a couple of years now. Kudos to you for keeping everything alive!

  19. Annie,

    Pictures are really good.
    Really Blooming!
    I like to share a website to everyone who loves Hydroponics. If you new to Hydroponics? Don't know where to start? Check the site: http://forums.gthydroponic.com
    -------GO GREEN-------

  20. Here it is almost time for August Bloom Day and I'm just reading about your July blooms. You've been in my thoughts a lot this summer, Annie, thanks to the Batfaced Cuphea blooming in my garden. In addition to the lovely red in a container, I have pink and other pastel colors - self-sown seedlings from a pink Cuphea I planted in the garden last summer. I love those volunteers!
    I admire your attitude in the face of that awful drought and heat. Keeping blooms in your garden takes courage and persistence and you certainly have both.
    The clear blue of the Pea Vine is beautiful, and each bloom in your garden is precious. I'm happy to see your grandma's Phlox blooming, and the lovely lilac blooms of the Crepe Myrtle.
    The birds are grateful for the cosmos and sunflower seeds, I'm sure. A little messiness is a small price to pay to have the delight of birds in our gardens.
    I pray good rain will fall on your Texas garden soon! Meanwhile, keep smiling and singing, Annie :)
    (I had a very difficult time trying to get Blogger to recognize my account and publish this comment. I get that a lot lately. Does anyone else experience this problem?)

  21. I love that you have a spot for the finches.

  22. It's Thanksgiving weekend, and I sincerely thank you for these comments Scott, Jayne, Lisa, RM, Calley, Morning Glories and Dear Kerri - and Hank, if that's really you - hope you are having a wonderful time with the fixer-upper in the homeland!



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