Blooming abutilon and other spring signs

Last year I carelessly transplanted this ‘Marilyn’s Choice’ abutilon to the lower garden, making room closer to the house for something I liked better, since ‘Marilyn’ can look pretty scrawny when not in bloom. And now she’s rewarding me—I feel unworthy!—with these charming, red-and-yellow, bell-shaped blossoms, which dangle from her leafy branches. Flowering maple is abutilon’s common name, and the leaves show you why.

How else is Austin’s early spring making itself known? Well, ‘Blue Elf’ aloe is in full bloom.

Heat-loving four-nerve daisy (Tetraneuris scaposa) is revving up against a backdrop of blue dianthus foliage.

Purple oxalis (Oxalis triangularis) is coming back to life with fresh, eggplant-colored leaves and dainty, lilac flowers.

In the front garden, the dormant Japanese maple is budding tender new leaves.

A closer look

Step through the gate into the back garden, and a gravel path leads past the bottle tree toward…

…a tropical-looking (but hardy) swath of Mexican honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera) in full bloom.

And one last look at the abutilon. Happy spring!

All material © 2006-2013 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

10 Responses

  1. Peter says:

    Happy spring to you Dr. Penick! Beautiful signs of the season! Love that abutilon!

    Hmm, “doctor”? I feel like I’ve just been given a secret identity–ha! —Pam

  2. Lynn says:

    The abutilon is so pretty. I’ll have to search for one when the weather gets warmer here. Love your bottle tree. Unfortunately I don’t think I can have one here in West Texas where it would probably become a flying projectile with our strong winds.

    We’re having a nasty windstorm here in Austin today, as it happens, but the bottles are hanging on. I just hope a big tree limb doesn’t come down on it. —Pam

  3. Love those early spring blooms. It won’t be long even here. Harbinger of Spring is beginning to bloom in the forest here.

    That sounds lovely, Lisa. Won’t be long! —Pam

  4. Spring is here in SA too…or so it seems. It sure is beautiful to see things growing again. I love your abutilon is so neat – I had never seen one before yours. Congrats on it liking its new home:)

    I got lucky, didn’t I? Sometimes plants reward us even when we don’t deserve it. —Pam

  5. I’m loving your ‘Marilyn’s Choice’ abutilon. What a beautiful plant. You inspired me to plant some Purple oxalis. They look so pretty this time of year.

    They really do, Steph. Try the purple oxalis with Gulf Coast penstemon and Hinkley’s columbine for even more spring oomph. —Pam

  6. Scott Weber says:

    I was out cutting back the garden this weekend (ok, just barely made a dent) and was amazed at how many plants were up and growing…spring is definitely here!

    Yay, happy spring to you too, then, Scott! —Pam

  7. Layanee says:

    It is rather odd to see an abutilon planted out in a garden since I only ever see it as a potted plant here in New England. The aloe is lovely as well. Happy spring. Send it east please.

    I’m surprised it’s not there already, Layanee, considering the blustery wind from the west that we’ve experienced all day. Maybe it’ll be there by tomorrow. —Pam

  8. Sarah says:

    Oh! I’d never heard of abutilon until I read this. It’s gorgeous. The blossoms look like frilly little cocktail dresses. I wish we had your weather. I’m just starting to defrost :) Happy spring, Pam!

    Frilly cocktail dresses—I like that comparison, Sarah. You wouldn’t want our weather today—we’ve had a blustery, cold wind all day. But tomorrow there’s a promise of clear skies and 68F. Sounds like spring again! —Pam

  9. Gaz says:

    I love the first signs of spring. We are getting plenty on our side of the pond, but its still too cold and wet for my liking. Hopefully March will be better.


    I hope spring comes early for you, Gaz. March is just around the corner! —Pam

  10. I had no idea that abutilon grew so large. I had looked at them often, thinking about putting one in my garden but think it would be an annual here.

    It probably would be, Janet. They are just hardy in our zone 8b, I believe. But it would work as a winter houseplant for you, and then you could put it outdoors in light shade in the summer. —Pam