Opening Day

Downy Phlox (Phlox pilosa) ~ Rockport Cemetery
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful
than the risk it took to blossom.
      ~ Anaïs Nin
Pink Evening Primrose (Oenothera speciosa) ~ Highway west of Midfield, Texas
Winecup (Callirhoe involucrata) ~ Fannin Monument, Goliad, Texas
Winecup (Callirhoe involucrata) ~ La Bahia Cemetery, Goliad, Texas


Comments always are welcome.

69 thoughts on “Opening Day

    1. I remember the excitement of watching the tulips develop. For some reason, I have no memory of daffodils during my Iowa years. They surely were around; perhaps my mother simply didn’t enjoy them. We have some new fields of a plant called ‘butterweed’ developing. Those huge swaths of yellow are amazing, but yellow of any sort certainly is cheering.

    1. It sure is — and not just for humans. I’ve seen some nest-building going on, and the constant activity of a pair of mockingbirds at my feeder suggests that there may be some hatchlings around. April will be filled with every sort of activity — although it may bring an end to Snow-Gauge Clif’s activity! We can only hope.

    1. I just left a note on Steve’s blog, laughing about our parallel posts. We’ve not been out photographing together, and didn’t coordinate the posts. It’s just that the emergence of a new plant across wide portions of the state often means we focus on the same flowers at the same time — if not the same location.

      The Goliad buds were photographed the same morning that I spent time with the dew-covered white prickly poppy, although by the time I found these, the fog was lifting and there was somewhat more light.

  1. Opening day indeed! Hooray! We have a few daffodils blooming but I’m angry because just as the tulips we planted last fall started bursting through the soil, deer decided the leaves were a tasty free lunch! My husband fashioned a jerry-rigged fence around them to try to deter Bambi and friends. Hoping that works to save the tulips.

    1. Oh, those deer. I’ve heard reports that they adore camellias. A couple of years ago, they were munching their way through some San Antonio neighborhoods, and people who’d been delighted to have them roaming around suddenly weren’t so accepting. I hope the fence works, particularly since you’ve been so hungry for color.

      1. I get a bit perturbed with those who gush and gawh over deer roaming through neighborhoods because folks don’t realize the damage they can do to shrubs, flowers, even trees let alone in our vegetable gardens. We always have to fence in our garden to keep them out. They especially like eating the strawberries. Of course, we live in the country and the deer population has increased because of less hunting, so deer are a nuisance we must put up with. And then there’s the huge amount of damage they do to vehicles when they run nilly-willy crossing our roads and get hit.

    1. Indeed — and a wonderful promise it is. The spider lilies and swamp lilies are blooming now, too. Both actually are members of the Amaryllidaceae, and the swamp lily’s introduced rather than being native like our spider lily, but they’re fun to see. More ‘ditch diamonds’!

    1. In fact, I thought of you and one other fan who stops by here from time to time when I changed the title in the middle of the night. I do love a title that resonates with some people!

  2. Of course you’re more than just a budding photographer now.
    If dew ever hurt a flower picture, I’m not aware of it.
    What an appropriate quotation you found to go with the photographs.

    1. I came across that quotation for the first time only yesterday. My favorite insight from Nin’s work was examined by the Quote Investigator, with interesting results.

      I found several dew-dropped flowers at Goliad after I was done with the white prickly poppies. I decided to tuck a few of them in here and there, rather than showing them all at once. Call it an exercise in dew diligence.

        1. I missed that. I noticed the site design had changed a bit, but I only skimmed through the references and didn’t read the attributions at the end; thanks for pointing them out.

  3. Love that quote! It really sums up life in general, doesn’t it? And these are such beauties — the colors are spectacular, and I love looking at the dew and the “stickers.”

    1. As soon as I came across that quotation, I realized how widely applicable it could be. But of course it served this particular purpose perfectly.

