Appetizers and Leftovers

When it comes to nature’s floral feast, buds are akin to appetizers: tiny bits of delectable beauty that whet our appetite for what’s to come. Here, a single coreopsis bud (Coreopsis basalis) gleams against the glow of bluebonnets and other coreopsis at the Rockport City Cemetery.

Even after a several-course meal, a bit of sweetness is nice. Here, a white prickly poppy, though reduced to stigma, stamens, and prickles, remains sweet enough to attract what appears to be a tiny tumbling flower beetle (Mordella sp.). The very opposite of the over-petaled example I’d seen near this spot, it attracted my eye, as well.

Comments always are welcome.

50 thoughts on “Appetizers and Leftovers

  1. The details of flowers at the different stages are fascinating – sometimes you can see the plant’s ‘architecture’ better at these times. The background in the top photo makes me think of watercolour paint – lovely!

    1. I agree about the pleasure that each stage of a flower’s life provides. It’s one reason I enjoy seed heads; even in winter, they provide some intriguing views. I’m glad you like this view of the bud. I have two images that I kept. One, taken from the other side, has more pink from the phlox in the background, but I liked this more limited palette.

  2. It is always such a pleasure to see flowers with their pollinators and to know that nature is working as it should, especially in recent times when pollinators are declining so catastrophically in some areas.

    1. My definition of ‘pollinator’ certainly has enlarged over time. I used to think only of bees and butterflies. Then, hoverflies and wasps got added to the mix. Once I got a macro lens, I discovered every sort of tiny creature lurking around, sometimes pollinating quite accidentally as they sought out nectar, but still part of the system.

  3. There’s a glow emanating from the coreopsis that is stunning! Never before have I seen a bud as glorious as this.
    Then that special addition to the prickly poppy, loved it.

    1. Just wait until I catch up with myself and show you the bud of our coastal plain yellow-eyed grass. This is a pretty one, but as I recall, the yellow-eyed grass is special. I do enjoy all of the buds; they’re such tidy little packages.

    1. I’m glad the flowers helped get your week off to a good start. I smiled at your reference to Monday. I just discovered last night that my pendulum clock stopped, at 8:35. I don’t know if it stopped last night, or yesterday morning, or three days ago. In many respects time does seem to have stopped — but I’ve pulled the weights back up, and once 8:35 rolls around, I’ll start the pendulum swinging again, and get on with it.

  4. Gorgeous shots, Linda, and I like the comparison to a meal, especially one eagerly awaited. I like your beetle in that last shot; I often am so focused on getting a bigger bee or butterfly and miss the little things, until I see them in the downloads. They’re always a nice surprise.

    1. The tumbling flower beetles amuse me no end — maybe because of those pointed ends! I’m always surprised by the number of tiny spiders, beetles, caterpillars, and ants that roam around our flowers, but they are fun to discover, and often quite interesting. I still can’t sort out many of the bees, but I’ve got hoverflies and crab spiders pretty well figured out — and the metallic bees.

  5. Your favorite flower color is white, and the prickly poppy is one of your favorite flowers of that color, so there’s some irony in your showing a white prickly poppy with no white. The backgrounds in both portraits are nice and soft.

    1. To paraphrase the old saying about someone being more than just a pretty face, the white prickly poppy is more than just a pretty set of petals. The wind was blowing hard that day, and several of the plants had been stripped, but the curls on this one, and the little insect, really made the image for me.

  6. These are both good shots, and I like this idea of buds as appetizers. Even without the petals, the prickly poppy is a nice-looking flower.
    Every once in a while, I’ll make some lemon chicken, and put some capers on it – little pickled flower buds – to make it extra tart, they’re pretty tasty.

    1. Your mention of capers reminds me of a classic tale from the Pandemic.

      A friend had gone to the grocery store in the early days of panic-shopping, and came home with almost nothing. But, she had some capers. I thought that was interesting, and asked her what dish she intended to make. She said she didn’t know — that she’d never used them. When I asked her why she’d bought them if she didn’t know what to do with them, she said, “They were there.” I’ll have to tell her to check out lemon chicken recipes.

    1. Thanks, Misti! It is Monday — at least for a while yet, and it was a beautiful day. The bay was filled with sailboats, and it was a gorgeous sight.

  7. Beautiful images. I just love the shallow DOF. The first photo is particularly lovely with the golden yellow of the bud replicated in the bottom of the image

    1. I like that first image, too. I have another where pink predominates behind the bud, but I like the soft blue and yellow. The pink is a little more bold, and I think it suited the poppy well. That one-day visit to the cemetery certainly provided a wealth of images. Maybe I’ll do one more post, and then move on to some other things.

