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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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Monday, April 27, 2009

Through the Garden Gate, Monday April 27, 2009

Cindy From My Corner of Katy had an interesting idea a few weeks ago, to take a look though her garden gate every Monday. When she asked her readers to share the views from their gates, Robin from Get Grounded joined in. I'm not organized enough to do this very often, Cindy, but I'd like to join in today.

If you've got time for a fast spin around the back yard, grab the handle and swing open the gate.

Look to the right, and the last flowers on the tall pink climbing rose lean down, tempting you to see if they have a scent. (They do!)

Look to the left and you see a long border along the fence, anchored by two 'Acoma' crepe myrtles. They're now fully leafed out but aren't showing buds yet. You can see a wooden framework in the vegetable patch along the back fence - those tomatoes and peppers better hurry and make fruit fast before the heat settles in and gets them.

Colors like yellows and violets and silvers and whites hang out along the fence on our left, punctuated by orange and purples. The creamy yellow Bicolor iris and buttery yellow 'Julia Child' rose both have flowers and this week we see another flower in a sharper yellow hue.
It's the small reblooming daylily 'Happy Returns', looking pretty bouncy, with 'Perfume Deep Purple' Nicotiana and Setcreasea/"Purple Heart" behind it.
Now pivot and turn right, and you'll see the long axis of the back garden. The two triangle beds cut across the axis at center left and the fountain, herb troughs, umbrella table and chairs cluster on the patio in the middle right. Look hard and you might see a bright spot of color way back past the garden shed under the partially leafed-out pecans.

Let's walk to that end to take a closer look - the red is in the bulb bed against the opposite fence. A few years ago I rounded up Amaryllis bulbs leftover from previous holidays, remnants of Easter lilies, stray oxalis, hitchhiking gladiolis and occasional bargain bulb 'rescues' and stuck them all into this well-drained, raised bed. Sometimes the bulbs just send up leaves, sometimes they disappear and sometimes they bloom. Four of the amaryllis have bloom stalks this week.

We'll turn around and head back with the shady back fence on our right. Oh, look at the poor Michelia figo/Banana shrub, valiantly trying to recover from that fierce hailstorm on March 25th. Damaged leaves are dropping, but new ones are forming.
Just past the Michelia a passalong Siberian iris is in bloom. There are only a few flowers left today but I caught the clump at its peak last week.

This is not a large garden -just a 12-foot jog to the left can land you near the patio. A couple of flowers decorate the Pineapple guava in the terracotta pot. The
hail drastically pruned the Coral honeysuckle, stripping off many leaves and all open flowers. Over the last month it's recovered well enough to lightly rebloom.

Oh, look! Down in the gravel at the base of the arch there are unexpected leaves and a flower. I was sure the squirrels ate the Tulipa clusiana bulbs when nothing appeared by mid-April. They're so late they should be Tulipa tarda, instead. But tardy does not mean unwelcome!

We're heading back now, past Philo's yellow chair, past the smaller triangle bed with those tenacious yellow snapdragons, past the Spanish lavender and the Sweet lavender, and past the larger triangle bed with the 'Little Gem' Magnolia.

Some buds are swelling on the magnolia now - with luck these remaining flowers can open normally. Although the hail didn't knock all leaves completely off the tree, it sure left them looking ragged.

Out the gate we go, past a hanging basket planted with a Calabrachoa in bright, desert-y colors.
Your car's in the drive, hidden around the corner on your left, past the Pink Entrance Garden. But do you really have to leave? A hummingbird zoomed next to my ear when I was snapping off spent blossoms from those fragrant purple iris. If we sit on the bench sipping coffee and tea, he might come back.


  1. I love the garden tour! Almost as good as a real one, but not quite. Of course I got the good company part of a tour yesterday, didn't I?! Love the Siberian Irises and the Daylilies and the Amaryllis. I can't wait to plant your white irises - I'm so excited. Between yours and Pam's I've thought of a place where I can make an iris bed - I have a hole that's perfect for them. If we don't have tornadoes today, I might get on it.

