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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.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Chicago Botanical Garden in 1988

Like many of you I've been eagerly enjoying the tweets and posts and photos from the bloggers who are meeting in Chicago this weekend.

Mr McGregor's Daughter has
posted a photo of the wonderful Carolus Linnaeus statue as it looked for the Chicago Spring Fling participants yesterday. The statue seems to be unchanged but apparently a vegetative barrier keeps the public away from the sculpture. On the chance that someone might be interested, I hunted down an old photo.

Carolus Linnaeus Statue, Chicago Botanical Gardens, 1988

The set-up was a little different 21 years ago in 1988 when this picture was taken. Everyone had their photo taken with Linnaeus, sort of like every kid in Chicago having a picture taken sitting on one of the stone lions at Brookfield Zoo. The protection seems like a sensible decision. The Linnaeus statue is composed of many individual representations of plants and animals, very unlike the smooth lions.

Here in Austin's Zilker Park several large gates are decorated with representations of the plants and creatures found in Central Texas.

Thanks for the photos and notes, Chicago Flingers

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Pacific Giant Delphinium in Austin

A few people wondered how I grew this delphinium which was budded for GBBD on May 15th and is now opening blooms. They're not generally recommended for Austin so growing it wasn't part of a just sort of happened:

April 2006, dig out St Augustine grass to make a triangle-shaped bed. Buy an obelisk and add it to the bed. Grow things in this bed for 3 years, continuously adding compost & decomposed granite. Water, weed and use Hasta-gro, Liquid seaweed and John's recipe.

In winter 2009 plant sweet peas to grow on obelisk. By March 30, realize drought followed by hail equals no sweetpeas. Stop by Shoal Creek Nursery on way home from somewhere else and impulse-buy a vigorous plant of Mixed Pacific Giant Delphiniums for less than $2. Add more compost, plant, water in with seaweed. Water a couple of times a week for 6 weeks and rejoice when we get a short spell of cooler weather just as bud stalks emerge.

Since the flowers are semi-double white, the variety might be 'Galahad'. I will think of this genuine Knight of a Delphinium as an annual, a consolation prize for the failure of the usually dependable larkspurs/annual delphiniums. (EDIT: Added this second photo May 21 - weather heading back to 90's so it may not last longer than a cut flower - but cost no more than cut Delphiniums and I had the pleasure of watching it grow and unfold)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

GBBD List for May 15, 2009

The Addendum is where the list of botanical names is kept - photos appear on the main Garden Blogger Bloom Day post for May 15th at the Transplantable Rose. All of these plants have made flowers - a few like the daylilies and the passion vine sometimes have only buds one day and flowers the next. These 'Prairie Blue Eyes' daylilies had flowers open on May 14th and 16th with buds on the 15th.As you can see, the image is rotated, something that happens every GBBD. When uploaded to Twitter it worked perfectly. I don't know why Blogger wants the perovskia to grow upside down. I also don't know why it disappeared the number on the list. There are 101 items.

