Rock and rodeo: Spring break in Austin

White potato vine (Solanum laxum , or Solanum jasminoides )

It’s the Friday before spring break. I’m hoping for a week of beautiful weather, as we’ll be hanging out in Austin and hitting the parks and trails and just enjoying a week off at home. SXSW kicks off this weekend, and the Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo enters its second week, so there will be the usual mid-March convergence of black-clad hipster types along South Congress, real and urban cowboys in east Austin, and ponytailed, flip-flop-wearing college students on spring break. It makes for lively, late-night crowds at Magnolia Cafe, if you’re into lively, late-night crowds.

Me, not so much. I do like the people-watching though, and the rodeo is always fun. I know Annie gets into the film festival side of SXSW. I expect a full report from her about indie films to check out from Netflix in a few months.

Meantime, I plan to relax and enjoy some great spring weather. Here are some photos to end the week with. Enjoy!

Potato vine flowers face the ground, making for back-lit photos. Still, I like this angle because the blossoms look like parachutists coming out of the sky.

Another look at the ‘Amethyst Flame’ irises

The columbines are budding!

And the first ‘Radrazz’ rosebud has appeared. I just planted this Knockout rosebush a few weeks ago.

My eye is on the sparrow…

…and his eye is on me.

All material © 2006-2008 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

18 Responses

  1. gintoino says:

    Those ‘Amethyst Flame’ irises are really something!

  2. Ki says:

    The solanum flowers are delicate and beautiful. It is quite amazing to me that the deadly nightshade, eggplant, potato, etc. all look quite similar even if the plants differ a lot in form. I am jealous, our roses haven’t even put out leaf buds and you already have flowers. We also planted a number of the knockout roses as well as the homerun rose so I’m interested in how it survived the winter. Nice to see what it will grow up to be.

    The potato vine is poisonous in all its parts, so it has that in common with the deadly nightshade. As for the roses, we may get a late freeze tonight, and if so, it’ll knock back the ‘Radrazz.’ But that’s how it goes, right? —Pam

  3. Such fun, your photos. Have a wonderful spring break! We are on ours too, and the kids and I plan to veg out and read books and just hang. Well, and work to a Boy Scout chili supper, attend a couple of gardening workshops at a local nursery, and do other things, I’m sure.~~Dee

    It’s amazing how quickly a vacation can sail by, isn’t it? You have fun too, Dee. —Pam

  4. Gail says:

    I so enjoyed stopping by today…you are really into spring when the columbine are just about ready to open.


    The columbines seem early to me—I usually think of them as blooming in April—but I’d have to check my records to be sure. We may have a light freeze tonight ; winter’s trying for one last appearance. —Pam

  5. kerri says:

    I’m loving your early blooms Pam. The Potato Vine makes a beautiful back-lit close-up. I’d love to see a longer shot of it as well. How lucky you are to have a rose bud already on your newly planted ‘Radrass’. And buds on the Columbine too! We have so much to look forward to!! Enjoy the spring break! Ours was 2 weeks ago.

    Well, your spring break comes well before spring for you, doesn’t it? Does everyone fly to Florida for some warm weather? —Pam

  6. Frances says:

    Oh a columbine! You are so far ahead of us, it at least a month or maybe two. Iris are in May, columbine late April. The potato vine does look so pretty back lit. Enjoy your time off work, don’t stress out too much about everything being perfect for the Fling either. We’ll love it all.

    Frances at Faire Garden

    I will certainly try, Frances. Thanks for the encouragement! —Pam

  7. Looks like the forecast for early next week is rain mixed with snow. Lows in the 30s. Highs in the 30s. Apparently no one told the weather gods that this was spring break.

  8. Arg! Delete that. MyYahoo! got set to the wrong city. That was Fort William. Luckily Austin will be back to the 70s.

    Thank gawd. You made my heart stop with your first comment. The 70s sounds much better. —Pam

  9. Lori says:

    I think we’re sharing part of a brain today– I spent some time trying to get my lousy camera to take some decent pictures of my white potato vine, resulting in the grand total of one useable close-up picture.

