Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Shaving brush

with 17 comments

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19th-century Anglo settlers in Texas sometimes referred to Centaurea americana with the name shaving brush. This picture of a dry basket-flower shows you what prompted that: although the shiny outer part of a dried-out seed head gets rather crisp, the inner part remains much softer, like the bristles of a shaving brush.

I took this picture on May 29 in a field on Old Settlers Blvd. near Greenhill Dr. in Round Rock. A part of this property used to be covered with dense bluebonnets and paintbrushes every spring, and parents would come on Easter Sunday to pose their fancily dressed children in the wildflowers and take pictures of them. That’s only a memory now, as first one and then another portion of the property gave way in recent years to an expanding office complex, but the eastern part of the field, with its many other kinds of wildflowers, has held out so far.

And I have held out: today marks one year since I put up the first tentative post in this Portraits of Wildflowers column. Perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not, today’s species is the same as the one in that first post, though in a later stage of development, just as I’m in a later stage in the development of this blog.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 4, 2012 at 5:34 AM

17 Responses

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  1. Congrats on one year!! The time sure flies doesn’t it? 🙂


    June 4, 2012 at 5:49 AM

    • Thank you. It’s hard to believe it’s been a year, but you know what they say: time flies when you’re having fun.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 4, 2012 at 5:57 AM

  2. A great picture again. Congratulations on one year of Portraits of Wildflowers. I really enjoy your posts, and wish you lots of fun with your camera for the coming year!


    June 4, 2012 at 5:56 AM

    • Thanks, Cathy. For a Briton in Germany, you’ve certainly gotten an eyeful of nature in central Texas.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 4, 2012 at 5:59 AM

  3. Thank you for a year filled with beautiful photos and great thoughts. I hope you never run out of flowers to enchant us with.


    June 4, 2012 at 10:01 AM

    • You’re most welcome, Nancy. Even through the worst of last year’s drought I kept finding wildflowers that didn’t seem stressed in the least, so I think I’m not likely to run out of subjects. And for every picture that you see here, there are plenty of others that you don’t, so my archives could keep this column running for a long time even without new material (though I do favor recent pictures to give you a sense of how nature is faring in central Texas in something close to real time).

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 4, 2012 at 10:17 AM

  4. Congrats Steve on reaching the one year mark! It has been an enlightening year of fine visuals and text!!!


    June 4, 2012 at 2:10 PM

  5. One of the great mysteries of this blogging business is how we find one another. I just was trying to remember how I found your blog. I can’t, but I’m surely glad I did! My appreciation for my own world has grown and grown – best wishes for another year of flowers and fun!

    And a lovely touch, to show a “later stage” of the basket-flower. I must say – that flower is attractive in each one of its stages.


    June 4, 2012 at 9:00 PM

    • Your friendly words just reminded me of the poem by Rida Johnson Young (set to music by Victor Herbert) that begins, rather hyperbolically: “Ah! sweet mystery of life, at last I’ve found thee.” My guess is that the connection came through the blog http://montucky.wordpress.com, which I remember looking at last summer when Texas was so parched but Montana had lots of fresh-looking wildflowers. And now you’re seeing some dried-out basket-flowers to close one of nature’s cycles.

      You’ve been at this blogging thing several times as long as I have, Linda, so more power to you!

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 4, 2012 at 9:16 PM

      • I think you’re right about montucky – I noticed the Texas connection.

        Of course, you came to this blogging thing as an already-accomplished photographer. I came to it in order to learn how to write. I’ll need a few more years to get where I want to go!


        June 4, 2012 at 9:22 PM

      • Then happy forthcoming years to you, even though you’re already doing a fine job of writing.

        Steve Schwartzman

        June 4, 2012 at 9:39 PM

  6. Happy anniversary!


    June 4, 2012 at 10:55 PM

  7. Thank you so much for taking such gorgeous photographs and for the daily enjoyable learning this blog provides. There are a few photos that I would love to own! And thanks for coming to the Williamson County NPSOT.

    Billye Adams

    June 5, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    • You’re quite welcome, Billye. I’m happy to make people aware of what’s out there in nature (though in your case you already know).

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 5, 2012 at 12:48 PM

  8. […] Blvd. in Round Rock. There, and at the same time as I took this picture on May 29, I photographed the dried-out basket-flower that you saw in these pages five weeks ago. Various other kinds of wildflowers were also […]

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