About Me
My Photo
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.
View my complete profile

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Chilly January GBBD with Foliage Added

May Dreams Carol started Garden Bloggers Bloom Day in February 2007 and I joined in right away. Sometimes I've skipped a few months and sometimes I put a list on Annie's Addendum without a post. A funny thing happened... taking bloom photos around the 15th of the month has become a habit. Even when there was no post or list on the blog, it's quite likely that I have taken pictures, images stored in a file, ready to inform and remind me what happened that month.

The weather has been chilly for Austin - not unreasonably cold but with enough freezing nights to knock off tender plants. I wasn't sure it was worth going out to take photos yesterday. The inside plants had flowers... wasn't that enough?

In April 2006 I took an out-the-window photo past a potted florist geranium, Pelargonium 'Fantasia Salmon' on the sill. A few months later I started the Transplantable Rose & that geranium has popped up on many a bloom day.

This is the same geranium today - woody but still blooming.

My Divas of the Dirt friend Mindy gave me a cutting from her florist-type Kalanchoe in summer 2009. The cutting took, grew, and has turned into two medium-sized plants. One grows on the windowsill with the geranium and some blooming basil stalks that have rooted in water.

This is the first time the Kalanchoe made buds and I don't know what color the flowers will be - maybe red?

The Andean Silver Sage AKA Salvia discolor didn't do much all summer, but I liked it enough to bring it inside in late November. Since then there have been a few flushes of light bloom... such tiny flowers and quite sticky foliage, but what a wonderful sort of violet-navy color up close.

Mother of Thousands is another kind of Kalanchoe - it's viviparous or live-bearing, with tiny plants forming on the edges of some leaves, ready to drop & start more. The original plant came from my friend Carole about 10-years ago and although it's long gone, there are always a few new plants-in-progress. In places like Florida they can be invasive, but we seem to have enough cold weather to keep them from living too long. One plant growing in the ground outside had reached 7-feet tall at the beginning of December and was in bud, but a freeze hit just as it was ready to bloom. This one was in a clay pot so I could bring it inside to open. 

Well, it was still cold so I aimed the camera out the window at a basket of pansies that don't mind a few freezes.

I could see something red from the window and took the camera outside. Although this 'Pius IX' camellia had no flowers in winter 2010-11 or 2011-12, this winter it formed about 20 buds. A few are open now, and if the weather stays moderate, there are a dozen left. It was an inexpensive 1-gallon shrub in fall 2001, bought as an experiment, to see if it could grow in a deck container at the previous house. After it was planted in this yard in 2005, it hasn't thrived, but it didn't die, and sometimes it blooms.  

The white camellia had a lot of buds - here is one in bloom. Most of the buds fell off - probably not from cold but because worms had blocked up the drainage hole in the container. I don't know if the roots of this 'Morning Glow' can recover.

The shrimp plant is still blooming away in the Secret Garden- happy for the recent rains and standing straighter as the strong winter sun filters through the now-bare branches of the fig tree overhead.

Up close you can see frost damage to the blooms, but if I leave my glasses inside the flowers look pretty good. 

Maybe there are too many photos of Mexican honeysuckle on this blog, but if it's in flower, I can't resist posting them. The leaves are getting pale now - if it gets much colder the top of the plant will freeze off.

 Now for the Foliage Followup.. something started by Pam Penick of the Digging blog for the 16th of the month. 

My Divas of the Dirt friend Mindy has given me many starts of many plants in addition to the ready-to-bloom Kalanchoe above. The other day I photographed a group that had all come from Mindy. The Cuban Oregano was started from cuttings but the Mother of Thousands and yet another kind of Kalanchoe, Donkey Ears/Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri came to me as tiny plantlets attached to a leaf edge.

 Before the small hypertufa trough came outside for winter it had two of the tiny plantlets attached as you can see in this photo from early December.

Thanks, Mindy!

You can find a complete list of everything I could find with a flower on it, written with my best try at correct botanical names, over at Annie's Addendum, the companion blog to the Transplantable Rose.

If you want to see a camellia growing where it should grow (South Carolina) and looking fabulous, head over to the Tales from the Laboratory blog to see 'Mary Wheeler'.

Carol has a roundup of blog posts for GBBD at her May Dreams Blog - have fun seeing what happens in other gardens and on other windowsills in January.