Pink, Pinker, Pinkiest

Eager for spring’s bold primary colors — Bluebonnets, red Indian Paintbrush, yellow Buttercups and Butterweed — it can be easy to overlook the season’s  pastels. Pink, lavender, and white flowers are blooming, emerging, or already fading. It’s time to catch them, before they’re gone.

Ten-petal anemone ~ Anemone berlandieri
Brazoria Wildlife Refuge

For years, I found only white ten-petal anemones at the Brazoria refuge. This year, to my great delight, a large colony of pink-tinged flowers appeared. The common name for this member of the buttercup family is doubly misleading, since the plant has sepals rather than petals, and the number of sepals varies widely. Some flowers have as few as six or seven sepals, while others may have more than twenty.

Like other Anemone species, this Texas native sometimes goes by the name ‘windflower.’ As with dandelions, its seeds are spread by the wind, and many already have gone to seed.

Carolina Geranium ~ Geranium carolinianum
Follett’s Island, Brazoria County

Having been raised with big, red geraniums that spent their lives in pots, meeting the Carolina Geranium — another member of the Cranesbill family — was quite a surprise. Its flowers are only 1/4″ to 3/8″ across, and the plant itself rarely exceeds a foot in height. Where it’s allowed to flourish, it blooms prolifically, and attracts a variety of small bees, flies, and other insects.

Pink evening primrose ~ Oenothera speciosa
Vacant League City lot

When I photographed this pretty pink primrose near my home, it was the first I’d seen in this spring season. Today, small clusters of the flowers have appeared in unmown spots around town; before long, they’ll be covering fields and ditches with a lovely mixture of pink and white blooms. Given their enthusiastic spread and their ability to leave great swaths of land ‘in the pink,’ it’s easy to think of them as the ‘pinkiest’ of our spring wildflowers.

Comments always are welcome.

79 thoughts on “Pink, Pinker, Pinkiest

    1. I’ve thought for some time that when spring arrived this year, it was going to be a little early, and hard to keep up with. The weather this coming weekend looks glorious, so the only question is, “Which way shall I go?” As for the anemones, they seem to prefer open, grassy areas. Here in town, I’ve found them along roadsides that were mowed earlier, and even tucked in around culverts where the string trimmers haven’t done their worst. They do grow taller in time, which helps when it comes to spotting them.

      1. Well, you are right! Spring seems a little earlier this year. And it does look like it will be a beautiful weather weekend! I hope you find some cool places to explore! I’m going to keep an eye out for the anemones. I saw a flock of geese just this past Sunday. I’m pretty sure they’re getting ready for their journey north!

        1. I’d bet so, on the geese. Our white pelicans are gone now; I was lucky enough to see some of them swirling up-up-up into the sky the way they do when they’re gathering together to travel.

  1. That’s a softly pleasant look at the two geranium flowers.
    Happy first pink evening primrose flower.
    I found my first anemone seed column in Austin way back on January 29. It’s not unexpected, then, that many of yours have already sent their seeds out into the world.

    1. This is the first year that I’ve found mounds of the geraniums. Apparently the ones I’ve seen in the past have been low-growing partly because of mowing; the mounded flowers were a foot or more tall, and quite wide. My next challenge is to manage a photo of the flies and bees that visit them. The flowers are so small, the insects rarely linger more than a few seconds.

      When I photographed the seed heads at Brazoria, it was exceedingly windy. I’ve not looked through those photos yet; with luck, there might be one worth showing.

    1. The geranium’s leaves appear quite early, so they often experience cold. When that happens, they turn an appealing reddish orange, and provide a nice spot of color in the winter landscape. When I first became interested in our wildflowers, I noticed the leaves long before I managed to figure out that ‘those leaves’ and ‘that flower’ belonged together.

    1. I grew up associating pastel colors with spring because our Easter dresses (and hats! and gloves!) always were soft pinks, yellows, or lavenders. One year, a friend’s dress was a pale orange-sherbet color, and we all nagged for that color the next year. Now, pastel dresses seem to be less favored, but there’s nothing that diminishes the appeal of our pastel flowers. It won’t be long before you’ll be enjoying your own spring blooms.

      1. They’re slowly coming out. Whites and yellows are probably the predominant colours – apparently those are the colours that will attract the insects that should be out by then.

  2. Another instance when taking a little time and putting in a little effort to look past the showy scene stealers rewards one with little gems and quiet pleasure.

    1. True enough. I’m as eager as anyone for those bluebonnet fields — not to mention the sunflowers and poppies — but these diminuitive flowers offer their own delights. Besides, tiny insects appreciate tiny flowers like the geranium; they’re perfectly matched, and great fun to see. I tried and failed to catch one of the metallic flies visiting the geraniums: next time.

    1. It sure is, GP. We have some cooler weather coming, but these warm days certainly have encouraged blooms. Flowering trees and azaleas are especially pretty now.

