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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, April 27, 2010

I'll Remember A.P. R. I. L.

Antique Rose Emporium

When my friend Diane Goode first proposed that we make a trip to the Antique Rose Emporium the year was 1999 and I still lived in Illinois. Diane was the relocator assigned to help our family move to Texas and as we drove around looking at houses, our shared love of gardening helped us bond. It took us 11 years to get there but the Antique Rose Emporium was ours last week! I cut a few roses from my no-name tall pink climber and brought them along in hopes the experts could ID it for me.An overcast day and 70°F was perfect for driving nearly 100 miles to stroll the grounds near Brenham, Texas. We stayed for hours...

...reveling in the beautiful setting, inhaling the rose-scented air and enjoying the fabulously lovely wedding area, as our red wagons gradually filled with must-have plants from red columbines to bedding geraniums to Batface Cuphea to Foxgloves to 'John Fanick' phlox.

You can't go to the Rose Emporium and come home without a rose! Diane bought a hybrid musk rose called 'Penelope' and I could not resist the creamy white 'Climbing Iceberg' . It was late afternoon when we left and headed to Brenham for lunch and pie. What a wonderful day!

Pink-splosion was promised by 'Belinda's Dream' and she's delivered! This rose came with many recommendations when I planted it in the dry spring of 2008, never guessing that the drought would go on for another year and a half. 'Belinda's Dream' made a few flowers now and then but was not that exciting. But since the drought broke last fall, she's become established- acting like the plain secretary in an old movie- taking off her glasses, shaking out her tresses and revealing that she's a beauty, after all.

Reyna De Los Coyolles We took the southerly route back from the rose emporium, veering toward Bastrop, with our destination a place Diane had found on Highway 21 in Cedar Creek. I think that "Reyna De Los Coyolles" might mean "Queen of the Cannas", but if anyone knows for sure please tell everyone in a comment.

This is a fascinating & unusual nursery spread out over several acres. There are displays of beautiful pots and quirky decorations:You will see fields of growing plants in bloom:

There are perennials, daylilies and bulbs with the names of plants seldom written on labels but kept in order inside the nurserywoman Heidi's head. If the exact botanical name is important to you, you may have to do some research after you get home, but the variety of plants is stunning! Some things are already growing in containers - some will be dug for you once you choose them. Diane was thrilled to find a plant she remembers from her childhood growing at this nursery - she's been seeking a Cashmere Bouquet Flower for years.

Choosing a Louisiana Iris had me in a tizzy - how could I have just one color when I wanted them all?
But my garden is small and a decision had to be made - blue? Butter yellow?I've wanted a pale yellow iris for some time so this pale yellow Louisiana iris was the winner:Heidi also had gladiolus and Pineapple lilies - had to try one of those....and yay! there was a row of turtle stepping stones in the same design as one bought for our patio a few years ago. We wanted two but could never find another until now.

I'm still regretting that I did NOT buy one of the white & green amaryllis. Guess we'll just have to go back!
Iris siberica-

My blue violet passalong made it through last summer in good shape but there were fewer flowers than last year -

Every single one was beautiful.

Late start for the Divas of the Dirt
in 2010 - our first project usually takes place in February, but this year we weren't able to garden together until April!

Please check out the Divas of the Dirt Blog where we make a front yard vegetable garden, redo the shade beds and have some wonderful food at Sophia's house.

Happy A P R I L!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, April 2010

It's April Garden Bloggers Bloom Day in Austin, Texas! Wasn't it easy to find my house after I reminded you to look for the big Mutabilis Rose with lavender blue creeping Phlox in front? (All photos should expand if you click on them.) Annieinaustin, mutabilis rose & phlox subulata

Watch out when you get out of the car - please don't step on any Blackfoot Daisies or Bluebonnets -you saw them in the wildflower video, remember? This Teucrium fruticans, Silver Germander just started to bloom for the first time. Annieinaustin, silver germander
Take a closer look at the mutabilis (or maybe you'd prefer its other name...Butterfly Rose)
annieinaustin, mutabilis rose closeup

and then cross the drive to the Pink Entrance Garden... sweet enough this April to make your teeth ache. Last fall I ran across a bag of 30 pink hybrid Ranunculus bulbs and there's been a Pink-splosion of Ranunculus with 'Telstar' Dianthus...

annieianaustin, ranunculus and dianthus
And with tall, fragrant purple iris & Bridal Wreath Spiraea

annieinaustin, purple iris & pink ranunculusThe unexpectedly sturdy Weigela 'Rumba' is more like a large woody perennial than the Cardinal Shrub Weigela of the North, but it blooms every spring and slowly increases in size.

Another pink-splosion may happen when 40 buds-in-waiting on the 'Belinda's Dream' rose unfurl their petals
Annieinaustin, Belindas Dream rosebud
Other bags of Ranunculus came in mixed colors - those primary colors look pretty wild when you come in the garden gate
Annieinaustin, long border
In other years I've tried to make a Texas spring look like an Illinois spring - but today these colors remind me of the bluebonnets, paintbrush, daisies and verbenas along the roadsides. I keep trying to get bluebonnets & paintbrush and native daisies to grow here in the garden, too - a few bluebonnets are open but the paintbrushes were late for bloom day, although their relatives appeared in my "Lady Bird Loved Wildflowers" song and video.

Annieinaustin, orange & gold ranunculusLook right as you clear the gate and greet the pink climbing rose hidden behind nandinas and sapling crepe myrtles when we bought this house.
Annieinaustin, pink climbing rose
There are 20 plump buds and full-blown flowers this year and they smell very old-fashioned. Every year I ask if anyone has a guess as to the name of this rose, but she's still a mystery.

