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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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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Still Posting After All These Years

This post, Still Posting After All These Years, was written by Annie in Austin for her Transplantable Rose blog

The Transplantable Rose turned eight years old last week. Eight years is long enough for two presidential terms. Eight years covers all the grades in an old-fashioned grammar school, and is also long enough to change a 13-year-old child into a fully-fledged, 21-year-old adult.
Did my blog change in eight years? The format changed as Blogger evolved but that’s about all. 

But blogging did change something in this blogger’s mind and habits.

Before the Transplantable Rose ever started I took a reasonable number of garden photos, sometimes emailing them to family & friends in other states. After joining millions of other people and starting the blog on June 7, 2006, I took more photos, sometimes with a specific post in mind… sometimes “just in case”. Beginning in February 2007, there were a disproportionate number of photos taken around the 15th of each month due to May Dreams Carol and her Garden Blogger Bloom Day meme.

The number of posts on the Transplantable Rose goes up slowly now, but the number of photos has increased. Maybe this has also happened to you? It seems our cameras and camera phones and memory cards have become the main way to record and remember everything.

A random dip into my image files pulls up thousands of mostly mediocre digital images of family & friends, local events, images of baked goods, a snap of the plate after trying a new recipe, beautiful flowers, ugly flowers, clouds, interesting insects and animals, hailstorms, tomatoes from the garden, squirrels, flowering shrubs, receipts, birds, rain falling from the veranda, rain in rain gauges, rain running down rain chains, rain drops on flowers, flowering trees, stages of home improvement, etc. etc. etc.
Even a crummy photo can be invaluable for reminding us where and when something happened.

Blogiversary is a silly word, but maybe a useful one. I had no time to write a post for the June 7th date - two genealogy projects had taken over my life. But taking a picture is fast, so there are photos taken over the past eleven days, and they fit into the usual June categories. Beautiful flowers, tomatoes, interesting animals, flowering shrubs, and squirrels

Two passalong plants from Pam/Digging fill this photo – that’s ‘Peter’s Purple’ Monarda with the daylily ‘Best of Friends’. I like both plants very much as individuals and they’re doing well in this bed. But looking at the color clash in this photo makes me wish I had a better spot for ‘Best of Friends’

Hidden behind ‘Best of Friends’ is ‘Prairie Blue Eyes’ – perfect with the monarda, but a much less robust daylily.

Hemerocallis citrina, the scented, citron daylily, is a pale lemon color that goes with almost anything. But it doesn’t open until day is almost done, and the flowers close as the sun comes up.

As always we’ve had to fight for every tomato and are not winning the battle. Birds and squirrels got at least 2/3 of the fruit in spite of using bird nets and picking the fruit green to ripen inside.

A few days ago this one was ours – this 14oz Black Krim tomato turned from green to dark red inside. It was  interesting outside

And absolutely delicious inside.

In Illinois a perennial started out small. The majority survived, bulked up over a few years, were divided, moved around and shared. In Central Texas, perennials are often purchased, a few survive to be divided, but around half of them begin to decline after 3 or 4 years and then choose death over life in Austin.  (If you doubt this, come over and I’ll show you my plant spreadsheets.)
As a result I really, really appreciate the reseeding annuals like Bluebonnets, Nemophila/Baby Blue Eyes, Brazos Penstemon/ Penstemon tenuis, annual Poppies, French Hollyhocks/Malva sylvestris ‘Zebrina’,  Verbena bonariensis, Salvia coccinea/Hummingbird sages, Larkspur, orange Cosmos, Datura, tropical milkweed Asclepias curassavica, Blue Pea vine, Cypress vine… each in turning add spice to the garden from early spring until frost. I like to add a few starter plants of Calibrachoa/Million Bells and Angelonia to the mix. Here’s one of the triangle beds:

One perennial that did survive is the Hardy hibiscus- AKA Rose Mallow - named ‘Blue River II’ for its origin along the Blue River in Oklahoma. The flowers are large and pure white, but only last one day. With more ground moisture the plant is doing well this June. A photo of ‘Blue River II’ appeared in my first post – this one bloomed yesterday and I liked how translucent it looked with the sun coming through from the back of the flower.

An anole on the burgundy-leaved canna caught my eye but he was pretty far away –

As I approached he hopped onto a nearby post. I clicked the button just before he jumped into the foliage. The photo wasn’t good or special, but zooming in on the image showed something interesting… his tail was brown instead of green. This article makes it seem likely that this lizard’s original tail was damaged and the replacement is made differently.