      1. We’re in the mid to high 80’s and no rain. My plants are getting confused it seems as I noticed an amaryllis getting a bloom.

    1. To be honest, the cooler weather that’s in the long-term forecast pleases me. Things are progressing so quickly, it’s dizzying, and a bit of a slow-down would be good. That said, it’s wonderful to see these ‘old friends’ emerging. There’s no question that spring is here.

    1. They’re beautiful little flowers, and native across your state — except for the panhandle. In fact, they originally were native in both Texas and Oklahoma, but they’ve been creeping in every direction, and now have made it to California. Go West, Young Flower!

    1. Isn’t it fun to see how a single color can take on so many shades from flower to flower? Even among the primroses, the color can vary from very deep pink to white, although this gentle pink is most common. The primroses are delicate in another way. Each flower lasts for only a day, although there are replacements galore waiting to bloom.

    1. The geraniums are very small. I took the time to measure these, and each was only about a third of an inch across. They were being visited by equally small metallic flies — which I initially thought were bees. I’ve decided that flies generally are harder to photograph than bees: at least, when they’re visiting flowers.

        1. I laugh when I remember how I learned that lesson. It turns out that love bugs adore the smell of fresh varnish, so when they’re swarming, it’s important to varnish before they get up in the morning (about 10 a.m.) or go home at night (about 4 p.m.) There’s a bit of information most people don’t know!

    1. We have yellow and purple, too: buttercups, and a variety of lavenders and purple. Their turn is coming. No daffodils for me, though, unless I get them at the grocery store. We do have henbit, although I’ve not seen any blooming yet this spring.

  3. I enjoyed your set of pastel pink portraits, Linda, especially the geranium. We have members of the cranesbill family up here, too, though it will be a while before I see them. The weather is on the cold side up here.

    1. I still remember when a British gardener introduced me to ‘cranesbill,’ not to mention ‘pelargonium.’ It took a while for me to sort it all out. I often see these geraniums serving as a ground cover, and they’re willing to set up shop nearly anywhere: even in well-tended lawns.

  4. Beautiful photographs!

    You are so right about trying to catch them while we can! Some of these “less famous” blooms are literally here today and gone tomorrow. Slowing down has helped me find the shy smaller flowers. Now, if I could just figure out how to photograph them well!

    1. You can’t fool me. You know how to photograph flowers as well as you photograph birds and barbed-wire bats. I’ll grant that the small ones can be a challenge, but they can lead to some interesing encounters. Last weekend my attempts to photograph some tiny plants caused both a very nice lady and a concerned family to stop and make sure I wasn’t lying on the ground dead or disabled. It’s a sure sign of spring: prone photographers.

  5. Very lovely blushes and pale pinks, though that oenothera is a forever plant around here. It creeps under pavers and lodges in lawns and takes advantage of very nook. I think it took about five years to totally eradicate it.

    1. It surprised me that you have the pink evening primrose. When I looked on the BONAP maps, though, there it was — although it’s listed as ‘adventive.’ That’s certainly no surprise to you. While I was snooping around to see if it was native in your area, I came across this funny article. You’re not alone!

    1. I’m starting to see redbuds flowering now as well as wildflowers:yet another shade of pink. I’m trying to remember if the MSU campus has cherry trees. It won’t be long until those pretty pinks make an appearance; there aren’t any cherry orchards here, but we do have peach orchards, and those trees are equally pretty.

      1. Lots of flowering trees on campus, including redbuds, but mostly white blossoms, I think. Apart from the pink magnolias. Of course, there could be many I haven’t discovered!

  6. Lovely spring flowers and a sight for winter-weary eyes! We had a taste of spring yesterday (and my tulip bulbs are emerging accordingly!), but we’re supposed to get a ton of snow tomorrow. Such is March in the Midwest!

    1. I can’t remember if I’ve told you about the famed Boys’ Basketball Tournament blizzard that was standard operating procedure during the 1960s in Iowa — maybe in the ’70s, too. It never failed us, regardless of whether March came in like a lion or a lamb. We knew that blizzard would show up, but we knew that the robins and tulips would show up, too — eventually!

  7. I’d never heard of Carolina Geranium before — it’s quite delicate. But that Primrose really catches the eye, doesn’t it? So lovely, Linda. Thank you for a peek into early Spring!

    1. Speaking of spring, how is your hay doing? March in Iowa was mud season, not wildflower season, and I’ll bet it’s much the same for you. I’ve been wondering if your new ‘system’ is holding up beneath the doggie onslaught!

      Before long, you’ll be able to trade that hay for pretty flowers, and the nice spring breezes and sunshine will put things to right again. Here’s to a new season, and being ‘in the pink.’

      1. Linda, I have to keep pinching myself over that straw. Yes, it’s definitely working, and the immense rainfall and nearly hurricane strength winds on Friday put it to a grand test. While Monkey still comes inside with wet paws, I’m having to dry a whole lot less mud — and we both are happy over that! Thanks for checking.

