Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Now add some live oaks to the floral mix

with 14 comments

Click for greater size and clarity.

Here’s the fourth of four pictures that I’ve interpolated to show you that dense displays of wildflowers are still a common sight well into May in central Texas. The flowers shown here are black-eyed (or brown-eyed) susans, Rudbeckia hirta; firewheels or Indian blankets, Gaillardia pulchella; horsemints, Monarda citriodora; Texas thistles, Cirsium texanum. There’s a prickly pear cactus at the lower right, and the trees in the background are live oaks, Quercus fusiformis.

It’s hard to appreciate everything that’s going on in this blog-sized picture, but if you click the panel below you’ll get a larger view of the wildflowers by themselves.

Date: May 22.  Location: Cedar Park, a northern suburb of Austin. In particular, you’re seeing a portion of Lakeline Mall—yes, a shopping mall! This group of flowers and others like them border the far side of a road that separates the undeveloped from the developed portions of the mall property. I’ll bet most of you won’t see a sight like this at a shopping center in your area.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 24, 2012 at 12:59 PM

14 Responses

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  1. The profusion of lovely wildflowers in this and earlier shots is so wonderful. I hadn’t thought to mention this, but we have been trying to establish a meadow on a large part of our front yard. We’re not trying to plant anything, but rather following the procedure recommended, to brushhog the area twice a year, April and November, with the idea of encouraging any wildflowers natural to the area to appear and not be overcome by grasses. It’s a slow process, and I’m not sure how much success we’ll have, but we are, bit by bit, seeing more wildflowers peep out. Now I have to try and learn what they are! I am not so good with identification . . .

    Susan Scheid

    May 24, 2012 at 8:44 PM

    • The profusion is wonderful; I wish you could see it firsthand.

      I seem to remember seeing, when I visited New York in the year 2000, a guide to the wildflowers of the Hudson River area. I don’t remember the specifics, but perhaps you could track down that guidebook or one similar to it that has come out since then. That might help you recognize any native species that volunteer in your yard.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 24, 2012 at 10:49 PM

      • I must remember to look for this when next in a bookshop up this way. Tried the internet, but no luck so far, but I shall persevere the “old fashioned way.” Thanks so much for suggesting this!

        Susan Scheid

        May 29, 2012 at 7:31 PM

  2. What a wonderful profusion of color!!!


    May 25, 2012 at 8:19 AM

    • Yes, and all the more to be treasured while it’s still there on the other side of the road from the parking lots of a shopping mall. I was so happy to find it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 25, 2012 at 8:22 AM

  3. Talk about coincidences. We drove out for an overnight in Comfort and I took photo after photo of similar fields. The whole Hill Country is solid with golden flowers. I even found some very old still blooming bluebonnets. We wandered up to Llano and back through Cedar Park and maybe even saw your field. If we get more rain it might be a lovely summer. The sad thing about the Hill Country are all the dead Live Oaks (we think from Oak Wilt). It’s terrible.

    Thanks for your lovely pictures! I haven’t done anything to mine yet but plan to add them to my erratic blog. Your photos really have inspired me to try to get better at nature photography. Thanks for sharing.


    May 25, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    • I’m glad you got to see the display too, Nancy. If you were in Cedar Park you may have seen something similar to what’s in this picture, and if you drove on Ridgeline Drive at Lakeline Mall you could have seen exactly this. As for the live oaks, there is an oak wilt problem, unfortunately.

      I’m pleased to share my pictures, and more so if they’re an inspiration for yours.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 25, 2012 at 9:39 PM

  4. Oh, this is quintessential Texas – just lovely. A couple more weeks of hard-at-it work and I’ll be able to get back on the road for a little trip. I’m hoping the rains return, lest things start to go downhill before I get to the hills!


    May 25, 2012 at 10:20 PM

    • Naturally I’ve been happy to have these displays continue for so long, with Indian blankets acting as a sort of basso continuo while somewhat later-blooming species like horsemints and brown-eyed susans have gotten added to the mix. I do hope you’ll take to the hills before the display fades in the heat of the summer. And yes, we could definitely use more rain now to prolong things.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 26, 2012 at 7:21 AM

  5. Wow, I love this!


    May 29, 2012 at 10:53 PM

  6. […] would-be shopper got to see a dense late-spring display of wildflowers that happened to be on the fringe of that shopping mall—and no sales tax was charged on the […]

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