As spring transitioned into summer, I began to fear I had missed seeing my beloved basket-flowers this year. Finally, around mid-June, they began to appear: along abandoned rail tracks and in ditches; tucked into unmowed corners of vacant lots; lurking at the edge of a shipyard. By July, seeds I’d given to friends began to produce as well, and their reports of successful germination pleased me immensely.
Generally speaking, basket-flowers bloom a soft, lovely pink, or various shades of lavender. As they age, the intricately woven ‘basket’ containing the slender disk flowers turns golden, becoming the center of attraction as the seeds form.
Occasionally, as with this flower from a colony in Kemah, Texas, the fading bloom darkens, taking on shades of bronzed purple and red.
Sometimes, white basket-flowers appear. Near Tres Palacios Bay on Texas’s mid-coast, this lovely example stirred in the wind: a reminder of the surprising variety nature offers to even the most casual observer.