69 thoughts on “It’s Their Time, Again

  1. It is snowy and very cold here, Linda, so this is a wonderful burst of colour. Think I’ll sip my coffee and stare at the pictures for a while!

    1. I’m glad I spent Sunday exploring. This is only one of the bits of color I found, but I thought it deserved its own post. There’s something immensely cheering about such vibrant reds and blues; I may have to stare at it next weekend myself, as we’re in line for a real dose of winter. There probably won’t be snow, but temperatures will dip well into “bring in the plants and wrap the pipes” territory.

    1. This group, and a half-dozen scattered individuals, were the only ones I found, but this stretch of road has produced early paintbrush three years in a row, so I was looking for them. As a side benefit, I got to chat with one of my favorite game wardens. He was passing along that same road while I was trying to position the flowers against the sky, and stopped to check things out.

      That two-syllable pronunciation led to the famous bumper sticker, of course: the one about ‘whirled peas.” And this tidbit from the page amused me: “Out of this world — ‘surpassing, marvelous’ — is from 1928; earlier it meant “dead.”

    1. Aren’t they gorgeous? When I saw them, my heart sang. Even though our winters are mild, they can tend toward monochromatic near the end, and a bright flash of color is a joy.

    1. I just read today’s post from Space City Weather, and it is a little grim. I think while the fog’s lifting this morning, I’d best finish my repotting and get my babies ready to move indoors.

    1. I found a few others as well, Pit. I saved them for another post, though. They’re smaller and more delicate, and these paintbrush would have overshadowed them. It was fun to find a cluster of flowers, nicely spaced for a photo.

      Mid-February is the time when we begin to see flowers here. I checked my archives, and sure enough: I have photos from about the same time every year.

      1. Thank you for doing the research, Linda. I will definitely look for them this summer, which sounds like an eon to me now. I’ve also checked, another name for the them is Prairie Fire which I have a vague memory of having heard. Indian Paintbrush is too literary and elegant a name for a wild flower.

    1. Those bright skies were short-lived, but they’ll be back. We’re on our roller-coaster now, with the coldest weather of the year waiting in the wings. In a week, these flowers will be cold-singed, too — but their companions won’t take long to re-emerge once the cold is past.

    1. The robins still are lingering, and the coots. I suspect they’ll wait out this next arctic front, and then begin their own journey northward. Valentine’s Day is the traditional time for rose pruning here, but I suspect some gardeners are going to wait out the front, too. Still: the changes are beginning. It won’t be long now!

    1. Aren’t they, though? And I don’t have to envy your anemones any longer — I found a few of those, too. I decided to feature the Indian paintbrush solo today; it’s so glorious, it would have overshadowed other flowers.

  2. Oh, my. These tell me Spring really is on the way, and all this snow and cold will one day go away. Thanks for capturing the beauty and sharing it, Linda!

    1. That’s exactly what I thought when I saw these, Debbie: “Oh, my!” I know winter can feel long up there under the best of circumstances, but this year has been an exceptional trial. Every sign of winter losing its grip should be celebrated. Now, if only we can get the virus to loosen its grip, maybe the politicians and bureaucrats will begin to ease up, too.

    1. I hadn’t thought about it, but this would have made a fine Valentine’s Day post. The colors certainly are seasonal. It’s always intrigued me that the actual flowers are those little green ‘thingies’ sticking out. The parts of the plant that are red are bracts, or modified leaves — like in poinsettias. More red for the coming holiday!

    1. It looks as though we’re going to be sharing another touch of winter this weekend. If I get tempted to grump about our cold as I’m hauling in plants, I’ll think about your forecast. You need a little warmth and color worse than we do.

        1. Here, too. The forecast’s getting worse, and friends in the hill country already are in the limbs-breaking-because-of-ice stage. We’re heading for the 20s/30s Sunday-Tuesday. Oh, joy.

  3. Those are gorgeous, but will they be so after this coming freeze? How cold will it be in your area? Here in Austin, 20s for at least a couple of nights. There go my Mexican Honeysuckle…

    1. The short answer to your question is, “No.” Those pretty flowers are going to have a hard time of it. Even here at the Bay, where it’s always a little warmer than in Houston, they’re predicting 35/28F on Monday. On the other hand, a couple of years ago I found some sort of white daisy still blooming after three days of sub-freezing nights, so who knows? The native plants are tougher than we imagine — but your poor honeysuckle!

    1. We’re warm, but gray as can be. The sunshine was short-lived, but I was surprised by how uplifting just one day of truly spring-like conditions could be. Now, the task is to get past the coming cold spell. All of the birds that have started to sing may decide they were a little early.

  4. Signs of spring are increasing with each visit to Nature’s yard. Bugs, blooms, birds.

    Who cares about the affairs of humans? The world is a glorious place for those who will see.

    1. As spring-like and luscious as these colors are, I had an even more glorious encounter the afternoon I found the paintbrush. A Mississippi Kite was sitting atop a dead tree some distance from the auto route. I wouldn’t have seen it, or known what it was, had another woman not told me about it. Even though my lens wasn’t sufficient to get a decent photo, I decided to keep walkingwalkingwalking toward it, down a berm. I finally got close enough to snag a photo before it flew. It will show up here eventually. Every time I look at it, I grin.