    I’m pretty sure I have Radrazz too. That’s the Double Knockout, right? I went a little crazy late last fall and got the Double Knockout, the Pink Knockout, the Pink Double Knockout, a tiny little pot of the Blushing Knockout, and the Rainbow Knockout. And here I make the required joke about how I’ve clearly been knocked out by Knockouts. ;)

    Out of all of those Knockouts, though, I’ve only gotten blooms from the Pink, Double, and Rainbow Knockouts. I’m waiting with bated breath for the Double Pink and Blushing Knockout flowers. And I’m keeping my eye out for the butter-yellow blooms of the new yellow Knockout, which I think is a brand-new introduction this year. So far I haven’t seen it anywhere but online.

    ‘Radrazz’ is a semi-double rose. I’ve seen it popping up all over town in combination with yuccas and other drought-tolerant plants, and I just had to have it. It’s supposed to be bright red in cooler weather and cherry red in warmer. Wow, you have gone crazy with Knockouts. I look forward to seeing pics of them on your blog. —Pam

  10. Carol says:

    Spring break in Austin sounds great… something for everyone. I’m just amazed by all the Austin gardens, how much is blooming. I love columbines and have some in my garden, but they are covered by snow right now… snow… several inches…it is still snowing this morning… send more pictures of flowers… tell us what gardening is like… we are near the end of our ropes over this winter…blizzard just east and south of us in Cincinnati so it could be worse, I suppose…

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

    Tell you what gardening is like? Warm soil, cool breezes, bright sun, plants unfurling new leaves and first blossoms. In other words, spring! Hang in there, Carol. —Pam

  11. The sparrow close-ups are wonderful!
    Were you grazed by last night’s low temperatures, Pam? I think we just touched freezing here…looks like we’re safe for the next 10 days if the forecasters are right. Every morning I look out at the ‘Amethyst Flame’ iris and think of you with gratitude for adding deep purple to our landscape.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    Just grazed, I think. The new Arabian lilac (purple vitex) suffered a few new leaves getting burned, but everything else looks just fine. I’m glad the irises are blooming well for you, Annie. I’m keeping a close eye on the white ones you gave me, but they’re not ready yet. —Pam

  12. Diana says:

    I love the potato vine – I’ve never grown it and I’m looking for a blooming vine on a fence outside the breakfast room windows. Your irises are stunning, as Annie says. So vibrant. Do you think we’re safe from freezes now? I think our typical last danger day is next week sometime, isn’t it? But with these weird changes in weather everywhere, who knows what to expect!

    The potato vine takes a good deal of shade in my garden. It’s kind of quiet and delicate but flowers dependably. As for freezes, I thought we were safe already, but my garden was touched very lightly last night. The 30-year average last freeze date in central Austin (Camp Mabry) is February 24th, so we’re well past that. —Pam

  13. Robin says:

    You have me longing for spring even more with your lovely pictures. Enjoy your spring break!

  14. Brenda Kula says:

    Is it already time for spring break? Since I don’t have kids at home, I always forget. And it seems to come earlier every year. Why is that, I wonder? How on earth do you get so close to take pics of those birds? I’d love to hear your secrets.

    A decent zoom lens works wonders, Brenda. I was standing about 12 feet away from this sparrow, and the 12X zoom on my camera did the rest. —Pam

  15. Linda says:

    beautiful photos!

    Thanks, Linda. I appreciate your stopping by. —Pam

  16. Randy says:

    I love the sparrow photos and the Texas Mountain Laurel is incredible. I wonder how it would do here?

    I’m in Zone 8b. I don’t think it grows much north of here, and according to Dave’s Garden, it prefers “strongly alkaline” soil. Do you have those conditions, Randy? —Pam

  17. Pam says:

    I think that potato vine has some of the most photogenic flowers – yours look beautiful!

    Thanks, Pam. —Pam

  18. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I always start thinking Hummingbirds when our columbines start budding and blooming. When do your hummingbirds arrive?
    It is so exciting to think that it won’t be long before they arrive. Enjoy your spring break. It sounds like fun walking trails and relaxing.

    I’ve never noticed the hummingbirds sipping from the columbines before. But I’m pretty sure the hummers will have returned by the time they bloom. I think the first ones arrive in late February and early March, but I haven’t seen one yet this spring. —Pam