Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

The fifth wildflower-covered cemetery

with 48 comments

The fifth and last wildflower-covered burial ground we visited last month was the Garza-Valadez Cemetery in Floresville. On March 27th we’d left the main city cemetery and the downtown and were beginning to head back to Austin when on a whim I stayed on 4th St. for a while instead of cutting over to US 181 on 10th St. Without that whim we’d never have known about this place.

Even better than the cemetery itself was the wildflower meadow behind the house next door. I couldn’t go in there so I had to content myself with shooting over the fence with a telephoto lens zoomed to 400mm.

And now for the colorful botany lesson. The white flowers were white prickly poppies (Argemone albiflora). The yellow were Nueces coreopsis (Coreopsis nuecensis). The magenta were a species of Phlox. The blue were sandyland bluebonnets (Lupinus subcarnosus). The red were Indian paintbrushes (Castilleja indivisa).

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 8, 2019 at 4:32 AM

48 Responses

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  1. what a lovely place to be laid to rest


    April 8, 2019 at 4:39 AM

  2. That’s what I would call real rest in Peace.


    April 8, 2019 at 4:44 AM

  3. How beautiful. I am in awe of the colors


    April 8, 2019 at 5:18 AM

  4. I do love the time of year in Texas when wildflowers color every landscape.


    April 8, 2019 at 6:31 AM

    • So do I. This spring was particularly good in the area south of San Antonio, as I’ve been showing in many of the last couple of dozen posts.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 8, 2019 at 6:34 AM

  5. I like the horizontal bands of color: different in each photo. They remind me of the hollow plastic Easter eggs that can be taken apart and filled with candy. As a kid, I’d always take them apart and recombine them, ending up with a basket of half-and-half eggs: purple and yellow, pink and blue, and so on.

    Looking for historical information on the cemetery, I found an article about conditions there. Another couple had posted a photo from March 21 showing the flowers from a sightly different perspective, and it seems from your photos and theirs that the problem may have been resolved. Clearing away at least some of the overgrowth may be part of the reason this year’s flowers were able to flourish.


    April 8, 2019 at 6:37 AM

    • My own bit of searching for information about this cemetery had turned up the same article. As you know, timing can be all-important, and it seems community service in the last couple of years made me quite a wildflower beneficiary when I turned up there last month. There were even more wildflowers in the meadow behind the house next door; I assume someone had mowed there in the fall or winter, allowing the flowers free rein once good conditions arrived in the spring.

      And yes, those horizontal bands struck me, too, and they’re one reason I cropped the last two pictures in such an elongated way. The other reason was that the top and bottom flowers in the full frame weren’t in focus, given that I’d had to shoot from a distance with a telephoto.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 8, 2019 at 6:57 AM

  6. Stunning colors! Forrest’s sister and her husband came up here for the weekend (from Dallas) and said the bluebonnets were spectacular all the way here. I think they took the back roads this trip. The scenery is always better off the interstate, don’tcha know.


    April 8, 2019 at 6:46 AM

    • Yes, and the driving is so much less stressful. I-35 has heavy truck traffic and is perpetually under construction. When we went to Tulsa a few years ago, not only did I have to deal with the narrow and curvy lanes that the construction beset us with, but heavy rain much of the way made it hard to see the road.

      Given that report of good bluebonnets, perhaps you can return the visit soon and see them for yourselves—or maybe the lush wildflowers will move north with the season and all you’ll have to do will be go outside and take a look.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 8, 2019 at 7:08 AM

  7. Another dose of gorgeousness! If I have a favorite wildflower (a big If) it might be phlox (I know, there are many), but those magenta/pinky things fill the eye.


    April 8, 2019 at 7:25 AM

    • Another dose indeed: you can imagine what our day was like. I like the way you described the phlox as “those magenta/pinky things.” Yes, that color practically fluoresces. I wish I knew how to do that.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 8, 2019 at 10:35 AM

  8. The phlox and bluebonnet combo is my favorite, but Mother Nature needs no instruction on aligning colors and artful design. These cemetery visits must have been very comforting – to the soul and to the eye.

    • I threw myself into taking pictures of many flower combinations in many compositions, turning this way and that with my camera in all three dimensions. I don’t know about comfort, but two graveyards earlier we had our lunch at a stone picnic table behind the little church adjacent to the cemetery.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 8, 2019 at 10:46 AM

      • That sounds like a sweet location for a lunch, especially surrounded by wildflowers.

        “I threw myself’ — if I were a cartoonist, that would be fun to illustrate!

        • The throwing was figurative, of course, but it would lend itself to a good caricature. See, you have one more reason to visit Texas in the spring.

          Steve Schwartzman

          April 8, 2019 at 8:19 PM

  9. I think Monet would have liked Texas.


    April 8, 2019 at 8:31 AM

    • I imagine so. If only we could arrange for a time machine to go back for him and take him on a trip to Texas in the spring.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 8, 2019 at 10:51 AM

      • We’d have to go to when he was young…once he got his garden going he was loathe to leave it.


        April 9, 2019 at 8:19 AM

        • True. I read a biography of him a year or two ago.

          Steve Schwartzman

          April 9, 2019 at 8:28 AM

          • Did you enjoy it? I’ve been reading gardening books about him and his garden and found them very inspiring.


            April 10, 2019 at 9:10 AM

  10. I’ve loved this series. 🙂


    April 8, 2019 at 10:53 AM

    • Thanks for letting me know. You can imagine how excited I was taking pictures in these five cemeteries. I only wish I’d found more.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 8, 2019 at 10:57 AM

  11. The bands of colour are fabulous, like a rainbow! Especially liking the magenta and yellow contrasting colours and the blue and purple. What a sight!


    April 8, 2019 at 5:47 PM

    • What a sight indeed. I understand why you like those bands of color. This has been a wonderful spring for wildflowers in south-central Texas. I’m so glad we took four day-trips down there.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 8, 2019 at 8:13 PM

  12. More dropping of jaw. Hard to imagine what it must be like to be able to immerse oneself in all that floral beauty. I don’t think there are many managed gardens that can rival those cemeteries.

    Steve Gingold

    April 8, 2019 at 6:55 PM

    • Anything managed will necessarily look different from these luxuriant expanses of wildflowers. I’m sorry you weren’t here to see—and of course photograph—for yourself.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 8, 2019 at 8:15 PM

  13. Those flowers are just incredible!


    April 8, 2019 at 10:09 PM

  14. I continue to be blown away by your wildflower meadows, Steve. They are completely captivating.


    April 8, 2019 at 10:29 PM

  15. All this loveliness and not a mower in sight. Beautiful.


    April 9, 2019 at 9:51 AM

    • Right you are. The other day, no sooner had I walked over to photograph a colony of wildflowers than I noticed a mower heading my way. To my relief, the guy mowed right up to the edge of the colony but left the flowers alone. As I said in the text of the post about it that I’ve scheduled for a week from now, someone still has a brain.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 9, 2019 at 10:11 AM

  16. Dang! These are crazy colorful, and even more than any pictures I have seen of the superbloom down South! The deceased really have it going on there.


    April 10, 2019 at 10:30 PM

  17. Superb! The whim sure paid off … glorious colours Steve


    April 14, 2019 at 2:06 PM

    • Glorious colors, indeed, and as the result of a whim. Of course, what other whims led me to miss interesting places, I’ll probably never know.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 14, 2019 at 4:21 PM

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