Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Urban wildflower colony

with 17 comments

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Even in long-established neighborhoods in Austin there can be great colonies of wildflowers, as you’ve sometimes seen in this column. The latest addition in that old-part-of-town category is this field of Gaillardia pulchella, known as firewheels or Indian blankets, that I photographed on the grounds of a Texas Department of Transportation facility on Bull Creek Dr. at the equivalent of 43rd St., a location diagonally across the street from the nursing home where Eve works. This picture dates from April 21, but the firewheel colony persisted fresh and fiery for the next couple of weeks and is only now beginning to move on—in time—to its next phase.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 11, 2012 at 5:30 AM

17 Responses

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  1. Driving our back roads and city streets I see mostly invasive species. Maybe I should start a series on those lol!

    Bonnie Michelle

    May 11, 2012 at 6:22 AM

    • We have our share of those, too, and some were (or are) rampant this spring because of the rain. I’ve chosen not to show the invasives but to celebrate the natives.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 11, 2012 at 7:13 AM

  2. so very beautiful~


    May 11, 2012 at 11:20 AM

  3. […] 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 […]

  4. It must be truly spectacular to see masses of flowers like this!!!


    May 12, 2012 at 10:03 AM

    • It is. I’m sorry to be able to offer most of you only pictures, but I mention the location each time for the benefit of those in central Texas who’d like to go have a look in person (assuming the posting date isn’t too long after the date of the photograph). And who knows: maybe someone from farther afield who’s seen what one of our good springs can be like will drive or fly here to see it in person.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 12, 2012 at 10:16 AM

  5. I missed photographing a colony of yellow “somethings” in the old Galveston cemetery when I was down there a week ago. I’m going to make a trip down later this afternoon to see if they’re still blooming. If they aren’t, the gaillardia may be – they literally can blanket the area.


    May 13, 2012 at 9:49 AM

    • Good luck with your pictures this afternoon. As for blanketing the area, another colloquial name for Gaillardia pulchella is blanketflower.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 13, 2012 at 10:20 AM

  6. […] posts back you saw a fresh colony of Gaillardia pulchella, known as firewheels or Indian blankets; then came a closeup of a single flower head. Next you saw […]

  7. Mr. Schwartzman,
    I love this photo of Indian Blankets. They are my favorite flower, and having just moved back to central Texas, I am surprised to see so many! How did I not notice them before? or were they not so prevalent? Anyway, I’d like to use your photo on my facebook page (as the cover photo) but don’t want to use it without your permission. Would it be all right with you?


    June 6, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    • Indian blankets are having a good year, as you’ve noticed, but then they usually do. Even during last year’s drought I saw some large colonies. I’m not sure why they didn’t stand out for you before, because they’ve always been prevalent, but I’m glad they do now.

      As for using the picture on your Facebook page, that’s fine, as long as you keep the copyright notice and provide a link back to this page so people can learn about what they’re seeing (and about the many other native plants featured here). Thanks for asking.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 6, 2012 at 8:05 PM

  8. […] me there that morning to photograph a later stage of the large colony of firewheels you saw in the post of May 11, but this time I also wandered a lot farther back and saw (and happily smelled) all the […]

  9. Beautiful. A lovely outlook for the nursing home?


    June 5, 2014 at 8:06 AM

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