Annieinaustin, pink rose in hand
We'll pass the recovering Meyer's Lemon and the in-bloom Mexican Lime tree and look on the other side of the back door where another faithful spring bloomer, a Clematis sold as pale pink- is budding in a deep burgundy that lightens to reddish purple as it opens.

Annieinaustin, burgundy clematis
On the other side of the walk a new annual Phlox, '21st Century hybrid White' is looking very cool - found it at The Natural Gardener.
Annieinaustin, 21st Century white phlox
Across the herb patio another mutabilis rose blooms in a terracotta pot, and beyond the table the pearly clematis/yellow Lady Banks rose/Coral honeysuckle combination seen in the last post is nearing its end.
Annieianaustin, patio with mutabilisLets duck into the house via the patio door to grab a cup of coffee (or maybe you'd rather have iced tea?). On the windowsill is the final flower on the Hippeastrum/Amaryllis 'Red Dragon' , rebloomed from 2008,
Annieinaustin, Amaryllis Red Dragon

This bowl of yellow 'Julia Child' roses gives a hint at how well she liked the cool winter with adequate rainfall
Annieinaustin, bowl of Julia Child Roses

We'll carry our cups out and wander around the edges of the garden where some less flashy, new-old friends hang out. I grew Hyacinthoides hispanica/Spanish Bluebells in Illinois but never thought it would survive here. Then the blog of MSS- Zanthan Gardens showed Spanish Bluebells blooming year after year in her Austin garden. Last fall I found a bag of mixed Hyacinthoides at Countryside Nursery...here's a bluebell just opening in front of the loropetalum. Annieinaustin, blue Spanish squill
- more white & blue Spanish Bluebells are going to open with these green & burgundy oxalis. Annieianaustin, Spanish Bluebells
A new abutilon from Barton Springs Nursery has one bud - practically every Austin gardenblogger already grows this plant so I'm copying
Annieinaustin, abutilon budNear the back fence the Michelia figo/Magnolia figo has had a very good spring, producing hundreds of buds and flowers. The old leaves on this fragrant Banana Shrub look ratty - some still bearing hail damage from March 2009, but look closely and you'll see all the new leaves ready to expand.
Annieinaustin, Michelia figo
The banana shrub is near the edge of the canopy of one of the pecan trees - it gets enough sun to bloom when the leaves are down. Near it a Salvia roemeriana/Cedar sage does okay with filtered shade. The white buds in the background are on a fragrant vine, Confederate AKA Star Jasmine/Trachelospermum jasminoidesAnnieinaustin, Salvia roemeriana

This hummingbird bed extends out from under the tree canopy where it gets more sun - enough for the Mockorange/Philadelphus inodorus to bloom against the fence, for flowers on another Bridal Wreath spiraea and for several shades of Salvias greggii and Salvia 'Hot Lips' to thrive. Annieianaustin Philadelphus And salvia

Walk in closer and you can see there are also Red 'Telstar' Dianthus in a ceramic planter, 'Butterfly Blue' Scabiosa and another plant favored by Pam/Digging, Euphorbia 'Diamond Frost'.
Annieinaustin red hummingbird border
There are tomato flowers and a few pepper flowers in the vegetable patch, but I forgot to photograph them so keep going and we'll be back at the other end of the long border. More ranunculus are blooming, but this one is in pristine white, very refined with Lambs Ears and the foliage of Achillea 'Moonshine'Annieinaustin ranunculus and lambs ears

A budded plant waits near the ranunculus, just in case a migrating Monarch happens by.

A note from the director of Keep Texas Beautiful passed along information from Monarch Watch, suggesting that gardeners, farmers and transportation officials help to get Milkweed planted as a lifeline for these butterflies. The number of migrating Monarchs appears to be down to their lowest numbers in decades after terrible killer storms in their winter home in Mexico. It's also proposed that the annual ornament from Keep Texas Beautiful should be a Monarch Butterfly design this year.

My huge milkweed plants were frozen down to the ground this winter - it will be months before they recover - if at all - so I planted this 'Silky Gold' Asclepias in back - think I'll look for another milkweed plant for the front yard.
Annieianaustin, asclepias Silky GoldWe're now standing in front of my favorite floral pairing on this April Blooming Day, Clematis 'Ramona' and Rosa 'Julia Child' Annieinaustin Julia Child rose and Ramona clematis

If this were a film camera instead of a digital point-and-shoot I'd have gone broke paying for developing... I can't stop taking photos of the butter yellow rose and deep lavender-blue clematis

Annieinaustin, ramona clematis and Julia Child rose Okay - one last shot from the other side of the triangle bed and I'll send you on your way to the next garden on May Dreams Carol's GBBD roster.
Annieinaustin, ranunculus and roses
Complete lists of what was in bloom (including botanical names) for many Garden Bloggers Bloom Days can be found at the Annie's Addendum Blog.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Annual April Affair - Color Echoes

Coral honeysuckle and Lady Banks rose have a brief affair each spring, meeting on the patio arch, vine twined around cane, the yellow interior of the honeysuckle tubes finding its reflection in the yellow of each rose blossom. For a few days the Tulipa clusiana blooms echoed the yellow & coral color in the partial shade at their feet. Their affair is passionate but brief because the rose blooms once a year - like that of George and Doris in Same Time, Next Year, and like theirs- a romance you can count on to return with vigor every spring.

But the timing changes a little from year to year and this romance didn't last until the 15th - no 2010 GBBD appearance for them!
Rosa banksiae 'Lutea' became mine in early 2001, kept captive in containers at the previous Austin house and finally planted in this garden and joined by Lonicera sempervirens in October 2006. The petals fell from many of the Lady Banks over the weekend and I pruned the rose back this afternoon.

All the better to see the pearly clematis winding its way through the rose canes - clearly happy after a long cool winter and some good rains.