Those Heavenly Bluebonnets

Rockport City Cemetery ~ March 7


Five species of bluebonnet serve as the Texas state flower, and each graces a particular part of our very large state. For generations, Texans have made pilgrimage to the nearest fields or roadsides for a favorite spring ritual: photographing their babies, grandparents, dogs, bridal couples, or graduates among the iconic flowers.

In the Rockport cemetery, where both the Texas bluebonnet (Lupinus texensis) and the sandyland bluebonnet (Lupinus subcarnosus) can be found, even the angels seem to smile when the bluebonnets arrive, posing with uncommon grace for photographers.


Comments always are welcome.
Click any image for greater size and more detail.

NOTE: I’ve just learned that six bluebonnet species are considered to be the Texas state flower, not five. Number six (Lupinus perennis) was added relatively recently, but I’m not sure of the exact date.

54 thoughts on “Those Heavenly Bluebonnets

    1. Fifth or sixth heaven, at least. I’ve always enjoyed going back to a place I’ve already visited, and this was no exception. The red bench I found there last year was gone, as were a couple of the shrubs I particularly liked. On the other hand, I don’t remember seeing this angel. Perhaps she was there; perhaps I simply missed her. But I was happy to find her on this trip.

  1. I think that if I were to own a sports team in Texas I would call it The Texas Bluebonnets. The mere name would infer good conduct and sportsmanship.

    1. Not only that, bluebonnets are tough little plants. They germinate in the fall, form their rosettes in the winter, and deal perfectly well with our cold weather. Once spring arrives, they bestir themselves and begin providing the beauty we just can’t get enough of.

    1. It’s good to have the bluebonnets back. I enjoy panoramic shots of the flower-fiilled fields as much as anyone, but they certainly reward a closer look, too.

    1. We do love these flowers. There are some interesting legends about how the flower got its name, but I decided to forgo them here and save them for another time.

    1. I expected to see bees among the bluebonnets, but this angelic being was a surprise. If you look at her hands and the edge of one wing, you can see another flower that was blooming prolifically: blue curls.

    1. Lucky you, Debbie! That one’s a beauty, too. I hadn’t heard of it, so I went to see if it’s listed in Texas. It is — in very far eastern Texas. That’s when things got interesting.

      Most of the articles I’ve read about the bluebonnet say there are five species which are honored as our state flower. But the law that was passed said that if any other species were discovered here, they’d become a state flower, too. Lo and behold, the form you found also is considered one of our state flowers. You do have a real Texas bluebonnet, and I have to revise my post, since there are six species now, instead of five. I’m not sure when it was added to the list, but it must have been fairly recently.

  2. I don’t know what variety we have in our yard, only that the original seeds were brought from the hill country by the family that lived in this house before the people we bought it from. when it’s a good season the easement, the ditch, and the space between the ditch and the front flower bed is filled. we started a second patch in the back with seeds from the front and it’s growing larger every year.

    1. Isn’t it interesting how variable their bloom can be? Last year was spectacular for so many flowers, but whether we’ll get that kind of show this year is debatable. In any event, it doesn’t require huge fields of bluebonnets to be delighted by them. What you describe is surely breathtaking, and a large enough spread that their light fragrance probably wafts around in the air, too.

    1. She does look pleased, despite that blank look in her eyes! And you’re right about that Victorian feel: probably thanks to those roses, and all those curls.

    1. The information and illustrations in that article certainly were a surprise to me. I noticed this line: “It turns out that vision is heavily subjective.” I suspect most of us know that already, so I read it more as a confirmation than a revelation, but it was a good reminder.

      Given your occasional comments about color and clothing, I smiled at this: “In Germany, Goethe declared that ‘savage nations, uneducated people, and children have a great predilection for vivid colors.’ He also noted that ‘people of refinement avoid vivid colors in their dress and the objects that are about them.”” Well, call me an unrefined child.

      As for the angel, how about this ? Obviously, it’s not well done, but the most interesting thing about it is that I couldn’t bring myself to saturate the color as deeply as in some of the examples in the article. Bluebonnet-colored eyes suggested a tinge of madness rather than an angelic nature.

    1. Some of the places where they often make a first appearance around here aren’t in flower yet, but they’re popping up at unexpected sites. My suspicion is that variations in rainfall has played a role, but unpredictable bluebonnets are a fact of life, so we’ll just have to keep looking.

