Marking the First Day of Spring

Monthalia, Texas ~ Spring, 2019

Nothing says ‘spring’ in Texas like our bluebonnets, and they’ve been celebrating the turn toward this new season for some time. While everyone loves to see them overspreading the fields, it’s fun to find them hanging out with their friends as well. At the Rockport cemetery on March 7, several delightful pairings presented themselves.

Tucked among the Indian blankets (Gaillardia pulchella)
Backed by pink phlox (Phlox spp.)
Paired with woolly globe mallow (Sphaeralcea lindeimeri)
Complementing my favorite white prickly poppy (Argemone albiflora)

 

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The Hand of a Hidden Gardener

Narcissus, backed by bluebonnets and coreopsis – Rockport City Cemetery

Wildflowers are the primary spring attraction at the Rockport City Cemetery, but there can be surprises.

Any non-wild flowers there usually are non-living as well: made of plastic or silk. This year, a few non-native but entirely alive flowers suggested the work of a human hand. They added a different kind of beauty to the scene, and may have been planted in memory of a family member or friend who was especially fond of them.

Bud of Leucojum aestivum, or summer snowflake

I was delighted to find examples of Leucojum aestivum, the so-called summer snowflake. I’ve often seen photos of the flower from England or our northeastern states, but until this trip, I’d seen only one actual flower: an apparent escapee from a garden at a nearby historic plantation.

The small, graceful flowers are delightful. I was especially taken with the shape of the stamens, which looked to me like bits of tubular pasta. The flowers are pollinated by bees, and a closer look at the pollen scattered about on the inside of this flower suggests that it’s been visited by at least one very busy bee.

A little online exploration revealed that these plants will naturalize very well in parts of our state. If we can’t have snow, at least we can have snowflakes.

 

Comments always are welcome..
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For a great look at snowdrops, see this post from Pete Hillman.

Those Heavenly Bluebonnets

Rockport City Cemetery ~ March 7

 

Five species of bluebonnet serve as the Texas state flower, and each graces a particular part of our very large state. For generations, Texans have made pilgrimage to the nearest fields or roadsides for a favorite spring ritual: photographing their babies, grandparents, dogs, bridal couples, or graduates among the iconic flowers.

In the Rockport cemetery, where both the Texas bluebonnet (Lupinus texensis) and the sandyland bluebonnet (Lupinus subcarnosus) can be found, even the angels seem to smile when the bluebonnets arrive, posing with uncommon grace for photographers.

 

Comments always are welcome.
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NOTE: I’ve just learned that six bluebonnet species are considered to be the Texas state flower, not five. Number six (Lupinus perennis) was added relatively recently, but I’m not sure of the exact date.