Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for March 14th, 2016

The Brother Gardeners

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On page 10 of Andrea Wulf’s 2008 book The Brother Gardeners: Botany, Empire, and the Birth of an Obsession I came across this:

[English gardener Thomas] Fairchild… sold [John] Tradescant’s sycamores as well as Virginian sunflowers, asters, goldenrod and rudbeckia. Aesculus pavia from North America, a small tree which was introduced as “scarlet flower’d horse chestnut” in 1711, blossomed for the first time in Fairchild’s garden….

What struck me is that I’ve shown pictures here of every one of those native North American plants that English gardeners happily imported in the 1600s and 1700s (though not necessarily the same species of each). Prompted by that coincidence, I’ve gone ahead and presented a mostly retrospective collection today. Clicking any but the first photograph won’t show it in isolation the way it usually does but will instead take you back to the original post in case you’d like to read the associated text. Hardly any of you will have seen all those posts, the majority of which appeared in the early years of this blog.

As for the first photograph, I took it on March 2 of this year from a high part of Spicewood Springs Rd. just west of the intersection with Bintliff Dr. Using a telephoto lens, I aimed down into the woods where a creek has fostered the growth of what are now some large sycamore trees, Platanus occidentalis. In addition to the conspicuous white branches, you may be able to make out the hundreds of seed balls hanging from them.


Sycamore with White Branches and Seed Balls 6776

A sycamore tree, Platanus occidentalis


A colony of sunflowers, Helianthus annuus

A colony of sunflowers, Helianthus annuus


Click for greater detail.

Heath asters, Aster ericoides.


Tall goldenrod, Solidago altissima


Brown- or black-eyed susan, Rudbeckia hirta


Click for greater clarity.

Swallowtail butterfly on flowers of red buckeye, Aesculus pavia.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman



Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 14, 2016 at 4:59 AM

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