Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Austin had a sunny day yesterday!

with 19 comments

Basket-Flower Colony Flowering 3171

That’s right, after some 24 days of primarily overcast skies, drizzle, and rain, on May 29th the clouds dissipated and we had a clear and sunny day. The pent-up landscape photographer in me went out onto the Blackland Prairie along the Pflugerville-Round Rock border—wearing rubber boots, I should add, because of the water and mud in many places. I hoped the recent heavy rains hadn’t damaged the colonies of basket-flowers, Centaurea americana, that had been so good in that area in recent years. Some stands turned out not to be as dense as before, but others were, as you see here. The greenery in the upper left is Maximilian sunflower plants, which won’t flower for a few months yet.

UPDATE: This morning it’s back to an overcast sky with a 50% chance of rain.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 30, 2015 at 5:23 AM

19 Responses

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  1. Looks as though the flowers have coped well, and without gumboots, too.


    May 30, 2015 at 5:41 AM

    • I don’t think I’ve heard the term gumboots, but at


      I found out that that’s just one of many names for that kind of footwear.

      Yes, the basket-flowers have generally done well, but some of them did look bedraggled.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 30, 2015 at 6:46 AM

      • When I hear “gumboots,” my first thought is of the tradition of gumboot dance that began in the mines of South Africa. It’s turned into a bit of a tourist attraction now, and gumboot dancing often is highly produced, but this is a nice example of unadorned dance.


        May 30, 2015 at 6:56 PM

        • It would have needed some extra hands to hold the camera and take pictures on the prairie while slapping my boots like that.

          Steve Schwartzman

          May 31, 2015 at 8:47 AM

  2. Looks like you’ve had enough rain to bring on the flowers in abundance. Do I see another system moving across the Dallas FW area this morning?

    Jim in IA

    May 30, 2015 at 6:53 AM

    • There has been so much rain that I worried some plants would suffer from too much water. Indeed, I saw a stand rushes yesterday that had been matted down sideways from rapidly flowing water in a ditch. Some of those plants had even been pulled out of the ground.

      I was in the midst of reading your post about weather when your reference to DFW came through. I checked online and found this alert from 15 minutes ago:

      “The Flash Flood Warning remains in effect until 8:45 am CDT For Dallas, Johnson and Tarrant counties. At 6:41 am CDT, Doppler radar indicated thunderstorms producing Heavy Rain across eastern portions of the warned area, including Dallas County. Up to an inch and a half of rain has already fallen across portions of Tarrant and Johnson counties, and an additional quarter inch of rain is likely over those areas. The fire department has also reported Road closures in Grapevine. Flash Flooding is expected to continue across the region.

      “Some locations that will experience flooding include: Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Garland, Irving, Grand Prairie. Mesquite, Carrollton, Richardson, Mansfield, Rowlett, Euless. Desoto, Bedford, Grapevine, Cedar Hill, Haltom City, Keller. Coppell and Duncanville.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 30, 2015 at 7:03 AM

  3. I have been seeing your rains and floods in the news. Your weather is mad – drought in California and fights over watering lawns and then you have far more rain than you need.

    Raewyn's Photos

    May 30, 2015 at 4:35 PM

    • The thing is that, except for flooding, we have needed this much rain. Lake Travis, for example, which is the major source of water for Austin, was only one-third full, with all of the long hot summer still ahead. Now in a short period it’s at least two-thirds full.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 30, 2015 at 5:51 PM

  4. At least a one day oasis in the days of rain is hopeful for more such although the forecast sounds ominous. We are due for the opposite sort of oasis…a day of rain tomorrow and possibly more on Monday. It would be nice for all should your weather pattern take a northeastward tack and let you dry off and us moisten up.

    Steve Gingold

    May 30, 2015 at 4:45 PM

    • Usually people think of an oasis as a source of water, but you put it well when you referred to our one-day break in the weather as an oasis.

      You can count on my vote for your plan to move the weather northeast.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 30, 2015 at 5:52 PM

  5. Your break from rain seems to have been short-lived. I just caught the flash flood warning for your area when I was checking out reports of more flooding in downtown Houston. (This time, it’s the museum district and Reliant Stadium.)

    Yesterday, the National Weather Service in Ft. Worth sent out this tidbit: “There has been enough rain across Texas during May to cover the entire state nearly 8 inches deep. That’s over 35 trillion gallons!” At least some of it is concentrating in the lakes.And even people I know who’ve been affected negatively by all this always seem to add: “But of course, we do need the rain.”

    The basket flowers are a real treat, and far more attractive than what’s going on outside my window just now.


    May 30, 2015 at 6:49 PM

    • For a while yesterday morning I thought I’d need to update my update and say that the cloudy morning had given way to a mostly sunny midday, but by late in the afternoon the sky had clouded over again, and distant thunder signaled it was time for us to head home from visiting friends in Dripping Springs. As we got back into south Austin, the rain came pouring down on us.

      None of that takes away from my delight in the basket-flowers just a day earlier.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 31, 2015 at 8:58 AM

  6. Oh…..lovely!!

  7. Beautiful flowers and a tricky shade to capture accurately, I find. Will your current excess of rain have a beneficial effect on your flora? British weather has gone haywire too and June has been erratic, definitely not ‘flaming’ as of old. It’s been a great year for wildflowers and bountiful tree blossom though.


    June 25, 2015 at 4:15 AM

    • Agreed: white and pale-colored flowers (and also bright yellow) can be difficult to photograph, the danger being one of overexposed highlights.

      I’d say the excess rain this year is likely to promote summer and autumn flowers, but there are species here that have evolved to thrive with relatively little water, and for some them the excess rain has suppressed the flowers. One species I was looking for in late May and June, the mountain pink, hardly put in an appearance at all this year.

      I’m glad to hear that your atypical weather in Britain worked in favor of the wildflowers and tree blossoms.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 25, 2015 at 6:11 AM

  8. […] month ago a flourishing colony of basket-flowers, Centaurea americana, appeared here, and yesterday a portion of a basket-flower served as a soft […]

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