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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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Tuesday, July 03, 2018

May 2018 Garden Scrapbook

It’s already July. The temperature is around 100°F every day, the world is a mess and good friends are in the hospital and/or rehab. So what can I do?
I can’t march but I can be registered to vote. I can send contributions to the food bank and Beto and RAICES. I can make phone calls to people in rehab. I can work on my songs. And I can still put up garden photos once in awhile. Here are a few from May.

A yellow warbler stopped by on May 3rd. Some of the little birds like to hop around the bottom of the birdbath fountain… maybe they feel safer there? They sometimes sip from the side of the stone.

Tiny leaves appeared on the over-wintered Musical Notes clerodendron/Clerodendrum incisa on May 10th. Every spring I watch and wait and wonder if this will be the year it stays dormant and doesn’t wake up. That will no doubt happen some spring but it’s alive this year!

By May 11th both the pomegranate and the pineapple guava were in bloom. When they flower together the secret garden is gorgeous and gaudy. Unfortunately they never do make any fruit (the orchardist equivalent of All Hat and No Cattle?) but what lovely hats.

A couple of days later the fragrant double Mock Orange was in bloom. A decade ago I carried a tiny rooted piece from my parents’ home in Illinois here to my Texas garden. Their house belongs to other people now but I have this sweet memory.

I had an Oak Leaf Hydrangea in Illinois 20 years ago and am glad I tried it here. The shrub does well in partial shade but that comes with a side effect in my yard. The pecan trees create shade but they also drop vast amounts of spent pollen tassels on everything under their canopy.

Most of the daylilies had flowers but the number of stalks and blooms was half of what they can do in a good year. 'Best of Friends’ is pleasing even with fewer stalks and flowers.

Before snapping this photo I should have groomed the daylily by removing the spent flower. This is ‘Echo Canyon’ and it’s a spider daylily.

 Did you watch or read about any of the Royal Wedding? Some articles mentioned the components of Meghan Markle’s bouquet as being myrtle. My dwarf Greek myrtle had quarter-sized flowers in bloom that day. I think the myrtle grown in England is slightly different but this variety can survive in Austin, it’s fragrant and pretty and bouquet-worthy!

 The original division of this Shasta daisy came from a dear friend fifteen years ago. 

Last year I noticed a small shrubby plant that had popped up in a border. It looked vaguely familiar so I let it grow until fall. After it went dormant I chopped it down to 12 inches. The plant woke up, made leaves and by May 28th a few flowers had opened. So far it looks like an American Beautyberry/ Callicarpa americana but I’m not sure yet. Will this gift from the birds be a good gift or a bad surprise? 

This post May 2018 Garden Scrapbook was written by Annie in Austin for her Transplantable Rose blog

Saturday, June 02, 2018

April 2018 Garden Scrapbook

April 2018 Garden Scrapbook

April Fool! Here’s what is left of that viola bowl.

The is the first time two blooms were open at the same time on these pale yellow Louisiana iris. They make a lot of leaves and take up a lot of space but are stingy with bloom.

The white eye ring makes me pretty sure this cute bird is a Nashville Warbler. They’re not here all year but they’re here for a lot of the year.

Iris and columbine – a favorite combination.

The unscented native Mock Orange (Philadelphus inodorus) was spectacular this spring, and even prettier with a swallowtail butterfly hovering.

At one time I had four clematis vines but I was not a good enough gardener to keep them alive. I’m grateful for the lovely no-name clematis that has survived.

This purple iris is usually the last of the bearded iris to bloom – this year it’s backed up by annual poppies and Coriander/Cilantro in bloom.

My Byzantine Gladiolus is a treasured passalong from a friend in the old part of Austin.

Against my advice, a pair of cardinals made a nest in the Lady Banks rose, two feet from the patio table, not far from the birdbath fountain. The male cardinal then attempted to chase every blue jay from the area. 