  1. Abelia chinensis/Abelia, four white shrubs in bloom
  2. Abelia chinensis two unnamed pink shrubs in bloom
  3. Abelia chinensis 'Edward Goucher' smaller pink shrub
  4. Achillea 'Moonshine' many flat yellow heads
  5. Ajuga, unknown species, purple-leaved bugle weed
  6. Antirrhinum majus, Yellow snapdragons living and producing flowers since Christmas 2007
  7. Asclepias curassavica, tropical milkweed, just a couple of buds open
  8. Bryophyllum daigremontianum, Mother of Thousand, just a few remaining flowers
  9. Bulbine frutescens 'Yellow'/ yellow bulbine will keep blooming with deadheading
  10. Calibrachoa hybrids, annual, some from Natural Gardener, some from Shoal Creek Nursery in hanging baskets and troughs. One basket hangs outside the breakfast room window and the hummingbirds come to it
  11. Canna X generalis 'City of Portland' one plant in container near shed
  12. Canna X generalis, unnamed tall, bright green-leaved with red-orange flowers
  13. Capsicum annuum – garden peppers, had a few peppers, still a few flowers
  14. Castilleja indivisa, Texas paintbrush, grown as annual, one plant fading, one still blooming
  15. Citrus x meyeri, Meyer's Improved Lemon, a few buds on the one in the pot
  16. Citrus aurantifolia? Mexican lime, in container
  17. Clematis unknown hybrid, one reddish-purple flower
  18. Conoclinium greggii, Gregg’s Mistflower - closely related to C. coelestinium, the mistflower I grew in Illinois, but leaves are quite different. Lavender blue flowers in front bed.
  19. Consolida ajacis, Larkspur – one plant with a few flowers and a couple of surviving plants with buds
  20. Coriandrum sativum., cilantro, all gone to flower
  21. Cuphea ignea, orange Cigar flower, many little orange flowers
  22. Cuphea llavea – small pink & lavender form. Plant near back door blooming but the one in triangle garden not happy
  23. Cuphea llavea –red & purple ‘Batfaced’, a few flowers
  24. Cuphea llavea 'Georgia Scarlet', just budding
  25. Delosperma cooperi ? Dark pink flowered hardy ice plant, spreading over gravel walk in Pink Garden;
  26. Dendranthema x grandiflora?. - ordinary cushion mums in several places, blooming pink and off-white
  27. Dianthus – red, white and pink shades of ‘Telstar’ hybrids in assorted containers
  28. Dietes bicolor, African Iris, butterfly iris, a few every day. Best bloom it ever had.
  29. Evolvulus glomeratus 'Blue Daze', in Secret garden and near gate, but plants in containers still leafing out
  30. Feijowa sellowiana / Pineapple guava- the shrub in secret garden still has flowers and buds but one on patio seems done for year
  31. Gaura lindheimerii ‘The Bride’, two large plants plus seedlings
  32. Gaura lindheimerii, unknown tall rose-pink variety (‘Pink Cloud’?), many flowers
  33. Hemerocallis cultivar 'Pinochio', dwarf, burgundy, brought from Illinois, one plant near gate another in Pink Entrance Garden
  34. Hemerocallis cultivar 'Vi's Apricot', brought from Illinois. Now divided into 6 small plants.
  35. Hemerocallis cultivar 'Prairie Blue Eyes', brought from Illinois, has 3 bloom stalks
  36. Hemerocallis cultivar 'Happy Returns', almost through with bloom cycle. Will deadhead and may rebloom in 6 weeks
  37. Hesperaloe parviflora, Red yucca, tubular, slow opening flowers all along one long stalk
  38. Hibiscus syriacus/Rose of Sharon a few purple and a couple of white flowers
  39. Hippeastrum hybrid Peach & White, #5 of seven kinds in Bulb Garden
  40. Impatiens walleriana, bedding impatiens, white, lived over winter in Secret Garden
  41. Jatropha integerrima 'Compacta', couple of buds at top
  42. Justicia spicigera/ Mexican Honeysuckle, a few open, orange flowes
  43. Lantana, unknown varieties both upright and trailing – pink & yellow, white and gold and lavender
  44. Lavendula heterophylla, Sweet Lavender, lots of stalks
  45. Lavendula stoechas, Spanish lavender, just a few left
  46. Leucophyllum frutescens/ Texas sage AKA Barometer bush AKA Cenizo – one shrub, a few flowers - supposed to be a sign of rain and an inch fell today.
  47. Lilium unknown Easter Lily type - couple of trumpets on two plants in Bulb garden
  48. Lobularia maritime, Sweet alyssum, alive, but fading in heat
  49. Lonicera sempervirens, coral honeysuckle (just a few flowers)
  50. Lycopersicon lycopersicum, tomatoes
  51. Magnolia grandiflora 'Little Gem' , one flower a day for past week
  52. Malva sylvestris 'Zebrina' a couple of flowers on surviving plants
  53. Mazus reptans, tiny blue flower on ground cover
  54. Melampodium leucanthum / Blackfoot daisy- think there are 5 plants, each with a few flowers
  55. Myrtus communis nana/ dwarf Greek myrtle- just a few flowers, three shrubs in ground
  56. Nerium oleander/ double yellow oleander 'Mathilde Ferrier', double yellow, fragrant, near steps to veranda
  57. Nicotiana 'Perfume Deep Purple', annuals from Shoal Creek
  58. Ocimum basilicum, Basil
  59. Oxalis crassipes 'Alba' (dotted around and in containers), several blooming
  60. Oxalis regnellii 'Atropurpurea' (dotted around and in containers), couple of flower
  61. Passiflora X possibly 'Lavender Lady' Passionvine - see above, buds and blooms
  62. Pavonia lasiopetala, pink rock rose, makes flowers but leaves are always mildewed, even with sun and air
  63. Pelargonium hybrids– assorted bedding geraniums, red, white & coral, in containers
  64. Pelargonium hybrid, coral, blooming in breakfast room window
  65. Penstemen tenuis, Gulf coast penstemon- planted a couple of months ago- buds and blooms
  66. Perovskia atriplicifolia, Russian Sage (two beds), floppy but making flowers
  67. Phlox sublata/Creeping phlox in lavender blue, very long bloom season
  68. Pisum sativum Sugar Snap, sugar snap garden peas - flowers and peas - ate a few raw!
  69. Plumbago auriculata (two shrubs), going nuts and covered in pale blue flowers – recently pruned so the back door could shut
  70. Plumbago auriculata var. alba (one plant), one flower head
  71. Poliomintha longiflora, Mexican oregano (3 plants), all blooming
  72. Portulaca - reseeded Moss Roses and Flowering Purslane, in newer triangle garden
  73. Punica granatum, pomegranate - might be 'Wonderful', a few flowers, no fruit seems to have set
  74. Punica granatum 'Nana'/ dwarf pomegranate, two small plants, ornamental
  75. Rosa 'Belinda's Dream', Pink shrub rose-one battered flower, several blooms
  76. Rosa ‘Champagne’ mini rose, delicate pink , two plants, more buds than leaves
  77. Rosa floribunda ‘Julia Child’, butter-yellow rose, still has buds
  78. Rosa 'Mutabilis' (two good-sized plants) nonstop bloom
  79. Salvia coccinea, red Hummingbird sage, reseeded in triangle
  80. Salvia coccinea, white Hummingbird sage, reseeds near patio
  81. Salvia coccinea ‘Coral Nymph’, coral pink Hummingbird sage, in Secret Garden and in Entrance garden
  82. Salvia farinacea, Mealy Blue sage, wandlike flowers, replacements for winter killed plants, still in pots from nursery
  83. Salvia greggii, in creamy white, deep rose, true red, cherry red
  84. Salvia guaranitica, Majestic blue sage
  85. Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue'
  86. Salvia leucantha, Mexican Bush Sage, a few flowers - big season is fall
  87. Salvia microphylla 'Hot Lips' (2 plants), nonstop flowers, but they're all white - no lips!
  88. Salvia roemeriana /Cedar sage, red flowers in shade, still blooming
  89. Salvia X 'Nuevo Leon' (several borders and containers), many small violet flowers
  90. Scabiosa columbaria ‘Butterfly Blue’/Dwarf Blue Cushionflower, steady buds and flowers, two plants
  91. Scutellaria ovata, Heartleaf skullcap, from Pam/Digging. Thought it was lost but reappeared this spring and made a couple of flowers
  92. Scutellaria suffrutescens, pink skullcap, two plants dependable pink bloomer
  93. Scutellaria wrightii, blue skullcap, three small plants, sparse flowers.
  94. Sedum, little varieties with white flowers
  95. Trachaelospermum jasminoides, Star Jasmine, Confederate Jasmine, evergreen vine with white, fragrant flowers. Three vines, on veranda, side fence and shed, almost at end of season.
  96. Tradescantia geniculata, groundcover , in bloom, tiny white flowers
  97. Tradescantia pallida, syn Setcresea pallida/ Purple Heart, many lavender flowers;
  98. Verbena bonariensis – doing well this spring, has seeded around and is blooming in 4 different borders
  99. Viola spp– just a few remaining Pansies and violas still alive
  100. Vitex agnus-castus / Chaste tree, just forming buds
  101. Zinnia linearis/ syn Zinnia angustifolia, reseeded from last year - just a couple of buds.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Making A Lavender Stick