    1. Their colors are delicate, but the plants themselves are tough little things. The geranium leaves turned red in the cold, and the pink evening primrose are emerging later than I usually see them, but once they began blooming, they started showing up everywhere. It’s like greeting an old friend when I find some of them.

    1. I have a friend who’s a native Texan; she grew up in the panhandle, near Amarillo, and she always called them buttercups, too. It took us a while to figure out that we were talking about the same flower! I think of buttercups as yellow rather than pink. Another surprise was that she grew up putting the pink evening primrose under her friends’ chins to see if they “liked butter.” We did the same, but with dandelions.

  8. That Carolina Geranium is a beauty for sure. I wondered why it seemed familiar to me — then I realized that being in the Cranesbill family, it is a relative of another tiny flower in that family that I’ve photographed in the same “pose” in my neighborhood.

    My driveway patch of pink evening primroses haven’t yet sprouted any blooms, but your sightings make me look forward to them with great expectation. When they are flowering — which is at least half the year — they really cheer up a corner of my property where they somewhat hide a contraption belonging to the power company.

    1. I had no idea the Cranesbill family is so large, with more than 800 species spread around the world. Somewhere I read that another name for these flowers is ‘hardy geranium.’ They certainly seem to be, as they can endure throughout both drought and cold, and still come back to produce these lovely flowers.

      Once the pink evening primrose begin blooming here, they’ll continue on for several months, although the height of their bloom comes in spring and early summer. They seem to fade away a bit in summer heat, but it’s not unusual to see them into October or November. I can’t think of a nicer way to hide the necessary ‘contraptions’ of civilization!

    1. Just like a shy child; they seem to smile at the slightest kind glance. Interesting, too, that geraniums were one flower my mother was able to grow despite her bad luck with most plants. We used to tease her, saying they bloomed well for her because she liked them best, and gave them extra care. These little ones, of course, do well enough with nature’s attentions.

  9. I’m so glad you mentioned the occasional frost-nipped bright red leaves of the hardy geranium – I have seen them before, and wondered what they were.

    1. They really stand out in the winter landscape. Because I first noticed them in places that were regularly mowed, it took longer than usual to notice the flowers, and associate them with the leaves.

    1. They all are pretty – and it won’t be long before that pink spreads across the countryside. Larger patches of primrose are showing up now, but their real show is yet to come.

  10. That little Carolina Geranium is a delight. It must be a nice anticipation, seeing single pink flowers and knowing that they soon will fill meadows for a time.

    1. My real comment is below. WordPress has screwed everything up with this new Jetpack idiocy, and I can’t edit the comment to move it up to where it belongs. Very interesting that WP won’t load my sites because, according to them, I “haven’t created any content yet.” Silly rabbits.

        1. I respond to posts and comments via email notifications. In the past clicking “Comment” always placed me below the one I was responding to making it automatic that it would be tagged to it. Now they go to the bottom comment box which makes it a brand new entry. I’ve just become used to scrolling to the one I want and posting there. Improvements are not always improvements. Why can’t folks just leave well enough alone? I guess fiddling with what already works justifies their existence.

  11. We didn’t have to wait long. There are primrose patches popping up all over now. It will will be a while before the fields are covered with them, though. On the other hand, I found large areas where the geraniums have faded already. Easy come, easy go!

    1. Giving true meaning to the term ephemeral for early spring flowers. In our case the ephemeral quality is caused by most growing in wooded areas that leaf out as spring evolves. The woodland flowers do their thing while the sun shines, so to speak.

    1. When the primroses really get going, a patch can have every shade from white to rose; they are amazing. Today, I happened upon a large spread of the geraniums, and the flowers already had faded away. Only the leaves were left — they really don’t linger!

  12. With our increasingly warming temperatures I’ve started seeing the first wildflowers appearing, like little bluets. I haven’t been out to photograph any yet, but I see them in the grass in various places I’ve been. I absolutely love your photo of the two Carolina Geraniums. Very beautiful.

    1. In the places I visited this weekend, those geraniums no longer were blooming. Only the leaves remained as a reminder of their presence. I’m glad I managed that pretty photo while they were blooming; they’re certainly the very essence of ‘ephemeral.’ The bluets were spread across a prairie I visited, though: both blue and white varieties.

  13. The pink evening primrose grows well over here, and every time I see them I’m reminded of a dear friend who loved them and pink in particular. At that time I had an aversion to pink, except in flowers, so she gave me a pair of the pinkest socks! Of course I wore them when visiting her.

    1. I grew up with a mother totally dedicated to pink and frills, so it took me a while to appreciate pink, even in flowers. Now, I do like it, except for a couple of flowers that are that particular shade of pink that shows up in candy hearts and such. I love that you get to see these, too. The variety of colors they can present — from pure white to deep pink — really is charming. And last weekend I found a pink bluebonnet, which will appear here relatively soon. It looked darned good surrounded by all that gorgeous blue.

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