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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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Friday, December 05, 2014

My Blog Does NOT Belong to Texas Outdoorsmen!

Are you seeing this blog post on blogspot? Or are you seeing it at TexasOutdoorsmen dot com? 

if you're seeing my posts and photos on the TexasOutdoorsmen dot com site, it is absolutely without my permission. This website has been copying my garden blog and garden blogs belonging to many of my garden friends, and we want it to stop.

I may not post that often, but putting my copyrighted words and photos on my blog does not mean that other websites can proceed to repost my work - and it's especially annoying when my work is used to pump up those websites to attract revenue-producing ads.


Darn it, I was actually in the mood to tell you what's been happening in the garden, and how beautiful the Oak Leaf Hydrangea has been this year...

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Passalongs and Reseeders Say Happy Autumn

DECEMBER 5, 2014: Are you seeing this blog post on blogspot? Or are you seeing it at TexasOutdoorsmen dot com? 
if you're seeing my posts and photos on the TexasOutdoorsmen dot com site, it is absolutely without my permission. This website has been copying my garden blog and garden blogs belonging to many of my garden friends, and we want it to stop.

This post, Passalongs and Reseeders Say Happy Autumn, was written by Annie in Austin for her Transplantable Rose blog.

After August 2014 tied the tile for Second Driest August on Record in Austin, many of us gardeners were not looking forward to September! But then the temperature dropped a few degrees and in mid-September several inches of rain fell. That's all it took to divert September 2014 from the hot, dry path it had been following to a gentler trail - the path to a flowery September.

Many of the current flowers descend from plants bought years ago. The original plants are long gone, but seedlings can keep a strain going through repeated reseeding.
The original Gaura lindheimeri started in a patio container - it was a short-lived perennial, but eight years later there's a convention being held in the front center bed.

A 4-inch pot from a Sunshine Community Gardens sale in 2005 held one seedling Blue Butterfly pea/ Clitoria ternatea. I usually save a few seeds just in case, but this year's vine sprouted on its own.

Orange cosmos seeds gleaned from the courtyard garden of a long-gone restaurant produced plants that make several generations every year... goldfinches like them. The harsh freezes of March knocked off all the existing plants of Salvia coccinea/Hummingbird sage, and germination of what seeds still lay in the ground was slow. Now in September, the annual Hummingbird sage blooms in every corner of the garden, red, orange, pink, coral and white. Planting them together near the fluorescent 'Catawba' crepe myrtle was not my idea! 

Some seedlings are promises rather than Plants. Here are a few bluebonnet seedlings with cilantro. If at least a few of these sprouts can survive snails, pillbugs & cold freezes, we'll be very happy.

The passalong plants of September are not reseeders - they are houseplants, bulbs, native plants and perennials.

One small passalong Stapelia plant from my Aunt Phyll has supplied many rooted cuttings over the years - this one is blooming 25 years after she gave me the original plant.

Whether you call them Oxblood Lilies or Schoolhouse Lilies, anyone who gets a passalong Rhodophiala bifida bulb is a lucky Austin gardener. Most of the bulbs in my garden are offsets from the originals shared by MSS of Zanthan Gardens in 2006. The first flowers were open on September 8th this year

The last of the red bells hung on today, September 30th

Pam Penick of Digging and Lawn Gone fame gave me this passalong Mexican Oregano in February 2007 - it's happy with the recent weather

In May 2007, Marthachick gave me a sack full of unidentified Crinum bulbs - I planted them all over and one of them ended up in a large permanent container on the edge of the patio.
The very first bloom on September 19th was a lovely surprise.

From every angle, it's a winner!

In spring of 2008 my friend Ellen gave me a start from her Blue Butterfly clerodendron/Clerodendrum ugandense, one that's been seen in many a blog post. This well-established plant froze hard to the roots in March but recovered to start blooming in late summer. New flower heads should keep developing until a freeze stops the fun. And it's cool to know that Ellen's plant had been passed along to her from her mother-in-law. I've tried my hand at propagating Blue Butterfly from cuttings with very limited success, but I won't give up yet - it needs to be passed along to someone else.

A couple of years after we moved here, I bought a few bulbs of Lycoris radiata/Red Spider Lilies AKA Hurricane lilies and planted them. They made leaves, but I never saw a flower. Then in November 2008, MSS of Zanthan Gardens divided and shared some of her Red Spider Lilies. The Divas of the Dirt had made a sunny new bed in the front yard earlier that year so I tucked some of the bulbs in there. In 2009 every Lycoris produced leaves only, but in 2010 the remnants of Hurricane Hermine arrived with 13" of rain and tada! Hurricane lilies. This year a few inches of rain were enough to coax them out.