  2. It was great to visit with you yesterday and to get a virtual garden tour this morning. Life is good, Annie.

  3. I enjoyed the tour. What is it about a garden gate that is so alluring? The promise of what lies behind it, I'm sure!

  4. That open garden gate picture is very alluring, Annie, I have to agree with Phillip. What a great tour, and what a nice addition to the wonderful tours we had on Sunday. Thank you again for the Irises, I have places reserved for them just waiting. I have company coming, so I won't do a "TTGG" tour today on my blog, but hopefully I'll join back in next Monday. Thanks for letting me visit!

  5. How wonderful to see a Tulipa clusiana so late in the season. Mine have been gone a month and all the foliage has already died down.

    Nor am I doing any better with my 'Little Gem' magnolia. Despite being one of the few plants I faithfully watered during the drought, it keeps dropping its leaves and looks pretty pathetic. I don't expect it to last the year.

    I love the deep color of those Siberian irises.

    I'm eyeing spots to plant the corkscrew willow and the crocosmia you gave me yesterday. The brugmansia you gave me last fall has two flowers on it today. Thanks. Thanks. Thanks.

  6. What a treat! First I get to tour gardens with you yesterday and now I see your garden today. Very pretty, Annie! Your Siberian iris is so beautiful. I must get some of my own. Hope they like limestone hills. ;-)

  7. I can just imagine being there, seeing it all, and then joining you at the patio table to sip some iced tea and enjoy a few appetizers.

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  8. Thanks for the tour- it was wonderful to see a path we might take if walking through with you. Missed seeing you yesterday.

  9. What fun going through your garden gate. Everything is looking good.

  10. Thanks for inviting us along on this tour, Annie. I'd love to stay and sit on the bench with a cup of coffee, waiting for a sight of the hummingbirds. I tend to wilt in the heat, so I'm glad you invited us while it's still spring:)

    The tulipa clusiana are so pretty; I've never seen anything like these before. So glad your gardens seem to be recovering from the hail you had.

  11. Oh Annie, what a wonderful garden tour! It was almost like being there!--Randy

  12. I so enjoyed this garden visit...I love getting more and more of a feel for other gardens. Your daylilies are way ahead of mine! It would be so much fun to actually get to sit on that bench...maybe some day!

  13. Annie, I very much enjoyed my visit to your garden! I hope it's still looking that pretty after yesterday's severe weather. The storms that came through here in the wee small hours of the morning were more intense than any I've ever experienced. I'm going to post about it later today.

  14. I forgot to say, I LOVE Philo's yellow chair!

  15. Hi Annie.
    What a fun way to lead us around your garden. I felt like I was walking around it! The "garden gate" has always intrigued me, ever since I read "The Secret Garden" as a child.

    There is one garden in Austin that I pass every day that has a rather large fence around it. I always wonder what is behind it because the house is so "Mexican funky" (complete with bright blue mexican roof tiles) and the owners spray-paint their lawn!..I know there has to be some suprises behind that garden gate.
    Sorry to have missed you at the recent get together.

  16. Hi Annie,
    What a great tour of your garden ... it looks more like summer to me than spring (in comparison)! Our tulips are on the cusp of blooming now, we're that far behind this year (again).

    Love it when you mention that Julia Child rose ... have you heard there is a film coming out this summer called Julie and Julia starring La STREEP? I saw a photo of her in the role and she looks perfect! (Even though Meryl is 5'9" and Julia was 6'4" lol.) I will be making Fernymoss go out to see that one if I have to drag him with me... sounds too fun to miss!

  17. A wonderful tour Annie...It's amazing how varied the geography is in Austin from garden to garden! Our geography is more similar then different here in Nashville. I can't think of anything nicer then tea with you while we waited for the hummingbird to return~~gail

  18. Thanks, Diana - yes, Sunday was quite a wonderful tour day! Have fun planting iris.

    What a treat it was to hang out with Austin gardenbloggers and visit both Jill Nokes & RockRose Jenny in one day. You make good things happen, Pam/Digging!

    This is the first real garden gate I've ever had Phillip - the promise and possibilities were apparent when we first saw the house. Glad you came.

