Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Texas being Texas

with 60 comments

In the spring Texas does wildflowers.

Prompted by reports of good sightings a little over a hundred miles from home in Cestohowa, we headed south on March 18. We began finding good things just past Seguin and even better ones after we detoured a little from our route to check out New Berlin. In fact the wildflowers were so bountiful on some of the properties in that area that we never got any farther. Sorry, Cestohowa.

We’d first stumbled on the flowerful cemetery at Christ Lutheran Church of Elm Creek in 2014, and this year proved its equal. Here’s an overview:

To my mind, every cemetery should be covered in wildflowers.

The tombstones are interesting, with the oldest ones dating from the 1800s and inscribed in German (remember, the town is New Berlin). Still, as this blog is devoted to nature, here are a couple of photographs that focus on the profuse wildflowers in their own right. The colonies were so intertwined that I was able to frame the flowers in lots of ways. The bright yellow ones are Nueces coreopsis (Coreopsis nuecensis).

The red flowers are Indian paintbrushes (Castilleja indivisa) and the others are bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis), the state’s official wildflower. You saw a closeup of one way back in early February.)

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 21, 2019 at 4:44 AM

60 Responses

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  1. I’ve never seen the like of those colourful carpets, wow!

    Ms. Liz

    March 21, 2019 at 6:11 AM

    • Wow is the right word. Historical accounts report that fields of wildflowers stretched for miles before the era of farming and ranching and modern settlement. Even now Texas remains famous for its wildflowers.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 21, 2019 at 6:35 AM

  2. The old euphemism for being a cemetery resident — “pushing up daisies” — came to mind. Daisies are well and good, but pushing up a wealth of wildflowers like these would be even better. I’d best get myself down to Galveston this weekend and check out what’s happening at the Broadway cemeteries. It’s interesting to see the same carpeting effect with paintbrush as appears there with coreopsis and such.

    I will say that, as lovely as great swaths of paintbrush and bluebonnets can be, I do prefer mixed bouquets, especially in a field. There’s nothing like seeing them in real time.

    shoreacres

    March 21, 2019 at 6:56 AM

    • Eve, too, is of your mind, and often mentions how much she prefers mixed colors to a single one in an expanse of wildflowers. I’ll also jump on the bandwagon. At the same time, the most frequent and expansive wildflowers we saw near New Berlin were Indian paintbrushes, and so I photographed those monochrome colonies as well. I may post one or more of those pictures here too.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 21, 2019 at 7:13 AM

  3. be careful of where ‘yer walk’in

    MichaelStephenWills

    March 21, 2019 at 7:02 AM

    • There’s always plenty in Texas to be careful about when walking around outdoors: cacti, prickly and thorny vines, fire ants, sandburs…. At least the permanent residents in the cemetery won’t reach out and attack me.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 21, 2019 at 7:17 AM

  4. I live in Colorado now but I sure miss the wonderful wildflower displays of central Texas!! Such special memories!

    Caroline Smith

    March 21, 2019 at 7:09 AM

    • The good thing is that you can always visit, especially at this time of year when it would provide a break from the cold in Colorado.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 21, 2019 at 7:14 AM

  5. This is beautiful, and I agree, every cemetery should be covered with wildflowers like this one. And it beats the heck out of having a crew of jail inmates, wandering around with noisy weedwhackers.

    Robert Parker

    March 21, 2019 at 7:55 AM

    • Many people unfortunately have the same mentality about cemeteries as they do about roadsides and “vacant” lots: mow everything to within an inch or two of the ground. Nevertheless, from what I’ve seen online, in that part of south-central Texas there are several cemeteries covered with wildflowers. I hope to visit more of them now that the peak wildflower season is beginning.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 21, 2019 at 8:00 AM

  6. The wildflowers are one of the best parts of Texas. I was also going to mention Galveston.

    automatic gardener

    March 21, 2019 at 8:08 AM

  7. Beautiful shots. I recall hearing a story on NPR about Texas wildflowers. The reporter relayed a story, or perhaps, he was the one who witnessed–I don’t remember. The story was of driving and seeing cows in a lake; upon a second glance, the” lake” was a field of bluebonnets. Yes, Texas in a good spring.

    Tina

    March 21, 2019 at 8:19 AM

    • That’s a good story. Texas has almost no natural lakes of the aqueous kind but plenty of the bluebonnet kind in the spring. At this time of year we also get red-orange “lakes” of Indian paintbrushes that, like bluebonnets, tend to form large exclusive colonies.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 21, 2019 at 8:28 AM

  8. I quite agree. Nothing better than a churchyard that has been allowed to be a sanctuary for nature. This one is particularly beautiful with all the colourful flowers.