Some of the Lycoris were planted near the Sweet Olive but it was too shady. Last fall I transplanted the bulbs to this bulb bed and they responded like this.

Did you notice the dates on the above passalong plants? I really expected that by now the bulbs would have flourished and increased so they could be freely shared - but that didn't happen. At least some of each plant is alive, but year after year of heat and drought seems to have kept these plants from multiplying the way they once did.

The final passalong plant for September is a new one to me - GoldenEye Sunflower/Viguiera dentata. It's native to Central Texas.

Tina of the My Gardener Says blog sent me home with two starter plants last November, saying the finches would like them.
I planted them near the back fence and crossed my fingers.

The little plants were alive through winter, but the killer March deep-freeze knocked them back to below ground. I was thrilled to see leaves emerge in mid-April and watched the 2 plants slowly bulk up through the summer. Buds appeared earlier in September and then the golden daisies began to open

I like their sunny faces, and the plant is a good size for this spot.

Thank you for a flowery September to so many sharing gardeners! To MSS at Zanthan Gardens  to Pam at Digging, and Tina at My Gardener Says, thank you to MarthaChick, thank you good friend Ellen and thank you to dear Aunt Phyll.
This post, Passalongs and Reseeders Say Happy Autumn, was written by Annie in Austin for her Transplantable Rose blog.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Clerodendrum incisa - the Musical Notes Plant

DECEMBER 5, 2014: Are you seeing this blog post on blogspot? Or are you seeing it at TexasOutdoorsmen dot com? 

if you're seeing my posts and photos on the TexasOutdoorsmen dot com site, it is absolutely without my permission. This website has been copying my garden blog and garden blogs belonging to many of my garden friends, and we want it to stop.

If you live in Central Texas you probably know one of the most interesting nurseries in Austin- Barton Springs Nursery on Bee Caves Road

It's a fine place to buy full-size plants, shrubs, trees, native plants and roses. For experimentally minded gardeners, it's a great place to find odd little inexpensive rooted cuttings to play around with.

The thermometer stood at 100F one afternoon in June 2013 but my friend Carole and I felt like poking around a nursery so we headed to Barton Springs. I was familiar with some of the small plants I brought home  -Salvia discolor/Andean Silver Sage; variegated Jewels of Opar, and Dicliptera suberecta/Uruguayan Hummingbird Plant. Here are the Jewels of Opar with portulaca last summer.

Those three plants lived for awhile, made a few flowers and died over winter.

Another little starter plant was on a table with annuals and herbs - it was some previously unheard of kind of Clerodendron and my internal Plant-Collector sensor started chiming. I needed it! Once repotted and on the part sun/part shade patio, I made sure the little Clerodendrum incisa was handwatered every couple of days. It survived, grew at a reasonable rate from June until October, and was totally ignorable. Then surprise! 

One stem on the plant developed white buds that looked a little like musical notes - and even more like golf clubs. The plant popped a few more flowers in November.

According to the Dave's Garden information on Clerodendrum incisa, it's only hardy to zone 9, so would almost certainly die if left outside in my part of Austin in winter. The pot is somewhere in this photo, one of dozens of marginal plants that spent last winter jammed into the garage.

The winter had some very harsh spells and some of the plants froze inside the garage. The Clerodendrum incisum lost its leaves and looked dormant but the stems were still flexible so I had hope. The pot went outside again in spring and the plant slowly woke up. Once again it grew steadily, looking plain but not unattractive. I kept it watered and a few times gave it a little diluted John's Recipe.

This year the first bloom cycle started with uncurling buds in late August and I found myself completely entranced.

The fully developed flowers don't last long but are bewitching.

One stem would rest for awhile then another flush of buds developed. These began in early September.

After a few days, they once again begin to resemble musical notes.

Sometimes the buds became very elongated.

Once open, the delicate flowers don't last long.

This flush has many clusters of buds so you can see the flowers in different stages.

Even the fallen flowers are decorative scattered on the ground near the pot.

After another short rest, a flush of new buds is expanding by Sept 17th.

In this photo from September 22nd, I think there are tiny ants crawling on the buds.

