Tuesday, October 14, 2008


October is usually a very colorful month of the year in Austin, as long as there is enough rain to keep the plants going through the summer. Many of the flowers respond to the shortening days.

The Japanese anemone, Anemone x hybrida, is standout in the fall garden. Unfortunately I am not sure of the specific name of this one but it has been an easy grower in my English garden. The blooms rise above slender but firm stalks and needs no staking. It spreads by runners so easily makes a good clump. One of the spreaders I am not unhappy to enjoy in my garden.

The Philippine violet, Barlena cristata, is related to the Mexican petunia, and is far more mannerly. It forms a shrub, of about 4', which is root hardy in Austin. Never seems to get bugs or diseases and the leaves are always green. My kind of plant.

This is my first year to try the datura, having been seduced by its frilly purple blooms at a friends house last year. Unfortunately the leaves have not looked their best so I might forgo this plant next year.

This amaranthus was another experiment this year. The seeds were also given to me. The spiky flowers have been a favorite of hummingbirds, finches, and bees.

I got the surprise of my life when I was weeding under the yaupon holly yesterday. Columbines in flower. I have no idea from where they came and what they are doing flowering in October. A nice surprise, nevertheless.

The white Mandevilla vine is finally coming back to life. A holdover from last year I just may keep it over the winter. Next year it will go in partial shade because I think it just can't take the full sun in Texas.

It looks as though the whole garden is awash with pinks and purples. I mustn't forget the narrow leaf zinnias, Zinnia linearis. They have been the mainstay of the garden throughout the summer  and are still looking wonderful.

Sweet alyssum, despite having taken a beating from the harlequin bugs in the spring, is growing again by leaps and bounds. It is a fragrant addition to the winter garden. It appears each year in shades of pink, purple and white although the white always seems to be more prevalent.

Blue mistflower is quite happy in a dry spot in the garden. 

Finally,  the wonderfully fragrant rose, Felicia. My husband's choice when we visited the Antique Rose Emporium. He chose well because this is one of the most fragrant of all roses. It's a wonderful time in the Southern garden.


  1. From Lancs to Texas. That's quite a jump, gardeningwise.

    Were there deer in Lancs? We have plenty in Berks. I want a deer fence for my birthday, but it will spoil the view.

    Most of the flowers you show are unknown to me. It must be ever so exciting to grow things that are unusual to European eyes. Very exotic with names I never even heard of.

    The Mandevilla vine has flowers that look like Periwinkle, with a fused calyx and those dancing petals. Like Oleander I suppose. Are they related?

    If you want to see what you left behind, come take a look here

    I wouldn't mind swapping ;-)

  2. Oh you warm climate gals! Love to see those flowers that I can't grow here in Wisconsin. Liked your pesto freezing tip and the pix of your dry stream pre-planting.

    We have two dry streams in our garden to deal with rainwater but we have lots of leaves which are falling right now. And you are right that they are very annoying. But the trees are big old honey locusts that are magnificent so we just live with the mess.

  3. I love gardening surprises like those columbines.

  4. Such lovely plants! I really like the amaranthus, as well as the Mandevilla vine. I wish I would get a surprise like your Columbines! They are gorgeous.

  5. Thanks to everyone for their nice comments and visiting my blog-Joco-I'm sure there were deer in Lancashire but I lived on the coast and never saw any there. I never gardened there as I came over here shortly after I graduated which was 40 years ago! I have never lost my love of the English garden and whenever I am in England I visit every garden I can. Here I try to infuse some of the English style into my Texas garden with garden structure. With an abundance of limestone rocks we have created dry stone wall which give a somewhat English feel to the spaces.
    MS/Wis- We also have live oaks hanging over the dry creek and they drop their leaves in the spring. I did resort to a blower which really speeds up the process of leaf removal.
    Kathy and Aiyana-Love those garden surprises. Don't we go out there every morning looking for them.

  6. Happy Bloom Day, Jenny - what cool stuff you have in bloom!

    Some of your flowers are ones I grow too, like the Philippine violet, zinnias, alyssum and mistflower, but you have Japanese anemone and it looks wonderful. I had no idea that old favorite from Illinois could survive in Austin. Well - at least it survives in your garden!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  7. Your Texas blooms are a JOY to behold! Lovely! I pass through Texas
    and I think it's Austin when we winter in Arizona!
    A Canadain Bloom Day gal!

  8. Beautiful garden and flowers. Quite a surprise to see a columbine on October bloom day!

  9. That's a beautiful columbine, a very happy surprise, and you didn't plant it? One common comment from many people on bloom day is that it forced them to go out to their garden to really see what was in bloom, and they saw a flower they might otherwise have missed. That makes me happy to hear.

    But I know you spend a lot of time in your garden, and it shows in all your wonderful blooms.

    Thanks for joining in for bloom day. We northern gardeners need you southern gardeners to keep posting pictures of blooms throughout the winter to sustain us!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  10. wow..I covet your garden..I'm in such early stages i can only dream of this...it's truly a sight to behold..I must print out some of your pics so I can put it on one of those 'posterboards' where you imagine what you'd like to bring in to your life (in my case, garden!)..you certainly do have a very beautiful garden blog..inspiration for this gardener anyway [s]


  11. Oooh, exciting, a rose I'm not familiar with! Felicia looks lovely, and I especially like the color and the old-fashioned form. How would you describe the scent?