Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

It’s full-tilt spring, say I

with 46 comments

Engelmann Daisy Flower Heads 5307

Two days ago I proclaimed that spring has come to Austin. I said it silently to myself because I didn’t want to startle any of the cyclists who kept passing close by in the bike lane on Great Northern Blvd., along which several suddenly flowering spring species included these Engelmann daisies, Engelmannia peristenia. I wonder if the brisk breeze accounted for the wrinkling in so many of the ray flowers.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 18, 2016 at 4:58 AM

46 Responses

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  1. so bright and pretty!


    February 18, 2016 at 5:05 AM

  2. Spring flowers are the dreams of winter…. 😉


    February 18, 2016 at 5:16 AM

    • That’s a poetic thought. You’ve reminded me that the subtitle of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony #1 is “Winter Daydreams.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 18, 2016 at 5:58 AM

  3. Wonderful, and wonderful photo!


    February 18, 2016 at 5:22 AM

    • And especially comforting at this time of year to people living in the North Way, i.e Norway.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 18, 2016 at 6:00 AM

  4. No signs of things like that flower here. But, tomorrow it is to reach the low 60s with 40 mph wind gusts. That is a sign of spring when the weather gods start battling to occupy this region.

    Jim Ruebush

    February 18, 2016 at 6:45 AM

    • I wouldn’t expect Iowa to have anything like this in February. I may have mentioned elsewhere that my one visit to Iowa took place in late April. As we drove north from Texas, spring gradually receded and winter returned. By the time we got to northern Iowa the temperature was in the 40s, the wind was blowing, gray clouds covered the sky, and there wasn’t a green leaf to be seen anywhere. The last flowers had been back in Kansas City.

      That was 2007. You seem to be doing better this year (except for the wind).

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 18, 2016 at 7:03 AM

      • We actually think the wind is ok. It provides 30% of our state’s electricity.

        Jim Ruebush

        February 18, 2016 at 7:11 AM

  5. Wow, so good to see spring colors. I suspect the ray flowers are still a little crumpled from opening. I have daffodil leaves poking up through the ice and one of these days it will be time to go out and enjoy skunk cabbage.


    February 18, 2016 at 7:51 AM

    • Better skunk cabbage than skunks, say I.

      Your suggestion that the ray flowers are still crumpled from opening is plausible, but I don’t remember seeing that with this species in previous years. Of course if we add up all the things I’ve missed noticing, we could get a very large total.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 18, 2016 at 8:01 AM

      • Me too~your photos are a frequent reminder to me to look closer.


        February 18, 2016 at 8:30 AM

        • Speaking of closeness, English seems to have no word that rhymes with propinquity.

          Steve Schwartzman

          February 18, 2016 at 10:12 AM

          • Would longinquity do? It means remoteness in time or space, according to Merriam-Webster, so it’s a neat pairing with propinquity.


            February 18, 2016 at 8:35 PM

            • So much for the rhyming dictionary I’d consulted. Longinquity certainly does the trick. You’ve saved the day.

              Steve Schwartzman

              February 18, 2016 at 9:10 PM

          • Not even in antinquity.


            February 19, 2016 at 9:27 AM

            • It’s good to see you tinquering around with words. Even the original of the one you’ve offered up doesn’t seem to have many rhymes; I came up with ubiquity and iniquity.

              Steve Schwartzman

              February 19, 2016 at 9:52 AM

      • You don’t like skunks, Steve? I’m quite fond of them myself. One moonlit evening I was walking on the beach of Lake Michigan and a little skunk wandered out and kept me company. I suspect people feed it.


        February 19, 2016 at 9:30 AM

        • Almost all the skunks I’ve ever seen (and smelled) have been run-over ones on roads, so I really don’t have a sense for the living animals. From your experience, they seem to be friendly when not threatened or provoked.

          Steve Schwartzman

          February 19, 2016 at 9:46 AM

          • That has been my experience. Also one midnight in spring a saw a mother skunk leading her skunklets along the top of my picket fence outside my bedroom window. Awww…. too cute.


            February 19, 2016 at 10:18 AM

            • I don’t think I’ve ever heard the term skunklet, but I found pictures of some (including various things that aren’t).