September 23rd - the elongated buds have arranged themselves into a chord.

September 24 - fully opened flowers in closeup.

Also September 24 - a few feet away is a tall plant of a Clerodendron relative, the Blue Butterfly plant, Clerodendrum ugandense AKA Rotheca myricoides 'Ugandense'

In a milder climate the Musical Notes Plant can grow into a small shrub, but it will be treated like a tender plant here and come inside for winter.

The post, Clerodendrum Incisa - the Musical Notes Plant, was written by Annie in Austin for her Transplantable Rose blog, and is dedicated to my music-making friends. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Still Posting After All These Years

This post, Still Posting After All These Years, was written by Annie in Austin for her Transplantable Rose blog

The Transplantable Rose turned eight years old last week. Eight years is long enough for two presidential terms. Eight years covers all the grades in an old-fashioned grammar school, and is also long enough to change a 13-year-old child into a fully-fledged, 21-year-old adult.
Did my blog change in eight years? The format changed as Blogger evolved but that’s about all. 

But blogging did change something in this blogger’s mind and habits.

Before the Transplantable Rose ever started I took a reasonable number of garden photos, sometimes emailing them to family & friends in other states. After joining millions of other people and starting the blog on June 7, 2006, I took more photos, sometimes with a specific post in mind… sometimes “just in case”. Beginning in February 2007, there were a disproportionate number of photos taken around the 15th of each month due to May Dreams Carol and her Garden Blogger Bloom Day meme.

The number of posts on the Transplantable Rose goes up slowly now, but the number of photos has increased. Maybe this has also happened to you? It seems our cameras and camera phones and memory cards have become the main way to record and remember everything.

A random dip into my image files pulls up thousands of mostly mediocre digital images of family & friends, local events, images of baked goods, a snap of the plate after trying a new recipe, beautiful flowers, ugly flowers, clouds, interesting insects and animals, hailstorms, tomatoes from the garden, squirrels, flowering shrubs, receipts, birds, rain falling from the veranda, rain in rain gauges, rain running down rain chains, rain drops on flowers, flowering trees, stages of home improvement, etc. etc. etc.
Even a crummy photo can be invaluable for reminding us where and when something happened.

Blogiversary is a silly word, but maybe a useful one. I had no time to write a post for the June 7th date - two genealogy projects had taken over my life. But taking a picture is fast, so there are photos taken over the past eleven days, and they fit into the usual June categories. Beautiful flowers, tomatoes, interesting animals, flowering shrubs, and squirrels

Two passalong plants from Pam/Digging fill this photo – that’s ‘Peter’s Purple’ Monarda with the daylily ‘Best of Friends’. I like both plants very much as individuals and they’re doing well in this bed. But looking at the color clash in this photo makes me wish I had a better spot for ‘Best of Friends’

Hidden behind ‘Best of Friends’ is ‘Prairie Blue Eyes’ – perfect with the monarda, but a much less robust daylily.

Hemerocallis citrina, the scented, citron daylily, is a pale lemon color that goes with almost anything. But it doesn’t open until day is almost done, and the flowers close as the sun comes up.

As always we’ve had to fight for every tomato and are not winning the battle. Birds and squirrels got at least 2/3 of the fruit in spite of using bird nets and picking the fruit green to ripen inside.

A few days ago this one was ours – this 14oz Black Krim tomato turned from green to dark red inside. It was  interesting outside

And absolutely delicious inside.

In Illinois a perennial started out small. The majority survived, bulked up over a few years, were divided, moved around and shared. In Central Texas, perennials are often purchased, a few survive to be divided, but around half of them begin to decline after 3 or 4 years and then choose death over life in Austin.  (If you doubt this, come over and I’ll show you my plant spreadsheets.)
As a result I really, really appreciate the reseeding annuals like Bluebonnets, Nemophila/Baby Blue Eyes, Brazos Penstemon/ Penstemon tenuis, annual Poppies, French Hollyhocks/Malva sylvestris ‘Zebrina’,  Verbena bonariensis, Salvia coccinea/Hummingbird sages, Larkspur, orange Cosmos, Datura, tropical milkweed Asclepias curassavica, Blue Pea vine, Cypress vine… each in turning add spice to the garden from early spring until frost. I like to add a few starter plants of Calibrachoa/Million Bells and Angelonia to the mix. Here’s one of the triangle beds:

One perennial that did survive is the Hardy hibiscus- AKA Rose Mallow - named ‘Blue River II’ for its origin along the Blue River in Oklahoma. The flowers are large and pure white, but only last one day. With more ground moisture the plant is doing well this June. A photo of ‘Blue River II’ appeared in my first post – this one bloomed yesterday and I liked how translucent it looked with the sun coming through from the back of the flower.

