Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Banking on an embankment

with 11 comments

Click for considerably greater size and clarity.

The photo session from June 6 that brought you the very close and almost monochromatic view of a white prickly poppy petal in the southern part of Great Hills Park now brings you this colorful landscape. Running across the top of the embankment shown here is Floral Park Dr., the street that leads into my neighborhood, but I went far enough down the slope and got close enough to the ground that you can’t see the guard rail or any cars passing by. The prominent flowers in the foreground are Mexican hats, Ratibida columnifera. The variation in ray color between yellow and reddish-brown is just that, a variation within the same species. I showed closeups of this type of wildflower on November 15 and December 28, in case you’d like to be reminded of the details.

Since I moved to my Great Hills neighborhood eight years ago, this embankment has been a good place for wildflowers—except when the city has mowed everything down prematurely. (I wonder if they also mow down the wildflowers on the Canadian side of Lake Ontario; the shape of the clouds in the center of today’s photo reminds me of what that part of the lake looks like on a map.)


Posted on this date last year: a panoramic view of a colony of bluebells in the same sump that I returned to this year for the recent picture of bluebells with stormclouds.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 14, 2012 at 5:52 AM

11 Responses

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  1. Hey those clouds do look like the northern side of Lake Ontario. I can almost see where I live :). The mowed or not mowed question in Ontario depends on where you live I guess. I am in a rural community northwest of Toronto so there are wildflowers everywhere, but I’m sure they sometimes have to mow them down closer to the city, especially if they are near the roadways and hamper visibility.


    June 14, 2012 at 6:37 AM

    • Maybe if I’d used a longer lens I could’ve seen your house.

      In Texas the mowing often takes place in towns and in rural areas, where sometimes wildflowers survive only along fence lines and hard-to-mow places. In rural areas there are also various types of non-mechanical mowers, like cows and goats.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 14, 2012 at 6:44 AM

      • Yes, the nerve of those critters ruining our flower photo ops!! Mind you, I like taking photos of the critters too :).


        June 14, 2012 at 6:49 AM

  2. I’ve just started noticing changes in the color of the sky, and the quality of light. I see it in this photo, too – summer’s here, for sure. I love the profuse mixtures of flowers – thanks for laying down on the job to bring them to us!


    June 14, 2012 at 7:54 AM

    • Summer’s sure the reality in Austin, with afternoon temperatures this week in the high 90s. Like you, I’m fond of profuse stands of wildflowers, and I see so many distinct mixtures of species. I didn’t mention that the purple flowers are prairie verbenas and the pale cream-colored ones at the top of the embankment are Clematis drummondii: I must have been lying down on my job as nature describer.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 14, 2012 at 10:05 AM

  3. Steve, in case you don’t get notifications about links from posts and additions to blogrolls, I thought I’d let you know I linked to your site in my latest post about tulips. Loved the white poppy by the way,

    • Thanks for letting me know, Annie; I hadn’t received anything from WordPress. Those views of huge fields of tulips were impressive; I’m glad you got to see them. As you noted, although I sometimes also show dense displays of flowers (though wild ones), I also often feature species “unprepossessing at first glance but which… reveal their beauty or quirkiness.” Both have their place.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 14, 2012 at 1:14 PM

  4. […] person may have wanted to see Ontario but ended up seeing a picture in which the clouds over my neighborhood in Austin reminded me of the way the north shore of Lake […]

  5. […] like to compare the dry colony to its former fresh and flowering self, you can check out a photograph taken last June a little further down the same embankment on another day of wispy […]

  6. […] searcher must have been surprised that “my” Lake Ontario was formed by clouds over […]

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