Some high-capacity power lines that run across my northwestern part of Austin have made most of the land beneath them a right-of-way that happily isn’t likely to be built on. Over the five years since I became aware of this area and have been taking pictures there, I never noticed anyone messing with it, but at the beginning of last December I was dismayed to find that not only had a wide swath of that strip of land been mowed, but it had been mowed so close to the ground that all I could see was desolation. But what was isn’t always what will be: plenty of rain fell in the ensuing months, and when I returned to the place on March 27 of this year I was heartened to see that the lower portion of the area was reviving nicely. Things were even better when I went back on April 3, as you can confirm here.
The prominent globular clusters of flowers are antelope-horns, Asclepias asperula, which is the most common milkweed in Austin. The white flowers in the foreground are blackfoot daisies, Melampodium leucanthum, and the small white flowers scattered all through the background are corn-salad, a strangely named plant in the genus Valerianella. You’re seeing all three of these in these pages for the first time today. The yellow flowers are four-nerve daisies, Tetraneuris linearifolia, and the violet-colored flowers are wild garlic, Allium drummondii, both of which you’ve seen here before.
Notice the red admiral butterfly, Vanessa atalanta, at the lower left. During the entire time I spent taking pictures, scores of butterflies, especially small ones, and many other insects kept flying around to visit the thousands of flowers within easy range. This is what a Texas wildflower meadow is supposed to look and be like.
© 2012 Steven Schwartzman