    1. I smiled when I saw those roses, too. Who knows? Maybe she’s wishing she had a bouquet of bluebonnets to hold. Since I don’t remember seeing her last year, and since she wasn’t sporting much algae or lichens, this could be her first spring in that spot, and her first time to ‘see’ the bluebonnets.

    1. The European varieties are gorgeous. I’ve seen some photos of them from New Zealand, too. Of course, they’re a problem there, as they are in parts of our continent, but they’re so beautiful it’s easy to see why people would like to have them in their gardens.

    1. Thank you, Pete. I thought there was an almost perfect balance between the angel and the flowers: both beautiful, and both worthy of attention. I’m glad you found the image pleasing!

  3. Since solitary pleasures are currently the wise decision, viewing blue bonnets might just brighten otherwise pretty iffy times.

    1. Absolutely, and it won’t be long until there are other beauties to enjoy. I noticed yesterday that our pink evening primroses are beginning to overspread the roadsides, and the trees are beginning to bloom. It’s a wonderful season, indeed.

  4. What a lovely little angel of a statue. Her smile might be said to be beatific and she has a bit of Mona Lisa about her as well. The bluebonnets set her off nicely. Again, you have made a wonderful composition.

    1. I may have missed the angel last year, but it may well be that the statue is new; there wasn’t any evidence of wear, or much lichen or algae growth. It didn’t occur to me until today to wonder whether she was modeled after a specific person. Several details, including that smile, seem far more interesting than what’s generally seen in an off-the-shelf angel. I’m glad she can keep her roses, but it’s clear that she thinks the bluebonnets are something special.

        1. I’d never thought of power washing a gravestone, and didn’t think it happened here, but I realized I had no idea whether you even could/should do it.

          I ended up reading that preservationists and those responsible for maintaining cemeteries recommend that power washers never be used, simply because they’re so destructive of the stone. That makes sense, since even household-grade power washers never should be used on teak boat decks. Some people do it, but they ruin their decks, since the power of the washers removes the softer part of the grain and leaves the wood terribly rutted. It seems that they can do the same thing to stone. I never would have imagined that.

          1. Nor did I. I would have thought stone was more resistant than vinyl. I power wash our front steps which are one of those three step concrete cast blocks but hadn’t thought about the makeup of headstones and statues. I knew about wood as I have washed our decks and found that if I used the highest pressure stream the wood wore away. It can still be done but with the softer gauge insert.

  5. Cemeteries and old railroad tracks are a good place to find remnant bits of prairie and rare native wildflowers. The bluebells are so beautiful. Going to Texas for the bluebonnets in bloom is on my bucket list.

    1. When I visited northwest Arkansas, I spent some time walking the tracks, both new and old, and there were wonderful flowers to be seen. Our bluebells (aka prairie gentian) are another of my favorites. When you come to see the bluebonnets, you’ll have to stop by the Bluebell creamery in Brenham and have some ice cream!

    1. What’s equally remarkable is that I remember the melody to the jingle. Good lyrics and a good tune stick; today’s advertisers could take a lesson or two.

      1. I, too, remember the melody, Linda. To that one and many others. Sometimes, at our bookclub of 30 plus years where we are all in our 70s or late 60s, we break out in a song fest; “Hams, the beer refreshing,” and on and on.

  6. I didn’t know until a year or two ago that Blue Bonnets were a member of the Lupin family. A bunch of show offs in in that group, and even some who are full of beans. (They harvest them in Peru. Sounds like it takes some processing to make them edible.)

    That’s a purty picture – I don’t think the angel is full of beans.

    1. It’s amazing how many Lupine species there are, including a yellow one that’s a real knockout. I think I remember that there are about 500 species world-wide, and about 200 in this country. The seed pods of bluebonnets are actually quite large, and do look like pea pods, but they’re toxic. Even the deer don’t browse them, and if the deer turn them down, you know you don’t want them on your plate!

      As for the angel — she looks more like she might be capable of spilling some beans.

    1. I thought so. As you know, there’s a lot to learn in cemeteries, especially for those tracking down family members or trying to piece together a broader history, but there’s a lot that’s simply appealing to the eye, and this is a perfect example. I’m glad you enjoyed seeing them!

    1. I think it’s one of the loveliest combinations of wildflowers and statuary I’ve seen. Part of its the balance; it’s impossible for me to say either the angel or the flowers are the more beautiful.

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