    It was fun to see you, Robin of GetGrounded - the trailing lantana from you is still in its pot. Have fun with the guests.

    Maybe I hadn't watered the tulips enough, MSS of Zanthan, and the recent rains woke them up?
    Maybe the 'Little Gem' is just doing its normal every-other-year leaf drop?
    It amazes me that the baby brug I gave you is already in bloom, while the parent never blooms until late summer!

    It sure was fun to see you, but this Siberian iris would probably hate limestone hills, Dawn! This one is planted in a 'good' part of my yard and gets regular handwatering.

    For you I'll make Green Tea, Carol, and maybe some Spinach Artichoke Dip?

    Missed you too, Bonnie - so am glad to visit your blog!

    Thanks for coming Lisa at Greenbow - please come again.

    The big tulips don't do so well here, Prairie Rose - have to chill them so they're fooled into thinking they've lived through winter. These small species tulips are supposed to bloom & return in Austin.
    It will be coffee for me, too!

    Thanks, Randy - would love a real one of your garden!

    Hi Leslie, and Thank You. Cindy's long view idea seemed like fun after all the close-ups for Blooming Day.

    We've had off-on rain the last few days with drizzly, heavy humid air, Cindy from Katy, but nothing like the Toad-Strangler you had!
    The garden is green and growing with mildew showing up now.
    Philo made the chair a couple of year ago - also made me a green bench.

    The Secret Garden has probably inspired generations of children like you, EastSidePatch, but I didn't read it until I was in my 40's. But somewhere as a child learned about garden gates.
    I'm sorry you didn't make it - hope there will be other chances!

    Your tulips don't seem late to me, Iowa Victory Gardener - first two weeks of May was primetime in Illinois.
    There's been lots of Twittering about both the movie and the book of "Julie and Julia". I've been a Meryl Streep fan forever (just rewatched her in "Postcards From the Edge"), and have enjoyed the young Amy Adams in quite a few movies - loved her in "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day".
    Julie and Julia is on my absolute must-see list, too.

    Hi Gail - you should see how mixed the soil maps for Central Texas look in the books - several areas meet here in the middle. And now that we in Austin have people posting rainfall amounts on blogs and twitter it's obvious there are wide variations there, too!
    Please come - I'll make tea!

    Thanks for the comments,


  19. Hi again Annie,
    I've been warming back up to La Streep since Devil Wears Prada and Prairie Home Companion and one of these days I'm going to be evil and rent Mama Mia on your recommendation, though it will drive Fernymoss from the house, lol. Do you remember Meryl from way back in Annie Hall? Man, she was nasty in that one! And at such a young age! LOL

    I like what I've seen of Amy Adams too, and was especially impressed with Junebug. See that one if you haven't already, it's a good little film....

  20. Thanks for the delightful tour. It's good to see that your poor plants are recovering from the barrage of hail.
    I used to have the same Daylily, 'Happy Returns,' but I put it in a container, and after a bad winter, it never returned. Then again, a piece of it might still be out there in the border, ready to stage a comeback.

  21. I really enjoyed the tour of your garden. That bulb bed in the back is what makes ME jealous! Imagine being able to put amaryllises right out into the ground and leave them there! On the other hand, I get to have lots of daffodils and tulips.

    I may just have to join you in this Through the Garden Gate tour idea. The question is, which gate? I'd love to be buzzed by one of your hummingbirds, mine like my petunias, coral bells, hosta blossoms, salvia, butterfly bush and all the rest. They get pretty bold when they see you all the time.

  22. I like this garden gate tour idea, and it certainly shows off how green your garden is right now and how the spaces fit together. Your front yard beds have really filled in since I've last seen them!

    It's just too bad that if I were to participate, you'd witness all of the parts of the garden I don't photograph on purpose, like the giant piles of mulch and fill dirt and potted half-dead trees waiting their turns in the front yard project. Maybe I can convince people it's conceptual art, but really, it's more like the art of reminding the gardener that her hardscaping work is never freaking done!

  23. I saw Katy's and I'm going to try to get that going soon...I loved the tour of your space and the hostess was charming!

