Spring arrives early in Texas, but circumstances — including my own inattention — meant my annual visit to the Rockport cemetery was late, and many of the flowers already had faded. Some were producing seed, although a lack of rain seemed to have diminished their numbers.
That said, many individual flowers were fresh and beautiful: ready to show off for someone who was a little late to the show.
Very little compares to a field of bluebonnets, but even a single flower can shine.
Texas bluebonnet ~ Lupinus texensis
Like yellow star grass (Hypoxis hirsuta), wolly globemallow has delightfully fuzzy buds, stems, and leaves. A true Texas endemic, it thrives in the sandy conditions of south Texas, especially near the coast. In the Rockport cemetery, it emerges in the same spot every year.
Wolly globemallow ~ Sphaeralcea lindheimeri
Another lover of sandy soil, Texas toadflax can be found from east Texas to Galveston Island; I’ve found it as far west as the area south of San Antonio. Because of the long ‘spur’ that extends from the flower, it’s sometimes confused with larkspur.
Texas toadflax ~ Nuttallanthus texanus
Every stage of the beautiful winecup, or purple poppy-mallow, is worth recording. It’s buds are especially pleasing, but who could resist this color?
Winecup ~ Callirhoe involucrata
A new flower always is a delight. This year at Rockport, it was a pretty, though non-native, species known as annual wall-rocket. Native to Europe, Asia, and Africa, it may have arrived here in ships’ ballast. A member of the mustard family, this lover of disturbed ground is edible; its leaves are said to make a fine addition to a salad.
Annual wall-rocket ~ Diplotaxis muralis
The small flowers of Drummond’s skullcap attract a variety of pollinators, including small bees and butterflies. The polka-dotted ‘landing pad’ seems perfectly designed to attract a pollinator’s attention, and the plant’s drought resistance makes it a good choice for xeriscaping.
Drummond’s skullcap ~ Scutellaria drummondii
Assorted coreopsis filled the cemetery, their numbers rivaling those of the bluebonnets. By early March, some already were completing their life cycle, providing striking images like this single ray flower in the process of decline. Because it’s the practice at this cemetery to forgo mowing until after wildflower season, their seed also will help to guarantee next season’s blooms.