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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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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Foliage Followup for September 2010

Way too much of the foliage in my garden gives testimony to the drought, hail, drought, rain, heat, flood, insects and animal damage that are out to get it. But while getting my GBBD post together, I noticed some interesting foliage, too and decided to join Pam/Digging's Foliage Followup.

The emphasis may have been on the Oxblood Lilies yesterday, but today it's all about the way the Persian Shield/ Strobilanthes dyerianus looks with the glossy camellia leaves in the shade of a pecan tree.
Sharing Garden Diana also featured her magnolia on her GBBD post, but I'm not sure what kind of magnolia she has. This is my 'Little Gem', with the aggregate seed heads in various stages of development. I wanted to catch that fuzzy, rusty color underneath the leaves. A regular, full-sized Southern Magnolia would never fit in my small garden so 'Little Gem' was pressed into service and I really like this small tree. I'd still prefer the plain green-leaved gigantic magnolia if we had more space, but the fuzzy brown color is not without charm.
This trio of succulents lives on the patio table. At left is a "Ghost Plant" -some species of Graptopetalum in a planter my husband made out of a rock. In the center is a Passalong plant from DivaoftheDirt Mindy - she gave me a few leaves in 2009 to root. It's called Donkey Ears - I guess it's a kind of Kalanchoe. At right a little sedum-type plant came with the label "Cobweb Houseleek". It lived through winter in this cool pot I found when out with Suburban-Wildlife Dawn in 2008.
The last plant is more of a hope for foliage than actual foliage! Last winter was so harsh that succulents were killed - including most of an Agave macroculmis from Yucca-Do that I'd had for years. After the mushy parts were cut off, three pieces of leaves were left. I stood them up in this well drained, partly shaded bed under a holly and occasionally hit them with the hose. One piece rotted quickly, but right now one of the pieces seems to be tight in the ground. Is it even possible for a new agave plant to grow from a leaf?

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day September 2010

A week ago Tropical Storm Hermine dumped 12" of rain in my neighborhood in less than one day, filling the rain gauge over & over, and making a garden tub left on the patio overflow. We were mighty nervous and we were very lucky - our lot has a very slight slope but that was enough to channel the water away from the house so it didn't come inside. Within a 10-mile radius dozens of houses were ruined, their owners now moved in with relatives, not knowing what the future holds. For other Central Texans, the loss was greater, as the floodwaters that came with Hermine also swept away people. You can read some words of Austinites as the flood happened in this compilation by KXAN here.

Annieinaustin,12 inches rain in tub
With that devastation in mind I'd better not complain about losing a few plants to Ms Hermine's pounding and immersion! Any early September rain brings on the Oxblood Lilies, also known as Schoolhouse Lilies/Rhodophiala bifidia, blooming when the children traditionally returned to school. They may not be native, but they sure are Austin.
Annieinaustin, oxbloods front garden

MSS of Zanthan Gardens is the Oxblood Lily Queen of Austin - she kindly shared bulbs with me in 2006 and every year their appearance reminds me of her generosity.Annieinaustin, oxbloods with vetiver grassWhen the Oxblood-Schoolhouse lilies bloom with Persian Shield, it reminds me that I once would have been hesitant about my garden wearing purple with red. But my old lady garden doesn't care much about fashion rules.
Annieinaustin, Persian Shield and Schoolhouse lilies
The rain brought the blooms, but a week of temperatures over 90°F fried them quickly - only a few still look fresh.
Annieinaustin,fading oxblood lilies

Salvia greggii is rebounding, and Salvia farinacea looks okay, but the usually beautiful Salvia guaranitica & Salvia 'Black & Blue' look so ragged and pitiful that I'm considering cutting them to the ground to start over. Their cousin Salvia vanhouttei, however, is very happy. I poked this $2 starter plant in the ground in late spring and it's now a sprawling 6-foot X 5-foot semi-shrub with many, many dark ruby flowers. The hummingbirds like it.
Annieinaustin,salvia vanhouttei