Since the Lesser Goldfinches are here all year long we sometimes take them for granted. When visitors get all excited to see them we remember how special they are. 

In the middle of April I saw a lone Monarch fluttering around one bed. Most of the milkweed froze and the few surviving milkweed plants were just starting to regrow. After checking out the bluebonnets the butterfly left.

Third week in April and the pecans are putting out leaves and pollen tassels… goodbye Sun.

After the green bowl smashed I rescued the violas and put them into a hanging basket. In the third week of April I added a hot pink calibrachoa.

Our pomegranate tree had a lot of blooms this year. We’ve never had a single pomegranate fruit – will this be the year we do?

Larkspur reseeds every year but the number of plants keeps going down as the garden matures and the sunny spots shrink.

The climbing mini-rose is called Red Cascade and it’s a real trooper.

Tiny wildflower Venus’ Looking Glass deserves a closeup photo.

When the hard freezes came most of the developing loquat fruits dropped off the tree. Only these three loquats matured. It’s OK – while I like the fruit, I like the tree more.

This post “April 2018 Garden Scrapbook” was written by Annie in Austin for her Transplantable Rose blog.    

Monday, May 14, 2018

March 2018 Garden Scrapbook

Bulbs of Leucojum aestivum AKA Snowflakes showed up in Costco a few autumns back. Adding a bag to the cart turned out to be a brilliant decision. They get fuller and more beautiful every spring.

Late freezes often kill the buds of Texas Mountain Laurels before they ever open – this year we were lucky and the purple, scented blooms were abundant. Hot spells often ruin the blossoms soon after they open – this year we were lucky and moderate weather let them bloom for the longest time I can remember.

The bluebonnet seedlings began to bloom in the second week of March. Bloom was helped by some hand-watering - late winter and spring were dryer than normal.

The entire top half of the Meyer’s Improved Lemon tree had frozen back and was definitely dead. When my daughter came to visit she picked up the big loppers.

The other half of the tree should be OK. The branches releafed but no flower buds appeared.

I first saw this unusually colored bird in January and managed to catch a photo in March. The knowledgeable birders on Twitter confirmed my guess that it is a partially leucistic chickadee.  

This was a good spring for all types of iris. Some heirlooms that had barely bloomed in 2017 were lovely in 2018. I’ve had this fragrant peach iris since 2001 and have shared divisions with Divas of the Dirt friends and fellow Austin bloggers. It’s fun to see it blooming in their photos!

We put this bench near the Magnolia figo. For a few weeks at the end of March and beginning of April it’s a pleasure to sit and smell the banana magnolia flowers

Before the pecans leaf out the back yard has sun. Many of the plants under the canopy rush into bloom before the shadows descend. 

This post, March 2018 Garden Scrapbook was written by Annie in Austin for her Transplantable Rose blog.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

January-February 2018 Garden Scrapbook

The indoor plants showed color in January – the garden was green and brown.

I’m glad I took this photo of the violas on the windowsill. That green bowl planter was a favorite and it’s gone now. After it went out in spring, some critter (cat? squirrel? raccoon?)  pushed it off the table to shatter on the concrete patio.

Can we still call it a Christmas cactus if it blooms in mid-January?

By the end of the month the self-seeded bluebonnets were growing. This one spouted in the joint of a wooden step where it would be both noticed and trod upon

We had some very cold days in January – down to 15°F early one morning. The Meyer’s Improved Lemon was not improved by this freeze. Looks like another year without lemons.

But a hardy little self-seeded violet bloomed at the end of the month.

A few days later the February camellia gave a preview of coming glory.

By mid-February the Loropetalum frills were out.

By the end of February what was left of the Carolina Jessamine showed buds. Poor thing was once gorgeous, but its corner of the garden is now too shady.

Also by the end of February the earliest camellia flower were falling apart while new buds kept opening.

The Spring show is just a few weeks ahead!

This post “January-February 2018 Garden Scrapbook” was written by Annie in Austin for her Transplantable Rose blog.