Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Interpenetrating colonies

with 12 comments

Bluebonnet and Poverty Weed Colonies 8438

On April 9th, three days before leaving on my trip to west Texas, I happened upon the largest colony of bluebonnets, Lupinus texensis, I’ve ever been able to experience close-up. (I’ve seen vaster bluebonnet displays along the Willow City Loop, but there the land is private and visitors can gaze at the dense wildflowers only from the road.) What made these bluebonnets accessible was the fact that they were at Gloster Bend, a public park on the north shore of Lake Travis about 45 minutes to the northwest of my home in Austin. Because of the drought, lake levels are way down, and at Gloster Bend the “lake” was pretty much back to the Colorado River it had been before dams were built along it in the 1930s. I’m not sure, but I think some of the bluebonnets were growing on land that would normally be under water. [Update: I confirmed that in 2016.] In any case, you can see that the bluebonnets were thriving, and so were the poverty weed plants, Baccharis neglecta, whose lush new greenery interpenetrated and contrasted with the wildflowers.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 21, 2014 at 5:47 AM

12 Responses

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  1. Blue water transformed into bluebonnets, and Baccharis neglecta as little islands of green? Who doesn’t love some islands in the stream?

    shoreacres

    May 21, 2014 at 7:19 AM

  2. Wonderful sight. Wonder who Travis is/was? Travis has some wetlands in my city http://christchurchcitylibraries.com/Heritage/LocalHistory/Shirley/TravisWetland.asp

    Gallivanta

    May 21, 2014 at 8:40 AM

  3. Oh, so lovely, those vast seas of blue and green.

    Susan Scheid

    May 21, 2014 at 9:25 PM

    • Hi, Susan. I was thinking of you a while ago.

      Those vast seas of blue and green, as you describe them, fascinated me, and I spent more than an hour and a half walking around and through these colonies, taking pictures from one angle or another of things in isolation and in combination. What fun I had.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 21, 2014 at 10:05 PM

  4. This is a wonderful photograph. It would be perfect in a book on principles of design as a demonstration of the principle of rhythm. I had a hard time “getting” this principle in the context of art, but finally gained some better understanding when I read a section on rhythm in a garden design book (and looked at the photos).

    mrsdaffodil

    May 21, 2014 at 9:44 PM

    • Thanks for bringing in the principle of rhythm, which I’m glad to hear you say you finally “got.” (And now I hear the Gershwins’ “I’ve got rhythm” going through my head.) There’s rhythm it in the way these colonies mingled while largely retaining independent identities in one of nature’s own gardens.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 21, 2014 at 10:12 PM

  5. This picture took me back, I lived in Texas for a couple of years as a child and one of my memories that has stayed with me is of the masses of wild flowers that appeared in spring, I had never seen wild flowers en masse before. We don’t have anything like that here in Eastern Australia, though Western Australia does have carpets of wild flowers that I would love to see. I really enjoy your beautiful flower photos, so well done. Karen

    occasionalartist

    May 22, 2014 at 5:18 PM

    • So now you’ve lived on opposite sides of the earth: what an experience. I can understand why you remember masses of Texas wildflowers from your childhood, and they’re still here, even if continuing development keeps reducing the amount of land where they can grow. I hope you make it to the west of your country to see those wildflowers that you say are out there. In the meantime you can get your floral fill here, from your childhood home.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 22, 2014 at 7:24 PM


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