  5. Our area isn’t even thinking about Indian Paint Brush yet, Linda. I’m jealous. It’s one of my favorite plants. Shooting stars will soon be filling our hillside with delightful color, however. And it appears there will be a bunch judging from all of the young green leaves. Fawn Lillies will follow soon after. But they are very choosy about where they grow. –Curt

    1. Isn’t it fun to anticipate good friends arriving for their yearly visits? Your fawn lilies are related to our trout lilies, or dog-tooth violets. I’ve never seen them, but they can be found in East Texas. After our coming cold snap, it will be about time for a trip that direction, just to see what’s unfolding — literally and metaphorically. I’m ready for spring flowers and more consistent working conditions.

      1. “Spring flowers and more consistent working conditions,” an interesting combination, Linda. Are the working conditions because of Covid, the economy or weather? Spring flowers are always welcome!

  6. Those photos will be my reminder of spring to come while we sit out the cold weather this weekend. The forecasts are all over the map, but they agree this will be the coldest we’ve been this season.

    1. I just looked at your extended forecast, and I’d like to extend my sympathies. It looks like you might get some precipitation along with those well-below-freezing temperatures. That’s no fun. It seems we’ll drop below freezing, and one graphic did show a tiny snowflake, but here at the bay and along the coast I doubt that we’ll have extended cold. It’s time to get out the freeze cloth and rig up the work lights for the plants that are too heavy to get inside.

    1. Thanks, Liz. There’s something about such pure colors, and this combination in particular, that lifts my spirits. I love white flowers, but this time of year, stronger colors seem to make everyone happy — and who doesn’t need a little extra happiness?

    1. We’re going to come close to matching your temperatures by Sunday/Monday. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen sleet, snow, and freezing rain in our forecast. The pretty flowers are going to be shivering and shriveling, but there will be more.

  7. Wow! It’s snowing here in the UK, so it is great to see a splash of vivid colour and to know that spring is starting somewhere.

    1. It’s going to be a sputtering start to spring, after all. We’re heading into several days of the sort of cold we rarely see. We’ll probably hover at or just below freezing here at the coast, but even a few miles north, there are going to be some very unhappy gardeners. I’ve already done the repotting I wanted to do, and brought some plants inside. I’ll push the big schefflera into a corner, and hook up a couple of work lights under the freeze cloth. If I do that and water them well, they should do fine, unless it drops into the 20s.

      1. I hope that your plants come through OK. It’s been much colder than usual at night here, so I’m resigned to the fact that I may lose a few. Never mind, that will just mean that I’ll have to buy something hardier as replacements! Spring feels a long way off again, now that we have snow.

        1. Around here, one of the worst side effects of the cold can be fish kills. The waters in the bays and estuaries are going to drop a lot, and there are going to be some very surprised fish.

  8. How lovely! No, Nature is not subject to our woes and continues on with or without us. That’s our good fortune, especially if we are nature photographers. The few inches of snow that we received yesterday is Nature moving at her own pace.

    1. I can’t help wondering if Nature took my writing about winter as an invitation; we’re in for a few days of misery around here. It won’t be nearly as cold or snowy as it can be for you, but it’s heading belong freezing, and the dreaded words ‘freezing rain’ are in the forecast. Snow, too. We’ll see. I sure am glad I bestirred myself last weekend to get out and see what I could see. It may be just a while before more paintbrush dare to emerge!

      1. Freezing rain is the worst because of the black ice it creates and causes so many accidents to those unaware that it is there. Texas had quite a horrific example of that yesterday. I hope you didn’t have any difficulties with it. I bet those paintbrushes are second guessing their early arrival.

        1. We’re going to hover in the low 40s until Sunday, when we’ll drop to freezing and below. That’s when we’ll have our best chance of sleet, freezing rain, and snow.

            1. Steve in Austin, and other folks north of here, are really in for it. I mean — sub-zero temperatures for an extended period. I have a friend in the hill country who went to work and now can’t get up her hill to get home. High water’s not the only thing that causes problems out there.

            2. Steve commented on my post about losing trees there. Not good. I’d guess that your trees are not as accustomed to such pressures, as opposed to strong winds, and have not grown in such a way as to resist the weight that ice and snow cause. But that is true here also under extreme conditions. Sub-zero has to be exceedingly rare there…even sub-zero C.

    1. This was such a nice little collection of flowers. They seemed to be completely undamaged, so they probably hadn’t been in bloom very long. The colors were just glorious; in the sunlight, they glowed even more than they do in the photos.

  9. Beautiful to see that special shade of red and hard to realize that a few hundred miles south of me and the paint brushes are already blooming. In the meantime, as of Friday a few hundred miles north, the weather has turned extremely cold, This front is planning on hanging around for about a week. In fact it is miserably cold.

    1. I will say that this group of paintbrush and a half-dozen (?) scattered others were the only ones I saw. The rest were smart enough to hold off until this last winter weather passed by. It’s going to freeze all the way to the Gulf; Galveston’s projected to hit 16F on Monday night. I’m listening to some guys on radio talking about our freeze in 1983. It stayed below freezing so long that the ground froze, and alligators came out of the mud to get warm! I’m most worried about ice, and the consequent power losses. They’re already having that in the hill country; I hope you don’t have to deal with it.

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