An anole on the burgundy-leaved canna caught my eye but he was pretty far away –

As I approached he hopped onto a nearby post. I clicked the button just before he jumped into the foliage. The photo wasn’t good or special, but zooming in on the image showed something interesting… his tail was brown instead of green. This article makes it seem likely that this lizard’s original tail was damaged and the replacement is made differently.

Rose ‘Julia Child’, so abundantly in bloom in April, was deadheaded and now has a second flush of flowers. The heat didn’t hit until June and we’ve had some rain so some larkspurs are still alive to add a blue-violet contrast to the butter yellow. And something about this year’s weather has encouraged blooms on the purple coneflowers - looking almost normal instead of the wimpy plants of recent years.
Success with ‘Peter’s Purple’ Monarda made me want to try another monarda with mildew resistance that showed up at the Natural Gardener – this is ‘Jacob Cline’. So far, so good!

The ‘Peter’s Purple’ monarda/Beebalm bloomed for weeks then started to look ratty. It’s been deadheaded and there are new flowerheads forming in the axils.

The Rose of Sharon grew taller and had many flowers this year but every photo I took looked bad. Yesterday morning I saw the shrub shaking violently so I grabbed the camera and went out. My archenemy was comfortably encamped in the center of the Rose of Sharon, picking and munching the flowers. I’ve had no luck stopping squirrels from eating tomatoes and flowers, and he’ll never have to answer for those crimes in court, but I can’t stop using the camera to gather evidence.

This post, Still Posting After All These Years, was written by Annie in Austin for her Transplantable Rose blog

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Absolutely April

This post about my garden in Austin, Texas was written by Annie in Austin for her Transplantable Rose blog.

Three weeks can make a big difference in the garden! Since that last post the garden plant spreadsheet shows fewer plants with question marks next to their names.
The Barbados Cherries appear to be alive. They also appear to be about 6" tall now. But you don't want to see that photo and I don't want to take it. Averted eyes is the way to carry on while the boxwoods decide exactly where they'll regrow - don't want to take that photo either.

This photo of the ice-and-freeze damaged Oleander was taken at the beginning of April. It grows near the steps from the house to the drive so it was very hard to not only avert my eyes but to refrain from picking up the lopping shears.


Sometimes the best thing to do is nothing. Early last week tiny green leaves began to sprout along the oleander trunk and by Thursday it was clear which branches were doing well and where to make the cuts. I don't think there will be flowers this spring, but the Oleander should live and grow.

So let's ignore the battered shrubs and let them recover in private. As to the rest of the garden? Even though we're still in drought, something about the long cold rest seems to have benefited the roses - they're shouting that it is now Absolutely April.
'Julia Child' opens new flowers every morning, standing nearly 5-ft tall, with scores of buds still swelling, surrounded by self-sown poppies and larkspurs, by Four-nerve daisies and the last bluebonnets.

I've read that this rose was chosen by Julia Child herself to bear her name, because it looked like butter.

I still don't have a positive ID on the pink climber that came with the house, but 'Climbing Pink Peace' seems to be a possibility. My husband Philo built a wooden trellis over the gate and the rose has stretched out and up to cover it.


A few big blossoms joined white 'Climbing Iceberg' in a bowl.

This apricot mini-rose finally looks established - last spring it had two flowers.

The frozen Rosa mutabilis quickly outgrew the damage and is reblooming in its patio container.

The color of the clematis next to the back door is hard to describe - it goes through so many changes from bud to blown blossom.

The Oakleaf Hydrangea flaunts something between a bud and a flower.

Up in front most of the native plants in the parkway strip are waking up and thinking about buds, but only the Damianita is in full bloom.

The Texas Mountain Laurel flowers froze in March 2014, but the shrubs are already making buds for Spring 2015.

Fingers crossed these new plants of Damianita, purple skullcap, creeping phlox and Blackfoot daisies can take hold in a new bed up front.

Tomorrow's forecast promises temperatures in the nineties so the individual flowers don't last too long, but April has been absolutely lovely for a while.

This post about my garden in Austin, Texas was written by Annie in Austin for her Transplantable Rose blog.