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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, May 16, 2013

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day May 2013

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

The May garden has few surprises, but unexpectedly cool nights, days under 90°F  and some rain in the last month have made the garden look greener than usual. Funny thing - although the rain wasn't heavy enough to refill the reservoirs and it didn't sink deep enough for the trees and shrubs, there was enough near the surface to pump up the grass paths around the Trapezoid Walk.

In other years the daylilies have been in full swing by mid-May. In this odd year, the passalong dwarf daylily 'Vi's Apricot' has some flowers - here mingling with the annual larkspur:

 Another passalong, the Orange Daylily/Ditch Lily from Gardener of Good & Evil, has bloomed with more larkspur, a patch of Salvia farinacea started with shared plants from Rock Rose, and a brand new 'Silky Yellow' tropical Milkweed from The Natural Gardener...

 Other varieties like the 'Best of Friends' from Pam at Digging have made buds but none are open yet. Our weather is now changing from damp to dry with temperatures soaring up into the 90's F - sure hope all these buds won't be blasted!

Seedlings from the annual larkspur turn up all over the garden each year in late winter. Some seedlings are weeded out - many are left to bloom in the spots they have chosen - larkspur popped up with the Oakleaf Hydrangea. This variety is 'Snow Queen' and the plant is in bloom for the third spring in a row.

Salvia coccinea, Hummingbird sage, also seeds around. I planted the lavender but these Hummingbird sages not only planted themselves - they've selected their own color scheme. Behind the scrim of salvias and lavender you can glimpse the climbing mini-rose, 'Red Cascade'.

Also self-selecting are the annual poppies. This one turned up in a hypertufa trough on the patio.

Near the trough are two small native wildflowers that were purchased and planted so we could see them from the table. Four nerve daisy blooms most of the year but the Blue-eyed grass usually makes a short visit. The unusual weather has kept it blooming.

A couple of feet away is a little tapestry composed of Silver ponyfoot, White-flowering sedum and a wandering Ice Plant.

After seeing Renee Studebaker's garden on tour last year, I came home and pruned the fig tree and the pomegranate tree in the Secret Garden, hoping to make them more productive. That pruning also gave more sun to the Pineapple Guava and it has more flowers than ever before! Will there be fruit this year?

Another shrub in bloom now is a fragrant, double, yellow oleander, growing in a bottomless wooden box. Twelve years ago this large shrub arrived as a one-foot-tall rooted cutting from Plant Delights. If you want to grow one, check out the current Plant Delights catalog.

Near the Sweetheart Arch the Shasta daisies have started, backed up by Salvia 'Hot Lips', Salvia guaranitica and Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue'. I like the way the rusty reddish brown of the arch at right is echoed by the burgundy-leaved cannas on the left

When the flowers are in bloom the insects are blooming, too! These 'Bush Early Girl' tomatoes are making fruit in the vegetable garden near the cilantro, which has mostly gone to flower. I saw ladybug larvae on the cilantro (Good) but also saw a cluster of tomato-wrecking Leaf-footed stink bug young-uns on a patio plant (Bad). The ladybug larvae are still there, but the stinkbug offspring are departed.

From what I can gather from various sources online, this cute little Shiny Flea Beetle appears to be of Texas origin and seems to specialize in Scuttelaria - the Skullcaps. It seems to be more of a problem in places like Florida, where it is not native... but with 6 kinds of Scuttelaria in this garden, I'd better keep an eye on it. (Looks like friends on the Texas GardenWeb are also seeing these little beetles on their skullcaps.)
(The botanical name of the insect was misspelled on original photo so this was edited with redone photos and added links, May 19, 2013)

There's another type of insect larva that hasn't appeared this year, although I've certainly tried to attract them by growing milkweed in many close-together beds and borders. Maybe the Monarch butterflies skipped my garden this spring because they heard about the Titan School Garden here in Austin!   

More photos and the complete list of what is in bloom with botanical names can be found at Annie's Addendum.

Links to Garden Bloom Day posts from all over can be found at the May Dreams Garden Blog. Happy May Dreams, Carol!

This post, Garden Bloggers Bloom Day May 2013, was written by Annie in Austin for her Transplantable Rose Blog.


  1. So good to see your garden Annie. Beautiful blooms. Happy GBBD.

    1. Thanks, Lisa - your garden is looking wonderful this spring!

  2. What a lovely bloom day you had. The question is what will happen now the temperatures have hot the 90s and plan to stay there. I certainly don't have plans to be out there except in the early morning. That oleander has a gorgeous flower. It reminds me of a narcissus bloom. Yes, that little bug is a pest in my garden too and favors the skullcaps. The delosperma and pony foot are a wonderful combination.

    1. You are so right about those 90's... they are here to stay now. I don't think the daylilies will be as pretty as they were last year... too hot for the flowers to last.

  3. Your garden is looking great...love the Ice Plant...do you know which variety that is???

    1. Hi Scott - my guess is some kind of Delosperma, it was an unlabeled impulse buy at a local nursery last year.

  4. Thank you, Annie. Our spring has been a bit unusual, too. Love to see all the blooms in your Texas garden. Thanks for sharing them with us for bloom day!

    1. You're welcome, Carol - thanks for making up GBBD!

  5. The double yellow oleander is beautiful. It reminds me of the way the datura flowers look when they're just starting to open up--that cool, origami-like twist.

    I think I lost my heart to that pineapple guava, though. Those flowers are too cool! Is it related to the mimosa, I wonder?

    1. Once in awhile I get a datura flower so know what you mean, Kim! When my brugmansia/Angel Trumpet was alive it also had the "cool, origami-like twist".

      Mimosa is in legumes and the pineapple guava is Acca sellowiana in the myrtle family. But check out the red flowers on an Australian bottle brush trees and you may see a similarity. Bottle brush is Callistemon, also in the myrtle family.

  6. Love seeing all your larkspur, Annie! I remember seeing it in so many gardens in Asheville last year and was really taken with it. I wish it would re-seed in my garden; I scatter seeds in late winter and cross my fingers that some of them will eventually bloom.

    Hope the Monarchs find your milkweed!

    1. It took a few years to get the larkspur going here so good luck! In Illinois we were told to sprinkle the seeds on top of what is probably the last snow. But how can one know for sure that it will be the last snow??
      I'm pretty sure that larkspur seeds need light to germinate... remember going out to remove leaves that had blown on top of the seeded beds so they'd wake up.

  7. Your garden looks terrific - such color!


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