    Heyjude

    March 21, 2019 at 8:34 AM

  9. That is absolutely stunning. I wish all cemeteries looked like this. In the Peoria area sometimes you come across old cemeteries that still host tall grass prairie, but it is mostly a bunch of just that~tall grass. Not lovely like this.

    melissabluefineart

    March 21, 2019 at 9:59 AM

    • We spent a long day out today (which is why I’m replying to your comment so late) and visited another church cemetery as flowerful as this one. Woo hoo Texas! At least there are some people left who aren’t afflicted with mower madness.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 21, 2019 at 8:46 PM

      • Thank goodness for that. How long does this spring bounty typically last? I understand the hills in California are lit up right now with poppies. They look glorious in the photos.

        melissabluefineart

        March 22, 2019 at 9:27 AM

        • The bluebonnets and Indian paintbrushes may last a few more weeks. Indian blankets have come out in modest numbers so far but the big colonies of them haven’t appeared yet. There’s typically some plentiful wildflower species or other into May.

          I saw some views of this season’s California poppies on television.

          Steve Schwartzman

          March 22, 2019 at 10:04 AM

          • Paul will be traveling to Texas on Monday for a presentation he’ll be giving. He’s taking a whole week to drive from San Antonio to Dallas to see some friends. Wish I could go, too but impossible. Hopefully he’ll see lots of beautiful flowers on his way.

            melissabluefineart

            March 23, 2019 at 9:13 AM

            • I don’t see how he could not, given what’s happening. Maybe you can suggest to him that he travel from San Antonio via roads other than Interstate 35, which is a nuisance to drive; by taking back roads he’d likely see more and better wildflowers. Too bad you can’t go along.

              Steve Schwartzman

              March 23, 2019 at 9:57 AM

              • I wish I could. While he was visiting his friends, I could be visiting you. I’ll suggest that route to him. He’s a fan of back roads.

                melissabluefineart

                March 24, 2019 at 8:15 AM

                • Also, if he has time, he could take a jaunt just a little distance from San Antonio to see the fantastic wildflowers there now. He could visit Poteet and Pleasanton a bit to the south or New Berlin a bit to the east.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  March 24, 2019 at 9:31 AM

                • Those are good suggestions too. Thanks, I’l mention them to him.

                  melissabluefineart

                  March 25, 2019 at 8:24 AM

  10. WOW! Gorgeous!

    M.B. Henry

    March 21, 2019 at 4:45 PM

  11. If I can’t get out of leaving this mortal shell behind, I would not mind being covered by a quilt of colorful flowers similar to the one you are showing us here.

    tanjabrittonwriter

    March 21, 2019 at 8:28 PM

  12. […] of the highlights in the cemetery at Christ Lutheran Church in New Berlin was the Nueces coreopsis (Coreopsis nuecensis), whose range doesn’t reach Austin and that I […]

  13. Ah, Steve, you’re doing my heart good over here in New Zealand. I miss bluebonnets and springtime more than anything else in Texas. I’m with you — all cemeteries should be covered with wildflowers.

    Jenny Meadows

    March 22, 2019 at 6:12 AM

    • I understand why you miss this so much, Jenny. The wildflowers a little below San Antonio are said to be the best in a decade, and we spent all day yesterday in that area again, this time to the southwest rather than the southeast of San Antonio. At least you get to see it vicariously here.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 22, 2019 at 6:27 AM

      • Thank goodness for you! I’m going to bed to dream of bluebonnets, Indian paintbrushes, winecups, cosmos, evening primroses, and Maximilian daisies. G’nite!

        Jenny Meadows

        March 22, 2019 at 6:53 AM

  14. Absolutely phantasmafloragorical!

    Susan Scheid

    March 22, 2019 at 2:20 PM

    • By another coincidence, this morning I came up with sepulchrofloral to refer to this kind of scene. We could combine it with your word to make phantasmasepulchrofloragorical.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 22, 2019 at 2:31 PM

  15. Have you seen pictures of the superbloom in California?

    tonytomeo

    March 23, 2019 at 8:18 PM

    • I’ve seen pictures of the California poppies.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 23, 2019 at 9:41 PM

      • That is most of what the superbloom is. Profusion of California poppy used to be more common before the exotics forced them all out. Now, they bloom like that in regions where the exotics do not do so well.

        tonytomeo

        March 24, 2019 at 9:13 AM

  16. Yes they should be carpets of wildflowers. We are planning on cremation, but might change our minds if we could rest in ground like this.

    Steve Gingold

    March 26, 2019 at 3:45 AM

    • Now you’ve made me wonder if anyone has ever arranged for wildflowers (as opposed to cultivated flowers) to be maintained on their grave.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 26, 2019 at 6:22 AM

  17. […] March 21st, three days after spending time at the wildflower-covered cemetery in New Berlin, we reveled in the Sand Branch Cemetery on FM 2504 west of Poteet in Atascosa County. This time the […]

  18. I just adore wildflowers Steve … 😊

    Julie@frogpondfarm

    March 29, 2019 at 2:50 PM

    • Then you’ll have to arrange for a trip to Texas during our spring and your winter. As many good things as NZ has, it can’t match the wildflowers. Air NZ offers a non-stop flight from Auckland to Houston (that’s the flight we took each way).

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 29, 2019 at 3:05 PM

  19. […] we stopped at five cemeteries covered with wildflowers. You’ve already seen pictures of the one at Christ Lutheran Church near New Berlin and the Sand Branch Cemetery near Poteet. The third, on March 27th, was the Cañada […]


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