Gaillardias turning into globes
Two posts back you saw a flowering colony of Gaillardia pulchella, known as firewheels or Indian blankets; then you saw a closeup of an individual flower head. As time passes, the colorful red-and-yellow rays begin to fall off, leaving behind a globe-shaped seed head. That’s what you see happening en masse in this dense firewheel colony that I photographed on May 7 in St. Edward’s Park, a nature preserve in my northwestern part of Austin.
Some decades ago I internalized the Portuguese proverb “Uns sobem, outros descem,” which means “Some go up, others go down.” That simple philosophical statement applies to many things, but now I’ll let it apply to our native plants. As one species starts to decline, another springs up and replaces it in freshness: the fresh purple flowers arising amidst the fading firewheels—and while doing so making their first appearance in these pages—are horsemints, Monarda citriodora, which do have a mildly citrusy odor.
And for those of you who are interested in photography as a craft, I’ll add that points 6 and 15 in About My Techniques are relevant to today’s picture.
© 2012 Steven Schwartzman