Long-time visitors to this blog may remember the drought that I mentioned in many of last year’s posts, as well as the way the drought made possible the devastating wildfires that struck central Texas in September of 2011. The worst of those destroyed some 1600 houses in the vicinity of Bastrop (a town about 25 miles east of Austin) and burned most of the state park there. In particular, the fires killed the majority of the park’s famous “lost pines,” so called for being disjoint from the large pine forests of east Texas.
On April 6 of this year, after several months of seeing the way the wildflowers in Austin were rebounding from the drought, I finally made my first visit to Bastrop since before the summer fires. I photographed plenty of wildflowers along the way, and they made me hopeful that the park was responding in kind. When I got to Bastrop State Park I learned that only a small portion was open to the public, though much more was scheduled to reopen a few days later. In the part that I did have access to that day I found no shortage of native wildflowers, and the ones that impressed me the most were the white prickly poppies, Argemone albiflora, whose white petals contrasted with the darkened bark of the dead pine trees among which the flowers had sprung up. In addition to the prominent poppy in the foreground, you can glimpse spots of white that correspond to others farther away.
A different picture from the series of white prickly poppy photographs I took at Bastrop State Park that day appeared in the June 2012 issue of Texas Highways magazine. If you’re interested, you can read the photo tip that I wrote to accompany the image on the magazine’s website.
Posted on this date last year: a lady beetle on the tip of a sunflower bract.
© 2012 Steven Schwartzman