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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, November 17, 2011

November Bloom Day - Expected and Unexpected

Written by Annie in Austin for her Transplantable Rose blog

There's a complete list of blooms for November 15th (along with more photos) over at my Annie's Addendum blog. Please take a look! I did my best with the botanical names but I'm not a botanist - let me know if you think something is wrong.

Spot watering/hand watering has kept quite a few things alive in spite of drought and heat. The almost-3 inches of rain that fell on October 9 helped the shrubs and the cooler weather has helped everything - including the gardeners.
Annieinaustin, monarch and abelia
A few weeks ago the Abelias began blooming and suddenly Monarch butterflies appeared. Now the Monarchs have moved on and the A-Bee-Lias bloom for another kind of winged insect
annieinaustin Bee on abelia
Their flowers are lovely whenever they appear but that bees will love them is expected.

Another lovely thing is the Loquat tree, mostly recovered from bad freeze damage last winter, and just beginning to open its fragrant flowers.Annieinaustin loquat blooming
That scent now says Thanksgiving to me, so it's not unexpected in November but after the hailstorms, flood, deep cold, extreme heat and unprecedented drought it's experienced in the last couple of years, I'm grateful that the scent of the loquat still floats on the air.

What is unexpected is to see bluebonnets with buds in November. Apparently some seeds had sprouted in late winter or early spring but were immediately overshadowed by the nearby seedlings of Cosmos. The bluebonnets lurked underneath the jungle of tall orange cosmos leaves and stems, only revealing themselves when that generation of cosmos died off so a new crop could start. My neighborhood has only had a light frost so far - it will be interesting to see whether this flower will be able to bloom blue or if it will freeze.Annieinaustin,November bluebonnet buds
The usual milkweed grown in Illinois was the orange perennial Asclepias tuberosa. I've tried that here with no luck. So a few years ago I planted the tropical milkweed, Asclepias curassavica , and now it is a reseeding annual in my garden. Seeds often sprout in inconvenient places so some are pulled up, but I always let a handful grow on to bloom with colorful yellow petals & red-orange sepals. This month there are many flowers on four plants but there seems to be something unusual about the sepals. Although I can't remember them being anything but solid red-orange in previous years, this year all four plants display white blotches on some of the sepals.
Annieinaustin, white sepals tropical milkweed
Darned if I know why... they seem to be opening solid first and then the white streak shows up. Has anyone else seen these white marks on tropical milkweed? Does anyone know why it happens?
Annieinaustin white sepals asclepias curassavicaAfter you've checked out the list on the Addendum you can find more than 125 gardens linked to May Dreams Carol for November Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.


  1. I am guessing that the white might be a virus...not something dangerous to the plant...but impacting the blossoms development. Glad to see you back, I thought you had gotten buried under a faithful compost pile!

  2. Annie, you're obviously growing the rare Asclepias annieinaustinii… a very special breed. Happy blooms day!

  3. Maybe the white streak is because the plant just didn't have enough "oomph" to color the whole sepal?

    I'm happy to see you have blooms and surviving plants, Annie in Austin. Thanks for joining in for bloom day.

  4. Love the White Stripes--Jack is from Detroit you know. I also love the lower case version--is that not a normal variation?

  5. Hi Tabor - this has been a very discouraging year so I'm not exactly sure that I am back, but could not resist sharing a mystery. I really hoped the color was rubbed off by frolicking bees!

    Oh Helen that's fun! or ... wait .. does that mean the flower is annie or the virus is annie?

    The sepals seem to have the color at first May Dreams Carol, then lose it. Weird, huh>

    A musical reference, Monica the Garden Faerie - excellent! So what do we call the stripe that is fading away... Jack or Meg?

    Thanks for reading and commenting,


  6. I don't know anything about the tropical milkweed but it is pretty even with the white stripe. Happy GBBD. It is good to hear that you and your garden survived the drought.

  7. So good to see the bees flying about your garden, Annie! And what a long list of blooms you have! I have no idea what caused the white stripe in your milkweed blooms, but it looks like a new variegated variety--I think Helen's name fits:) Good to hear that you are enjoying cooler--and hopefully, more normal--weather once again.

  8. Hi Annie - what the heck are you doing with a bluebonnet bud? Our poor gardens really are confused, aren't they? I agree, I think the white stripe is a virus, but who cares, it looks awesome. It's nice to see a few survivors blooming, isn't it?

  9. I don't know why that white appears but think it is a nice accent. As long as it is not something that portends disaster for future plants. What variety of abelia is that? The blooms are much larger than the Edward Goucher I have...I wouldn't mind a larger bloomed one.

  10. I was going to comment on the milkweed... but I like Helen's and Monica's explanations much better! :)

    Love that loquat, by the way. The brown fuzzy flower stems are awesome. Happy GBBD--and Happy (early) Thanksgiving!

  11. It is nice to see your Loquat has survived these cruel and unusual weather extremes. Anything green is a welcomed site--and blooms even more so.

  12. Nice to see your blooms Annie. I've been blessed with many tropical milkweed this year, but haven't seen any with that dashing white stripe.

  13. I grew up in Houston but don't remember Loquats there. I grew one in San Diego that fruited. Will yours go on to fruit? I miss them. I actually have a Loquat tree planted by a south-facing concrete wall, but I haven't seen it even try to bloom. I do use the leaves for tea, they are supposed to be good for coughs.

  14. I love that tropical milkweed. I've never seen it before. My friend gave me a loquat tree when she moved to Hawaii. I was so excited to have fresh loquats until I learned that it probably wont happen for another five years. wwwhhhaaa!


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