Another favorite is the 'Provence' lavender, still blooming in the big clay pot near the patio and fountain, with a pot of Evolvolus 'Blue Daze' nearby and a tomato plant in a container, proving the gardener hasn't learned anything from the past few years, but still hopes for tomatoes. Remember the cute little net bags in my tomato post? Critters gnawed the plant, taking tomato, bag & entire stem away with them.
Annieinaustin Provence lavender and Evolvolus Blue Daze

The hummingbirds also like the Cypress Vine/Ipomoea quamoclit, a sticky-stemmed, seedy mess that sends out long winding vines in every direction. A hummer buzzed me this morning while I was taking photos so I know they're still around... but once the birds leave this vine will be leaving, too.
Annieinaustin,cypress vine out of control
Maybe the yard is just gone to the birds? I've left the sunflower skeletons in place so the finches can clean the seedheads, but they certainly aren't decorative. Wrens and other little birds tear up everything planted in the baskets under the overhang. On the other hand, what could I get to grow in this basket that would look cuter than two Titmice?
Annieinaustin, titmice through windowI've read that Central Texas is home to both the Tufted Titmouse and the Black Crested Titmouse... supposedly there are crosses between these two birds, so I'm not sure what kind these are - the photo was taken through the window and screen.

An herb on the patio makes some weird looking flowers and seed heads. This is marjoram, one of my favorites.
Annieinaustin,marjoram in bloom
I plant lots of yellow and orange but those flowers are over or dead now. The centers of zinnia linearis and Blackfoot daisies a few Asclepias & Cosmos flowers and one blooming stalk on a Plumeria can't complete with the reds & blues of September. Because I can't get the camera high enough for a closeup you also see the purple flowers of Cenizo/Barometer Bush responding to the rain, and the 'Acoma' crepe myrtles gone to seed.
Annieinaustin,plumeria and cenizo
White Hummingbird sage, Salvia coccinea, reseeds itself in the decomposed granite around the patio every summer. The plants stayed small until the rain came - now they're 3-feet tall.
Annieinaustin,salvia coccinea alba
The rain meant lots of buds on the Moonflower Vine/Ipomoea alba - at least one or two shimmery white flowers open every night.
Annieinaustin,moonflower vine
In the morning the Moon flowers give up and the Blue Butterfly Pea/Clitoria ternatea takes the day shift.
Annieinaustin,clitoria ternatea, blue pea vine
The Blue pea throws long vines all over that triangle bed and it can get a stranglehold on the other plants. I left this one in place long enough to take a photo, then set the Blue Butterfly Clerodendron & Russelia/Firecracker Plant free.
Annieinaustin,blue clerodendron, blue pea with firecracker plant
Near the patio a $3 miniature 'Red Cascade' rose planted at the base of a bird tower has grown and is blooming... I really like the red and dark green with the Silver Ponyfoot Dichondra.
Annieinaustin,Red Cascade minirose with Silver Ponyfoot

The blue Plumbago was frozen to the ground but you'd never know it now - just as in previous years it starts to block the sidewalk and stops the back door from closing ... I hack it back, it waits a week and starts climbing and spreading again. Thank heavens for easy plants in hard years. If you click to enlarge the photo you'll also see the seed pods - they love to hitch rides on pantlegs and cloth sandal straps.
Annieinaustin,Blue Plumbago with seedheads
The most unusual bloom this month was one I haven't seen in a couple of years - my Aunt Phyll's passalong Stapelia. I still haven't figured out what triggers the bloom but I enjoy their short-lived, stinky presence whenever they suddenly appear!

September 10th
Annieinaustin,Stapelia bud

September 12th
Annieinaustin,Stapelia bud swells

September 14th
Annieinaustin,Stapelia full bloom

September 15th
Annieinaustin,Stapelia spent blossom

If you are more interested in vegetables than in ornamentals, there is Good news-Bad news. The bad news is that the ''Solar Fire and 'Early Girl' tomatoes were starting to make new leaves & buds when the rain hit... they turned to brown sticks within days of the deluge.

But the peppers? They responded to the rain like this:
Annieinaustin,Spanish Spice peppersFor the monthly lists of every single thing that's in bloom with botanical names you can go to Annie's Addendum.

Please go to MAY DREAMS GARDENS to see all the posts that Carol has gathered into the Garden Blogger Bloom Day fold - a once-a-month, worldwide festival of what's in bloom. Brilliant idea!