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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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Saturday, June 29, 2013

When the Garden Is In Heat

This post was written by Annie in Austin for her Transplantable Rose blog. 

The plants aren't howling and writhing like cats in heat, but gardeners in Austin would probably like to howl today...

Even though my garden has a lot of shifting, filtered shade, the combination of sun and heat makes the blossoms on some plants change color. Here's 'Vi's Apricot' daylily on May 1st - there is a rosy blush over the petals

The first flush of blooms finished weeks ago, but the daylily sent up more stalks and is now reblooming. The flowers have lost the rosy blush, but the diamond-dusting shows up even more strongly.

 One of the 'Fred Howard' Amarcrinum bulbs bloomed a few days ago. Yesterday it had faded to this

while another bulb - just opened - showed the true color

Today that second bulb is fading fast

I bought a new little crinum from the Travis County Master Gardeners tent at the Zilker Park Garden Festival a couple of months ago. This is Crinum oliganthum, a dwarf Caribbean variety. The beautiful flower lasted one day.

Passalong Crocosmia came from Austin friend Martha in 2008 and were planted in front of one of the 'Acoma' crepe myrtles. They've declined in that spot so I moved a few bulbs nearer the patio arch and watched them thrive. I'm not sure what makes this spot better, but I love the orange Crocosmia with the violet Calibrachoa! 

The sweet name fooled me into planting Angelonia in a sheltered spot when I last bought it. That plant bloomed a wishy-washy pink but this gleaming Angel can take very strong sun & heat. I took a photo with the thermometer at 107°F and the sun still blazing on the container.

The blue plumbago does not like prolonged cold spells - they can knock it down to the ground - but these last days of 100°F, 105°F and 107°F haven't discouraged it one bit. The color hasn't faded, either.

Has the heat changed the color of my newest crepe myrtle? Is it really the 'Muskogee' that the label promised or do I have an imposter? I've wanted that variety for years after seeing it bloom around Austin, especially after Pam/Digging planted one in her front garden and the flowers looked a lot like the lilacs I grew in Illinois. I bought a 'Muskogee' in 2011 but it didn't do much last year. This June it is finally in bloom, but the flowers don't look like lilacs to me - they look almost exactly the color of Mexican Oregano.

Planting at this time of year may not be wise, but I did it anyway... we'll see if I get away with it. One of the hypertufa troughs was planted with snapdragons. They looked good for months but last week did them in so they needed to be replaced. Maybe this portulaca from Barton Springs Nursery will do OK, and if the Dicliptera suberecta lives the hummingbirds will be happy. Jewels of Opar is a new plant for me - it has a reputation as an opportunistic reseeder so I've been hesitant so far, but the variegated kind was irresistible.   

This post was written by Annie in Austin for her Transplantable Rose blog. 

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Gaudy Redefined

 This post, "Gaudy Redefined" was written by Annie in Austin for her Transplantable Rose blog.

Seven years ago I started a blog on a whim, mostly so I could comment on other blogs (back then you needed a Blogger ID just to comment). I named the blog The Transplantable Rose and posted a photo of my white perennial hibiscus with the title "Define Gaudy". The Hibiscus 'Blue River II' is still alive but the ground warmed up slowly this spring, so we have buds instead of blooms this June 7th.

And a new Passalong Plant from Pam/Digging, called Monarda 'Peter's Purple', is currently wearing the crown as Most Gaudy. I have tried Monarda over & over since we moved to this house nearly nine years ago... only a couple of those plants lived at all and none bloomed until this powerhouse took root last summer.

A glance at the first few posts reminds me that plants can grow a great deal in seven years - the first triangle bed with the 'Little Gem' Magnolia was brand new in June 2006.

Yesterday there were 12 flowers open at once on a tree that is dwarf by Southern Magnolia standards, but still quite a presence in this small garden!

A post about the double Mock-Orange from my dad's garden showed it blooming in the newly-made Secret Garden. I took the photo for the blog, but it ended up being a memory - that Mock-Orange didn't make it through alternating days of flood & drought. But do you see that tiny fig tree close to the white iron fence? It is no longer tiny.

The Secret Garden seems a little more Secret today, with the now-large fig tree, crepe myrtle and pomegranate casting shade, borders on all the edges, a different bench and the usually-unhappy grass replaced by stepping stones & decomposed granite.

Another summer is on the way, perhaps preparing to draw its twin daggers of heat and drought to murder the plants I love. But just for today, I will celebrate that the garden is fuller, the shrubs are larger, a few tomatoes and peppers are getting ripe, the beds and borders are stuffed with plants native and adapted, the containers are stuffed with plants that are totally inappropriate and/or beloved for sentimental reasons, and the birds, insects, lizards, and squirrels think it's just swell.

I may not write often, but I'm not giving up yet. Year 8? Bring it on. 

 This post, "Gaudy Redefined" was written by Annie in Austin for her Transplantable Rose blog.