  8. What a perfect way to “connect the dots” — appetizers and main course. (Although where is dessert!) These are particularly beautiful and now I’ll be thinking about this. The pricky poppy is pretty!

    1. I’m trying to avoid dessert these days. Once I made my way through the thin mint Oreos, I steeled my resolve, and went back to the apples and oranges and grapes. I’m glad you like the poppy. A friend said without its petals it looks like her work-at-home neighbor going out to get his mail less than fully clothed.

  9. I *did* notice that little bug on this flower!! What a great shot you got, Linda. Good photography takes a LOT of patience, eagle eyes, and a smattering of good luck, doesn’t it?!!

    1. Patience and luck, for sure. Sometimes my eyes don’t see what shows up later on the computer, but I did see this little guy at the time. I wondered whether he was responsible for that single stamen swinging in the wind. Probably not, but you never know.

    1. Isn’t that fun? I’m getting better at seeing the insects that are around, although I’m often surprised by one that escaped my attention. The tumbling beetles are fun; they can flip themselves right over, just like an acrobat.

  10. There are important bits and not so important bits. So long as you’ve got the important bits, the not so important bits don’t matter all that much. Took a look at the 10-day forecast. The blanket’s coming off the bed this time the sheets get changed. We’re due to hit 90 by the end of the month. Sigh.

    1. Of course, there’s always the issue of figuring out which bit is which, but what else do we have to do these days? You’d better get that blanket off. I just saw the highs from Corpus and Victoria for today, and they broke heat records. It would suit me just fine if we could ease off on the heat for a little while longer — particularly out in the Gulf waters.

    1. Thanks so much, Ellen. I hope you didn’t suffer much from yesterday’s storms. They passed both north and south of me, but some of the hailstones were impressive. None of our flowers would have done well in that tennis-ball sized stuff.

  11. I’m particularly fond of your second photo, for many esthetic reasons, on which your previous followers have adequately commented. I’m curious, though: Those leaves look quite prickly, like thistle leaves; are they as stiff and worthy of caution as they look?

    1. They sure are worthy of caution. They’re as unapproachable as most of our thistles, and worse than some; the leaves, flower buds, seed pods and even stems are covered in spines. Neither cattle nor deer will eat them, which pretty much tells the tale. There are birds that eat the seeds, but otherwise they just fill up the fields with beauty — sometimes, acres at a time.

    1. Sometimes, especially in the case of the buds, I think they’re even more beautiful. Well, at least as beautiful. The petals are such a distinguishing mark of the poppies I never would have thought they’d be as attractive without them, but in this case, I was actually attracted to the plant because of that lack.

    1. I can imagine that your yellow poppy’s fully as lovely. Is it as terrifically prickly as this one? I suspect so. Despite its attractiveness, I’ve never seen white prickly poppies in a vase — for good reason. I never would attempt to pluck one and bring it home, that’s for sure.

      1. Speaking about them, I just took a shot of its seedpod today. I imagine the yellow is extremely similar to the white in its ‘prickliness’, just remember to wear your gardener’s gloves if it even occurs to you to show them off in a vase! Which is, by the way, what I’m doing tonight, but for other reasons.

    1. Hey! When you’ve lost all your petals and your prickliness is your primary feature, you may become a little weird, too! You’ll notice the poppy still has a friend, though.

  12. Nicely observed. Yes, both the appetizers and the leftovers are important parts of the garden. You couldn’t have a 3 course meal consisting only of entrees. Well, you could, but you’d likely have a stomachache after.

    1. Thinking of three entrees raised immediate visions of a certain kind of all-you-can-eat buffet. Once upon a time, country buffets were pretty good, but once they started focusing only on quantity, the quality went down. There’s one in a small town near here that’s a real gem, though. I’ll be glad to be able to visit again. Luckily, I don’t think too many flowers ever could be served up.

    1. It’s funny — I’ve never tried watercolors, but I love them. Now I’ve discovered I can get the effect without paints! Thanks so much for the kind words, Dina!

  13. Who’d have thought we’d be looking at bugs as bonuses instead of pests? Interesting the heart of that poppy still looks fresh even though the petals are gone.

    1. I’m almost certain the reason the center of the poppy looks so fresh is that the wind had been blowing hard for a couple of days, and I think the petals dried and were blown away sooner than they might have been otherwise. I do love finding those little insects running around. Dare I suggest they’re ‘lagniappe,’ too?

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