Making a Lavender Stick was written by Annie in Austin for the Annie's Addendum Blog

Welcome if you came here from the May 6th "Thought Pops" post at the Transplantable Rose!

Lavender Sticks are a sweet little thing to make. I read about them years ago in a chapter of Elizabeth Lawrence's book Through The Garden Gate. If you can find the original version her narrative is enchanting. Here's an approximation of what Miss Lawrence said:

The sticks must be made immediately after cutting, or the stalks may break rather than bend. Cut stalks when the first flower opens - they need to be a least 8 inches long but can be as long as 18 inches. (What I grow is Sweet Lavender, which has longer flower heads than some of the other fragrant varieties. The shape and length of the stick will be slightly different with each variety.)

You'll need an even multiple of an odd number. That could be 14 which is 2 X 7, or 18 which is twice 9, 22 which is 2 X 11, etc. If you have enough you could cut 30 which is twice 15.

You also need a few feet of 1/4 inch baby ribbon - or whatever narrow ribbon you can get. Lay the stalks together with the tips of some spikes sticking up beyond the others, making a flowering head about 6 inches in length. Tie one end of the baby ribbon tightly around the stems just below the lowest flower. Then you will make the ribbon and stalks into a basket shape by gently bending the stems back over the flower heads, first weaving the ribbon under two stalks, then weaving it over the next two, and so on....going around and around until you've made the stems into a basket enclosing the flower heads within the ribbon/stick weave. Take your time, slide the ribbon gently and keep it all flat. The size of ribbon, length of stem and closeness of weave will combine to make each stick look a little different. The number of stalks you use will also make them look quite different - 14 is a very slender stick. When you've woven past the flower heads you can tie off the end and neatly clip the stem ends. I like to tie the end of the ribbon into a loop that can be used to hang the Lavender Stick at nose-level.

Don't worry if the technique sounds confusing - it becomes apparent once you have the ribbon and stalks in your hands. The resulting little baskets of lavender used to be hung on clothes hangers or layered with sheets in linen closets. As the lavender dries the weave keeps the flowers inside.

I like the Lavender Sticks for themselves, but am just as pleased with the connection to Miss Lawrence, the garden writer we all love.

Making a Lavender Stick was written by Annie in Austin for the Annie's Addendum Blog