Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Gaura colony

with 22 comments

Click for greater size and clarity.

Click for greater clarity and considerably larger size.

Unlike 2012, the early spring of 2013 in central Texas was an unusually cool and mostly rainless one that didn’t produce the dense displays of wildflowers that people here look forward to (and back at). Even so, by April 2nd I was able to depict this colony of gaura that had sprung up alongside the US 183 freeway about three miles from where I live. Gaura is also the name of the genus, though I’m not sure which species this is.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 10, 2013 at 6:14 AM

22 Responses

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  1. Love the contrast with the green.


    April 10, 2013 at 6:22 AM

  2. Is this a native? I always wondered where it came from, I use it all the time in my gardens! I love it, airy and beautiful. We can get both a pink and a white in cultivation. Lovely to see it growing wild, thanks!


    April 10, 2013 at 7:03 AM

  3. I just returned from 10 days in the Mason County area. With the recent rains, all sorts of wonderful native plants, trees, shrubs, and forbs are literally bursting into bloom. Yesterday, I spotted a colony of Rusty Blackhaw Viburnum in full bloom along Old Mason Rd. across from Mason Mountain WMA. The Mason County Bluebonnets, recently featured on CBS Sunday Morning are at their peak. Unfortunately, with the heavy rains last week, I did not get a chance to drive all of my favorite roads in the area (most are dirt and not good for a day or two after a rain). The show promises to continue!!!

    I was disappointed to see that someone has destroyed many of the trees and shrubs along HWY29 in the Bertram area. Not sure why and I don’t know who to ask.


    April 10, 2013 at 8:15 AM

    • Welcome back, Agnes. It’s good to hear your report of blooming trees, shrubs and forbs near Mason. I’ll have to try to get up there. At the same time, it’s sad to find out about the destruction along Highway 29 near Bertram. As you know, that’s a stretch where I’ve photographed possumhaws over the years, and as recently as a few months ago.

      When you’ve had a chance to look around our area again, you’ll see that the rain has done some good here too. One obvious beneficiary is the rain-lilies, which are out in various places. This has been an excellent spring for old plainsman, which I’ve been seeing in abundance for weeks. And of course there’s the gaura.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 10, 2013 at 8:24 AM

  4. I have gaura in my weedy lawn. I love its butterfly-like flowers. I never know what I will get instead of grass but I really don’t care. Thanks for the lovely photo. I always look forward to seeing what you have found.


    April 10, 2013 at 10:09 AM

    • And I look forward to finding it, even though I rarely know what “it” will be. Gaura adds grace to everything, as far as I’m concerned, so I’m glad you have some close at hand.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 10, 2013 at 10:17 AM

  5. I’ve set this as my new desktop picture 🙂

    Emily Heath

    April 10, 2013 at 3:14 PM

  6. Oh, boy. We get to head down for a quick trip this weekend to do a little gawking around the Llano area (Saturday will be our only full day, of course) and are looking forward to any little glimpses of wildflowers we can snag! Hoping to have another, later dash south in search of flowers, if there’s any way we can sneak off. Probably Gruene/New Braunfels area then. Nice enough if we can just get a bit of time away from work, but even better if we’ll get a few flashes of floral joy to season it! Lovely gaura patch!!


    April 10, 2013 at 6:29 PM

    • Happy spring wildflowers to you. You can check


      for floral sightings, and perhaps something will coincide with where you’ll be traveling. The Llano area often has good flowers in the spring, from what I hear (and have occasionally seen).

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 10, 2013 at 9:43 PM

      • The latest issue of Texas Highways magazine has a wildflower section with maps of various routes, suggestions of what you might see and so on.

        They have a little wildflower quiz, too. I didn’t know them all, but I quickly picked out antelope horn, white prickly poppy, evening primrose and black-eyed Susan. One they pictured that I didn’t know about was a red prickly poppy. Such a stunner!


        April 11, 2013 at 8:19 AM

        • If you take a look at the spread that covers pages 38 and 39 in that April issue of Texas Highways, you may recognize the handiwork (eye-i-work?) of a certain Austin nature photographer.

          Steve Schwartzman

          April 11, 2013 at 10:17 AM

        • As much as I like the white prickly poppy, I wish the yellow and red ones also grew in central Texas.

          Steve Schwartzman

          April 11, 2013 at 10:25 AM

      • Sometimes I’m so slow. Of course Texas Highways has a website. Here’s the link to the wildflower drives.


        April 11, 2013 at 8:21 AM

    • Many thanks to you both!!!


      April 11, 2013 at 12:02 PM

      • You’re doubly welcome. Happy floral peregrinations (the etymologist will add that the Latin original meant literally ‘through fields”).

        Steve Schwartzman

        April 11, 2013 at 1:11 PM

  7. That double-page spread really does justice to the photo in a way this format never could. The combination of the clouds and flowers is so inviting – and it’s nice to have them featuring something other than bluebonnets in those two pages. Thanks for pointing it out. I was so taken with the photo I missed the credit!


    April 11, 2013 at 8:12 PM

    • Yes, I was taken with the wispy clouds above the expanse of verbena (and not bluebonnets!). I remember now that when I stopped to take this picture I met a man who had traveled down from Michigan and was photographing the verbena as well. Texas had fully turned to spring, but his state was still in winter.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 11, 2013 at 11:14 PM

  8. Love the guara pic. It’s nice to know that you have a wonderful 2 page spread in Texas Highways. I have not seen the mag yet. 🙂 I am a bit late in addressing this post. Somehow I missed quite a few posts on several blogging sites.


    April 26, 2013 at 6:10 PM

    • Luckily there’s no time limit. I’ve commented on some posts long after they appeared.

      Gaura is one of my (many) favorite native plants to photograph, and this is a particularly good spring for it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 26, 2013 at 7:59 PM

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