              Steve Schwartzman

              February 19, 2016 at 10:35 AM

              • Irresistible, aren’t they? The skunklets, not the assorted other things… I doubt it is a real word, I just made it up.
                That wind Jim mentioned is here, too, howling away. My friend and I were going to go for a walk in the field today but between the lingering sheets of ice and the wind, maybe not. We can always just eat more! 🙂


                February 19, 2016 at 10:41 AM

                • You’re not alone in making up the word, given that there were hits for it in my Google search. That made me wonder if anyone has said doglet instead of puppy, and sure enough, there are several hundred thousand hits. I discovered that catlet also exists, but the word is dangerously close to cutlet—a resemblance that won’t want to make you just eat more.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  February 19, 2016 at 1:12 PM

                • Haha, no indeed. Ever since getting attacked by an insane siamese I steer clear of cats.
                  My botanist friend had a book to share that you might like. I can’t remember the name (!) but the author had animals or people as the flowers on plants with funny names. Darn. I’ll ask her for the name and pass it along to you. I think you’ll get a kick out of it.


                  February 19, 2016 at 5:20 PM

                • I’m sorry to hear you got attacked by an insane cat. Maybe it thought you were a cutlet.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  February 19, 2016 at 7:19 PM

                • I was certainly a cutlet by the time she was done with me. I had to go to the ER!


                  February 20, 2016 at 10:24 AM

                • Oh, sorry to hear it.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  February 20, 2016 at 10:26 AM

  6. Spring certainly has come (way too) early this year, hasn’t it?


    February 18, 2016 at 9:28 AM

  7. It’s going to be a loooong summer …

    Mind Margins

    February 18, 2016 at 10:01 AM

  8. Wow!


    February 18, 2016 at 8:12 PM

  9. If it’s been as dry there as it has been here, I wonder if the plants are dehydrated. Cactus and succulents shrivel with an absence of water, and flowers droop, espcially their stems and leaves. Why not rays? Now that I think about it, that strong, constant wind you mention could be drying them out.

    The light on the stems and buds is beautiful, and such a nice complement to the water color-like background.

    The past couple of days, the huisache along 146 have started to bloom. I think I found some at the nature center — based on baby leaves and thorns — so now it’s time to go check.


    February 18, 2016 at 8:49 PM

    • The newspaper here the other day pointed out that central Texas has just gone back into the first category on the drought scale. At such an early stage of dryness, I haven’t noticed other wildflowers (e.g. greenthread and four-nerve daisies) in any apparent distress, but each species reacts differently. Local conditions (like pesticide spraying) might have affected this little stand of Engelmann daisies, but I haven’t yet come across any other Engelmann daisies this year to compare.

      On the visual side, I was taken with the mixture of light and shadow on these flower heads. I don’t remember taking a picture like this one of Engelmann daisies in any previous year, and that was part of the attraction.

      On my way back home from this site I passed a huisache tree already beginning to flower. I circled round, parked, and took some pictures. It’s the time of year now where I’m starting to get so backed up with pictures that I won’t be able to show the huisache for at least a week. I hope you find some good ones near you.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 18, 2016 at 9:24 PM

  10. That is truly a delightful shot. A very springy spring shot, Steve! The light and colours of the flowers and the background are lovely.


    February 18, 2016 at 10:25 PM

    • I did a search and found that you’re only the second commenter ever to use the word springy, and the first to speak of springy spring. We’ll give the picture credit for getting you to spring springy spring on us in words the way it did visually.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 19, 2016 at 6:44 AM

  11. Hey Steve.. Beautiful


    February 19, 2016 at 6:32 AM

    • I don’t recall ever seeing these flowers so early in the year. They’re certainly welcome.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 19, 2016 at 6:50 AM

  12. Although we’ve had a poor excuse for winter here, I am ready for spring to arrive. I don’t think we’ll see any flowers very soon, but there is little covered ground so anything is possible. I have seen the tips of our irises poking up a bit. Lovely to see the warm beauty of this to help stoke the anticipation.

    Steve Gingold

    February 24, 2016 at 3:47 AM

    • Now I hear Carly Simon singing “Anticipation,” even if spring wildflowers down here are no longer keeping me waiting. In just the few days since this post I’ve seen my first of several other spring blossoms, including pink evening primroses, southern dewberries, redbud trees, huisache trees, and elbowbushes. I’m sorry you’ll still have some anticipating to do.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 24, 2016 at 7:10 AM

  13. Bright and cheerful back-drop as much as the flower!


    March 10, 2016 at 8:40 AM

    • Bright it was, in contrast to the third straight day now of overcast, but also of much-needed rain that has caused everything to green up.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 10, 2016 at 9:12 AM

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