  24. Annie, I wanted to come back and thank you for the comment on my post about blogging time. You made an interesting point I hadn't even considered--the number of blogs I read has grown exponentially since I started blogging. Unless it's a rainy day and I have nothing else to do, it's impossible to keep up with all of them regularly. That's why I like people who only post once or twice a week--it makes it a lot easier for me to keep up:)

  25. What a nice tour, and thank you!

    I like those tulips - and I'm hoping that siberian irises that I transplanted from my mother's garden do okay in my SC one...seeing yours made me feel optimistic, so thank you!

    Hope you're having a nice Friday evening.

  26. Annie, what a lovely visit! Thank you for inviting us in for a stroll, and yes, I would love to sit a spell and see if that Hummer will come back.

  27. Oh, that was a very fun tour of the garden through your garden gate, Annie! I hope that you do it again sometime--it would be fun to see how the "long views" change through the seasons. :)

    And I hope that the magnolia does bloom magnificently for you, in spite of the hail damage!

  28. That was a very relaxing and enjoyable tour, thank you!

  29. Oh, Annie, it's beautiful, and I loved going on the tour. I'll have to do that sometime too. Happy spring and almost summer there to you.~~Dee

  30. Hi yourself, IVG - but I didn't say you should watch Mamma Mia - just said I loved it! We saw Junebug as soon as it hit DVD and enjoyed it. Recent DVD's were Pineapple Express and Milk.

    Some plants are able to outgrow the damage, Mr McGregor's Daughter - the evergreens might look bad for 2 years :-[
    Happy Returns was one I grew & left in Illinois. Didn't realize I missed the color until it showed up at a local nursery. Hope yours surprises you!

    The amaryllis can grow in the ground here, HealingMagicHands, but they have much rougher lives than when growing indoors...snails, squirrels, hail, frost!
    Guess you'll have to rotate gates on different posts? The hummingbirds seem to like the tall blue Salvias like Black & Blue and S guaranitica - no bold ones yet.

    It's Cindy's idea, Lori - bet she'd love for you to join. And I didn't show you everything, either!

    Thanks, Conscious Gardener - hope you do it, too.

    Hello again, Rose - there were so few garden blogs in 2005 that we readers would keep checking back in hopes of a new post. Now can't keep up with just the local blogs - I I counted over 30 garden blogs just from the greater AUSTIN area.
    Rose, if you're looking for a not-too-frequent poster, count on me!

    The siberians have had more blooms each year, Pam - hope the compost, extra water, seaweed, and some afternoon shade keep them going!

    You're welcome, Morning Glories in Round Rock - the hummer was here this morning for Philo, but I missed him!

    One of these days I'll put a drawing of the lot, Blackswamp Kim - the word long does belong in quotation marks ;-]
    The magnolia flowers aren't perfect, but they smell wonderful.

    You're welcome, Lisa - bet spring is making things pop in Wisconsin!

    Thanks Dee/Reddirtramblings - it would be even more fun to walk through your real garden gate and smell all those roses. Happy May Days to you, too.

    Thanks for the comments!


  31. I hope there's room left on the bench for me to squeeze in for a cup of coffee and a chat, Annie! I'd love to hear a hummer whiz by my ear :) They should be here any day now.
    The long shots of your garden are so satisfying. I love the close-ups of Bloom Day, but it's good to see "the whole", or parts thereof, every so often. It gives me a feel for "where you live". You have such a lovely, homey garden. I can just imagine you and Philo pottering in it happily :)

  32. All this green :)

    You should visit my blog, it talks about french food, i give recipes and all ^^

    And sorry for my english ><
    Byee (k)

  33. We run a small garden blog, and we were wondering if we could use that picture of 'swing open the gate' for a small picture in our header. We figured we probably ought to ask first. If that's okay with you, could you please let me know? Thanks. (ann[dot]winings[at]yahoo[dot]com)

  34. Thank you for liking the photo, Ann, but this really is a small garden blog - with one person spending nearly 4 years taking, formatting and posting photos of what I know, experience and see.

    What would be the point of your posting a photo of some one else's garden entrance on your personal blog? Please do not use my photo.



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