Rose ‘Julia Child’, so abundantly in bloom in April, was deadheaded and now has a second flush of flowers. The heat didn’t hit until June and we’ve had some rain so some larkspurs are still alive to add a blue-violet contrast to the butter yellow. And something about this year’s weather has encouraged blooms on the purple coneflowers - looking almost normal instead of the wimpy plants of recent years.
Success with ‘Peter’s Purple’ Monarda made me want to try another monarda with mildew resistance that showed up at the Natural Gardener – this is ‘Jacob Cline’. So far, so good!

The ‘Peter’s Purple’ monarda/Beebalm bloomed for weeks then started to look ratty. It’s been deadheaded and there are new flowerheads forming in the axils.

The Rose of Sharon grew taller and had many flowers this year but every photo I took looked bad. Yesterday morning I saw the shrub shaking violently so I grabbed the camera and went out. My archenemy was comfortably encamped in the center of the Rose of Sharon, picking and munching the flowers. I’ve had no luck stopping squirrels from eating tomatoes and flowers, and he’ll never have to answer for those crimes in court, but I can’t stop using the camera to gather evidence.

This post, Still Posting After All These Years, was written by Annie in Austin for her Transplantable Rose blog


  1. I started using Feedly a while back to keep track of blogs I follow, but realized this evening I hadn't signed on to it for weeks. So, I signed on and up pops this marvelous post. Thanks as always, Annie, for sharing your garden and insight into gardening. And congrats on eight years of blogging!

    1. Thanks, Carol - it's always good to hear from you! As to the Feedly - maybe you're psychic?

  2. Your yard is as lovely as ever.

  3. Love your yard. Love that Jacob Cline - I'll have to look for it at the nurseries. I do wish the maroon beebalm I saw in Pennsylvania would grow down here - we saw it at the B&B we stayed at in Dutch Country and I was smitten with it. Then Peter's Purple came out and it was all good - but I would like some different colors than just the purple which I have all over the place.

    1. Thanks, Katina.
      I quite like the color of Jacob Cline. I tried to grow Monarda over & over in TX with no luck until Peter's Purple. Although I'm not crazy about the fluorescent magenta, it's great to have monarda again and the hummingbirds are glad, too.

  4. Happy Blogiversary. Yes...that is an interesting word. But, appropriate. Eight years....
    Your garden looks great. Mine is so behind the Austin gardens. Catching up, though.
    Glad to know deadheading the monarda is working. The one I got from Bob Beyer is really doing well, but is looking that little bit ratty.
    Good luck with your ongoing battle with the squirrels. They're pesky little devils.

    1. Thanks, Linda! My garden seems to lag about 5 or 6 days behind the central Austin gardens so I know what you mean.
      I hope to get another flush of flowers from Peter's Purple. It seems pretty established now, so if it gets really crummy I'll cut it down almost to ground level and maybe use some John's Recipe on it.
      Happy Summer!

  5. Oh, those naughty squirrels! Congratulations on blogging for 8 years. In the six years I've been blogging, I've seen so many bloggers come and go, that to stay with it that long is quite an accomplishment. It's interesting that you say perennials in Austin only live for a few years before they decline. I'm sure if I were to move anywhere else, I'd have to learn how to garden all over again! Great capture of the anole--now that's something we don't have in Illinois:)

    1. Hi Rose! I'm still learning - but the rules (and weather) change faster than I can learn.

      I don't remember seeing anoles in the wilds of Chicagoland, but they'd occasionally run across woodland paths when we were in Wisconsin state parks. We didn't call them anoles back then - the usual name was 'American chameleon'.


  6. Wow, eight years! Congratulations, you have a great garden blog. I do like to stop by for a visit to see what's coming along.I go back and forth and back again with the idea about planting roses and, naturally, after seeing yours, I want to put in a Lady Banks. May your garden withstand the heat of our Texas summer.

    1. Thanks RN - I love your blog.
      You might reconsider planting that Lady Banks - she is one high maintenance Lady unless you have an enormous area where she can ramble freely or you'll spend too much time pruning. Sometimes I wish this one were still in a big container!
      Happy August!

  7. Congratulations Annie/Kathy. I had never even turned a computer on until 2008 but I believe I'v read all your posts since then. My gardens are about 2 to 3 weeks behind yours so I look here to see the colors I don't have yet.

    1. That's pretty cool, Bob! Bet I've read almost all of your posts, too - your large country garden nearer to Texas wildlife is fun to read about.
      But I can't imagine not having a computer until 2008... I was introduced to garden bulletin boards around 1991, hopped on board and never looked back!

  8. I'm a bit late, but congratulations on your blogiversary. Your garden looks wonderful and that tomato - wow! Never seen anything quite like it :-) Interesting that the squirrels eat your Rose of Sharon. We don't get many squirrels around here now, since many of the trees that once surrounded our house are now gone, but we do see them occasionally and I've never seen them on or near our rose of sharon bushes.


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