      These flowers are short-lived, so they open quickly; I’m always tickled when I find a bud at just the right stage to show the half-hidden flowers. I photographed the dewy ones the same morning I found the dew-covered white prickly poppies.

    1. Thanks, Eliza. I enjoy buds generally, but this shape always has been especially pleasing to me. I was pleased to find a few — and to find that truly purple winecup bud. That was a surprise.

    1. Three days, four locations, and four beautiful buds. I did make a few decisions about how to photograph them, though. If I’d put the background of the pink evening primrose into sharp focus, you would have seen it nestled up against a galvanized culvert, with a bit of barbed wire as an accent!

    1. Since I can’t get the kind of frost you work with so well, I took the next best thing: unfrozen droplets. These formed from the same fog that surrounded my white prickly poppies; I was lucky to find these, and a few other dew-bedecked flowers.

    1. The amount of energy hidden away in these buds always amazes me. All of these open quickly, but the pink evening primrose can open so quickly that it’s actually visible to someone willing to sit around and watch. The blooms only last for a day, so they have reason to “get with it”!

    1. Have you ever seen a winecup in that glorious shade of purple? I was completely entranced; the magenta is lovely, but I could stand to see more of that purple!

  4. It is almost unfair that these buds are not considered a separate species from the eventual bloom as they are so lovely at this stage. Especially when photographed and highlighted so well.

    When our daughter was young and learning to dress herself, she would insist on doing it all on her own. She may have missed a button now and then but once she was happy with getting it all done, she would proudly throw out her arms and declare: “Ta Dahhh!”.

    That’s what I feel your beautiful buds are all about to shout to the world on their Opening Day!

    1. Your interpretation makes perfect sense to me. The buds may be young, but there’s nothing self-effacing or hesitant about them; they’re ready to meet the world, but on their terms, thank you very much. It sometimes takes a little crawling around on the ground to find buds at just the right stage for a portrait, but it’s well worth it: especially with these. There other other buds that are attractive, but the sleek silhouette of these is magical.

  5. Opening day… Something to be celebrated, Linda. Great captures. I’m assuming there will be followup photos as the flowers bloom. One of the things I always enjoyed about our Oregon property was watching the poppies go through their various stages. One of the grand shows of nature. All the photos are superb, but there was something about the first than seemed almost unreal. –Curt

    1. There will be some winecup photos to follow, and perhaps even one of some primrose, but these particular flowers will have given up the ghost already — several days ago, in fact. Individual primroses bloom for only a day, but the multitude of flowers in the colony keep maintain the effect for weeks.

      I finally figured out what that first photo reminds me of. Remember the Eberhard Faber pink pencil erasers that you could sharpen? Both the color and form of the flower are remarkably similar.

      1. “Individual primroses bloom for only a day” Sounds like sit down, put your timer on, brings a good book.
        I vaguely remembered the eraser when I looked it up, Linda. I don’t think I ever used one. My erasers usually outlasted my pencil— even though they were heavily used. Sort of off the subject, my desk in the first grade still had one of the old inkwells in it. Fortunately, ball points had come along, so we never had to use it.

        1. There was a lily at the Phebe compound that opened only once a year, on the full moon. I have no idea what it’s name was, given that I didn’t care a whit about plants at that time, but I well remember our ‘lily watching parties.’ It would open so quickly that you could watch the process, as though in time lapse. And fragrance? Oh, my!

          I laughed at your inkwells. We learned cursive in third grade, as I recall. I still have my Palmer Method buttons. Once we achieved a nice cursive, we were allowed to use ink pens, and we had inkwells in our desks. We used the sort of fountain pen that could be filled, rather than the truly old nibs that had to be dipped, but we learned early on that alcohol will take out ink stains. I still remember the introduction of the ‘cartridge’ ink pen. Our mothers loved them.

          1. It also occurs to me that writing in ink leads to a bit more reflection before words are put to paper. Maybe we should make legislators and etc. use ink and cursive rather than computers.

