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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, June 29, 2013

When the Garden Is In Heat

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

The plants aren't howling and writhing like cats in heat, but gardeners in Austin would probably like to howl today...

Even though my garden has a lot of shifting, filtered shade, the combination of sun and heat makes the blossoms on some plants change color. Here's 'Vi's Apricot' daylily on May 1st - there is a rosy blush over the petals

The first flush of blooms finished weeks ago, but the daylily sent up more stalks and is now reblooming. The flowers have lost the rosy blush, but the diamond-dusting shows up even more strongly.

 One of the 'Fred Howard' Amarcrinum bulbs bloomed a few days ago. Yesterday it had faded to this

while another bulb - just opened - showed the true color

Today that second bulb is fading fast

I bought a new little crinum from the Travis County Master Gardeners tent at the Zilker Park Garden Festival a couple of months ago. This is Crinum oliganthum, a dwarf Caribbean variety. The beautiful flower lasted one day.

Passalong Crocosmia came from Austin friend Martha in 2008 and were planted in front of one of the 'Acoma' crepe myrtles. They've declined in that spot so I moved a few bulbs nearer the patio arch and watched them thrive. I'm not sure what makes this spot better, but I love the orange Crocosmia with the violet Calibrachoa! 

The sweet name fooled me into planting Angelonia in a sheltered spot when I last bought it. That plant bloomed a wishy-washy pink but this gleaming Angel can take very strong sun & heat. I took a photo with the thermometer at 107°F and the sun still blazing on the container.

The blue plumbago does not like prolonged cold spells - they can knock it down to the ground - but these last days of 100°F, 105°F and 107°F haven't discouraged it one bit. The color hasn't faded, either.

Has the heat changed the color of my newest crepe myrtle? Is it really the 'Muskogee' that the label promised or do I have an imposter? I've wanted that variety for years after seeing it bloom around Austin, especially after Pam/Digging planted one in her front garden and the flowers looked a lot like the lilacs I grew in Illinois. I bought a 'Muskogee' in 2011 but it didn't do much last year. This June it is finally in bloom, but the flowers don't look like lilacs to me - they look almost exactly the color of Mexican Oregano.

Planting at this time of year may not be wise, but I did it anyway... we'll see if I get away with it. One of the hypertufa troughs was planted with snapdragons. They looked good for months but last week did them in so they needed to be replaced. Maybe this portulaca from Barton Springs Nursery will do OK, and if the Dicliptera suberecta lives the hummingbirds will be happy. Jewels of Opar is a new plant for me - it has a reputation as an opportunistic reseeder so I've been hesitant so far, but the variegated kind was irresistible.   

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


  1. I would certainly fade in that heat. Wow. Try to keep cool Annie. We are having a cool spell here. only 70degrees.

  2. 107?!?! Oh...my...goodness! I'm impressed that many of your plants look fresh and happy in that heat. I'm wilting just thinking about it!

  3. Thanks Kim & Lisa! I stuck to the plants with some afternoon shade - they seem to do the best. You wouldn't want to see no photos of the pitiful stuff in full SW sun. Even the native plants are unhappy up there today.

    Seventy for a high in June? That doesn't sound right either... although I do remember wearing jackets to see fireworks up north. I hope you have some fun on the Fourth!


  4. Somehow I expect anything the color of crocosmia to survive our heat, but glad to see the pastel shades of amarcrinum and the delicate looking Angelonia are also survivors (first time I've heard of either, so they're going on my list). The past week was pretty brutal, but thank goodness for a little rain this morning.

  5. Hi Amy,
    The other patch of crocosmia got afternoon sun - this patch gets morning sun/afternoon shade. You see it in Mediterranean gardens, so I think the exposure is the difference.
    The Angelonia surprised me, and when a branch was accidentally cracked off & brought inside, the flowers stayed fresh in a vase for a long time.

    I love the Amarcrinum! It has a delicate scent that teases at my memory - some kind of old-fashioned soap or cologne, maybe? But they are definitely a Slow Gardening plant. I bought the bulbs a dozen years ago & had them in a pot for ages before planting them near the back wall around 2007. I can usually count on one flower stalk every year but right now there are TWO stalks on one of the plants... yay!


  6. It is amazing to me that anything survives . You have so much . I guess there are later flowering day lilies because mine flowered and finished weeks ago. I would love them to last all summer. As you plumbago loves the heat and I love it.

    1. Hi Rock Rose,
      Most of my daylilies make one set of blooms and then quit for the year, but that little 'Vi's Apricot' is a recross of 'Stella D'Oro' and has the reblooming genes of its parent. In years when the weather is not too terribly hot & dry, this daylily can have 4 or 5 bloom cycles. But it dwindled terribly in summer 2011. I don't want to lose it!



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