Expansive fields of wildflowers can be breathtaking: so much so that the individual blooms which make up their grand sweep of color tend to disappear. Looking among the flowers to find some fresh and photogenic examples, I discovered a surprise: a doubled Nueces coreopsis, shining in the sun.
Nueces coreopsis ~ Coreopsis nuecensis
Both the scientific and common names offer a clue to this Texas endemic’s location. Flowing from its headwaters in Edwards and Real counties, the Nueces River was called Rio de las Nueces, or ‘River of Nuts’ by early Spanish explorers — an apparent reference to pecan trees growing along its banks. More than a flower bears the river’s name. Today, it ends in Nueces County and enters Nueces Bay at Corpus Christi.
Occasionally there are other ‘double’ surprises. Of course these swallowtail butterflies are individuals, but for a moment they ‘doubled up,’ and enjoyed the Floresville cemetery sunshine in their own way.
Black swallowtails ~ Papilio polyxenes
Comments always are welcome.
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.
Female Great-Tailed Grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus)
Having packed, moved, and unpacked, I’m left with piles of stuff to sort and store as well as a realization that, not having been out in the world for nearly three weeks, I have no idea what nature’s been up to.
Lacking current photos, I decided to wing it, and begin posting again with a few backward glances: this one, to last summer’s splendor at Galveston’s Broadway cemeteries.
Each of the seven cemeteries is rich in history, filled with traditional statuary and markers designating the resting places of notable individuals, but in two or three, seasonal wildflowers are allowed to flourish until they go to seed: a display that calls to humans as much as it pleases the pollinators. Which flowers appear can vary; last year, Coreopsis and Gaillardia predominated.
American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)
Each year, as wingèd creatures of various sorts gather around the angels, it’s easy to imagine those concrete wings twitching a little — who wouldn’t want to join the butterflies, bees, and birds in a flight among the flowers?
Comments always are welcome.