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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?


  1. Annie that post had me laughing- i have never heard of an agave growing from a leaf, it is possible the leaves are just still alive but perhaps one had a piece of stem and so rooted? Just a piece of stem or rhizome sometimes root.

  2. Love that persian shield and wish I'd grown it in a few containers this summer in my garden. It would have loved it here.

  3. I don't know if it was because of all the rain or not but I had several Ox Blood lilies come up and bloom in a light pink color. Almost white even. I will post pictures soon. I've had these lilies for many years and never had a pink one.

    I sure hope your yuccas make it. That would just be great if they did.

  4. That magnolia leaf is definitely attractive with the fuzzy, brown underside. Interesting about the agave leaf. Perhaps Nicole is right about the leaves having a bit of stem on them.

    Thanks for giving up your nap to join in Foliage Follow-Up, Annie. That's dedication!

  5. Persian Shield looked gorgeous in a container planting for me a few years ago. I need to find some and do that again next spring. Yours is lovely with the Oxblood Lilies.
    I've noticed my old lady gardening fashion rules have softened too :)
    I enjoy seeing purple and red these days...and can even indulge pink and orange!
    The magnolia leaves have a very attractive shape and a lovely color combo with the brown undersides.
    Love those succulents and especially the name "Cobweb Houseleek" :)
    Wouldn't it be a treat if your Agave lives to tell the tale? They look like green tails poking out of the ground :)

  6. I am also a persian shield fan. It does well in my garden but I didn't get it planted this summer. Hopefully next year. Magnolia is one of my favorites. The seed heads are so interesting with those red seeds eventually popping out.

  7. Nice follow-up. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for your agaves! :)

  8. I've always thought that Persian Shield is one of the nicest looking foliar plants. Never have had much luck with them - but sure like seeing them in luckier gardens.

  9. Persian Shield is one of my favorite accent plants, but would you believe I couldn't find a single plant in the garden centers this spring? None of the substitutes I planted this year look nearly as good. Good luck with your agave; I have no idea if the leaf will root--I just killed the one agave I brought back from Arizona two years ago:(

  10. That's so weird about your agave, I've always read that it can't be propagated from the leaves and I was just Googling to confirm and came across this page (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep419) that says they can be. Huh. Anyway, it is amazing that yours is growing, however it happened.

    I love the oxblood lilies. :0)

  11. I like that Persian Shield plant.

    and the captcha is 'shorn' which I find kinda funny...would have been better if you were posting about pruning.

  12. Wow! If that is true about the leaf generating a new plant then I'm going to have a go myself. Can't have too many agaves!

  13. Nicole, it was months ago, but I'm pretty sure that I cut off the rotted bottom of the leaf. And didn't actually plant them, just sort of leaned them.

    Persian Shield is sometimes hard to find here Carol - but I think it's worth growing as an annual.

    Did you check out the pink oxbloods at Zanthan Gardens, Bob? MSS has so many & she records everything!

    I like the magnolia too, Pam/Digging... but couldn't have one in IL. I know so little about agaves - this is a result of 1)hating to toss anything still green & 2)wanting those sharp tips far away from the walk area!

    Persian Shield is supposed to root pretty easily and overwinter in a window, Kerry, but I always run out of window sill!
    Way too many of the plants that survive here are red, schoolbus yellow, orange and magenta. I'm trying to accept the fact that I'll never have the garden I want.

    Can you grow Magnolias in your part of Indiana, Lisa at Greenbow? I remember reading of one in a very sheltered microclimate in Chicago. Hope you find Persian Shield next spring!

    Thank you Blackswamp Kim - hope there was enough contrast for you ;-]

    There are only a few places Persian Shield survive on my lot, RBELL - maybe a container with afternoon shade?

    I didn't know any better, Mr Brown Thumb, and am not sure the agave will grow, just that it hasn't died yet!
    I went to the website you mentioned and am highly amused to realize that hacking the old leaves off, forgetting about them as they lie on the ground under a holly, then standing the now calloused ends up in the "Spiny Garden" was following directions!

    The capchas are sometimes so apt it makes you believe in UberGoogle, doesn't it, Katina? This spring I found Persian shields at PlantEscapes.

    This is still a "maybe", Lancashire Jenny - but those leaves are tight in the ground so who knows? Did you check out Mr Brown Thumb's link?

    Thanks for commenting,


  14. Annie
    Very nice blog!
    What happen to your agaves cuttings?
    Do they got roots?
    Can you post a picture?
    Thank you very much

  15. This photo is a couple of years old. We had an extremely cold winter and by spring 2011 those agave cuttings had rotted, along with what was left of the cactus!



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