          2. I love it, a lily watching party! It sounds like a rite of spring. Did a little palm wine or club beer go along with the party?

            I don’t remember much about learning cursive, but I sure remember the ink on my fingers. I do remember learning to print, however, and those dar lines you were supposed to use as guides. My inability to fit within the lines was one of the clues that led my first grade teacher to discover that my mother had slipped into school before I met the age requirements and kick me out for the year.

            1. As I recall, there might have been libations. As for printing, I still have a few cards with notes I included from those early days. I always made the ‘N’ backwards. And of course an inability to stay within the lines got me fired from my first ‘real’ job at SW Bell in Kansas City. You can find that story in the third section of this post.

  6. This bud’s for you, and all of us! Great shots! My winecup (C. involutrata) hasn’t started blooming yet, but some C digitata at our neighborhood school are beginning to bloom–love that color.

    1. I still smile when I remember the day last year when I found a bee sleeping in a winecup. They’re one of my favorites; you’re lucky to have them both in your area. I can find C. digitata once I get farther west, and especially in the hill country, but here it’s mostly C. involucrata. Bud or bloom, they’re always a joy to see.

    1. I thought of you while I was photographing the winecups; I remembered how much you like the color. I was surprised by the purple. It seems as unusual to me as a pink bluebonnet; it’s the first I’ve seen in that color. I think I have one decent photo of an opened flower from the Rockport cemetery; I’m willing to admire them in bud or bloom, and to do so enthusiastically.

  7. The evening primrose has been spectacular this year along with the Indian paintbrush though my niece who drove from Albuquerque to Wharton on Saturday said the bluebonnets were also wonderful. I find buds splitting and showing their pink innards to be downright sexy. Makes me tingle. Maybe that’s why men bring women flowers. I did a series of pieces on close ups of flower reproductive parts.

    1. I remember your flower pieces, although I’m not sure if you posted them on your blog or if I found them while looking at your website. Buds certainly can have that ‘come hither’ look to them, and so can artists’ renderings of them. See: Georgia O’Keeffe.

      I’d been perplexed by a seeming absence of the primroses this year, but they’ve certainly made their appearance now. I’m seeing more white ones than ever before. Where the pink and white are mixed, it’s quite a sight.

  8. As I gain years I grow less excited by sports opening days and more excited about flower opening days. These are all beautiful and encouraging as I look into my yard woods which is still blanketed in dried autumn leaves.

    1. At this point, I’ve given up trying to capture these floral openings in any sort of organized way. In fact, I’m staying home this weekend just to put together a couple of posts and do some photo processing. I may even do a bit of recently neglected housekeeping! With a couple of must-meet work deadlines thrown into the mix, it’s been a little harried, but I’m hoping to catch up soon — at least a bit. I’m glad you enjoyed these. As I often say, my favorite flower’s the one I’m looking at, but I do enjoy the shape of these buds.

  9. A wonderful series on a largely overlooked moment in time. Glad you took the extra time to get down at eye level with these little wonders, and shared them with us.

    1. I enjoy buds of every sort, but these (and morning glories, of course) are among my favorites. It’s always fun to find a photogenic one, especially since they don’t linger in this stage very long. The prairie nymph is another that has buds in this shape; it’s in the Iris family, but it’s just as small as these and just as tightly wound. Sometimes, being tightly wound is a good thing!

  10. These are gorgeous! I always love buds just before they’re ready to bloom, especially with the water droplets. That first bud, of downy phlox, has a very interesting shape compared to the others. Or perhaps they all have that shape and we simply can’t see that part as it’s hidden behind green.

    1. No, what you see is what there is: three different genera, and three different shapes for the buds. The morning glory family — Ipomoea — have similar buds, but a slightly different appearance. Now that I think of it, certain our our natives in the Iris family — the blue-eyed grasses and the prairie nymph — also have these furled buds. Every one of them is a delight, and as you say, the dew drops only add to their attractiveness.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.