Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

The alternating predominance of white and red in two more views of lush wildflowers on the Blackland Prairie in Pflugerville on May 6th

with 39 comments

Red with yellow fringes = firewheel, Indian blanket; Gaillardia pulchella.
Yellow = sundrops, square-bud primrose; Oenothera capillifolia.
Yellow-orange = greenthread; Thelesperma filifolium.
White = prairie bishop; Bifora americana.

The dark vertical stalks are the remains (with a few flowers) of Indian paintbrushes, Castilleja indivisa.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 20, 2020 at 4:39 AM

39 Responses

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  1. The alternating predominance is fascinating, and it takes a photographer’s eye to note it. It reminds me of a fairy ring of mushrooms or the zone around a black walnut (is memory serving me right here?) where the growth of other plants is suppressed or inhibited. Whatever–lovely tapestry!


    May 20, 2020 at 4:59 AM

    • When I visited the property on May 4th I was thrilled to find it as vibrant as in the best previous years (In 2018 I took three people there to experience it). I don’t remember if I’d previously noticed how some areas were so distinctly surrounded by areas of a different color. That contrast certainly stood out this time, and I could hardly stop taking pictures of it. The place was so flowerful it drew me back four times that week.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 20, 2020 at 8:03 AM

  2. Wonderful, a small piece of what was lost.


    May 20, 2020 at 7:32 AM

    • Adjacent properties have been lost in just the last few years. For as long as this one holds out, I’ll keep on enjoying it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 20, 2020 at 7:54 AM

  3. Simply mesmerizing!


    May 20, 2020 at 7:43 AM

    • Just call me Franz (that was Mesmer’s first name).

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 20, 2020 at 7:52 AM

      • I wasn’t familiar with Franz Mesmer so I looked him up. How appropriate the term. And I was interested to read about his theory on energy and “animal magnetism”. I’ll have to research this when I have more time as you know that is of interest to me! Right now, I just had four bales of straw delivered and I must clean chicken barn before the rain comes!!


        May 20, 2020 at 8:40 AM

  4. These intricately interwoven floral carpets are becoming a distinctive characteristic of your photographic work, Steve.

    Peter Klopp

    May 20, 2020 at 8:21 AM

    • I’m really fond of these “floral carpet” pictures, of which I took many on the prairie over the past two weeks. At the same time, I’m trying to strike a balance by not showing them so often that viewers might get inured. The previous portraits of this sort appeared four posts back, in “Almost a monoculture.” The three intervening posts showed other things for variety.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 20, 2020 at 9:05 AM

      • I never get tired of looking at your beautiful ‘carpet’, Steve.

        Peter Klopp

        May 20, 2020 at 11:43 AM

        • Thanks for letting me know. I’m glad to hear it. I expect to have at least a couple more “carpet” pictures in the weeks ahead.

          Steve Schwartzman

          May 20, 2020 at 11:45 AM

  5. Wow, it is lush, almost drunken with such a profusion of blooms. What a beautiful sight.

    Robert Parker

    May 20, 2020 at 8:40 AM

    • That expanse of prairie was as good as I’d seen it in the best of previous years. I’ve got to enjoy it while I can because I know it will get developed sooner or later and the pace of development has been relentless here for the past five years. So far in 2020 I’m aware of two sites that have been razed, one of them among my favorites.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 20, 2020 at 9:15 AM

      • I’m grateful to the land trust based in Ithaca, which has protected a lot of land in this area, although of course, that’s easier in an area with little or no population growth, and and aging population. Having millions of new residents, like Texas, must make it very difficult to conserve land.

        Robert Parker

        May 20, 2020 at 9:45 AM

        • It is, especially in the eastern part of our area, which is the prairie side and the poorer side of town, so land costs are lower and the development therefore faster.

          Steve Schwartzman

          May 20, 2020 at 10:04 AM

  6. An amazing explosion of color and detail, Steve. Great shots.

    Jane Lurie

    May 20, 2020 at 10:23 AM

  7. Beautiful! Hope to one day see it in person


    May 20, 2020 at 1:09 PM

    • I sure hope so. There’s nothing like it in Urban NJ. (I grew up on Long Island and as a senior in college taught English as a second language to immigrants in Jersey City.)

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 20, 2020 at 1:14 PM

  8. Oh my are those beautiful pictures! 🙂

    M.B. Henry

    May 20, 2020 at 4:29 PM

  9. Wow, what beautiful fields of color and flowers.


    May 21, 2020 at 12:02 AM

    • From the remaining parcels we can extrapolate and try to imagine the vast fields of these wildflowers that would have covered thousands of acres here 200 years ago.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 21, 2020 at 12:27 AM

  10. I can’t help wondering if the calico print fabrics so common during the settlement of Texas might have been one way for women to preserve the beauty of the prairies’ bloom throughout the year. The fabric itself has been around for centuries, but there are some patterns that certainly recall scenes like this.

    The prairie bishop looks like a river of white running through all that yellow and red.


    May 21, 2020 at 4:30 AM

    • Hmm, I never would have conjectured that, not being attuned to fabrics and clothing the way you are. As you said, calico had been around long before most white settlers, especially women, made it out onto the American prairies. The prairie bishop was as good this year as I’ve ever seen it; surrounded as it ultimately was, I’d say more of a lake of white than a river.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 21, 2020 at 8:06 AM

  11. These would be eye-crossing jigsaw puzzles. Fabulous meadows.

    Steve Gingold

    May 21, 2020 at 1:15 PM

  12. An abundance of beauty, Steve 🙂 🙂


    May 21, 2020 at 5:28 PM

  13. I love pattern shots like this. Some people think you always need to have a subject of interest but in my mind, the whole thing is the subject of interest.


    May 22, 2020 at 5:24 PM

  14. Ah made me smile 😊


    May 24, 2020 at 5:54 PM

  15. […] of eye-catching red. Three days earlier I’d gone to a prairie parcel in Pflugerville where prairie bishop looked this good in 2020, only to find it paltry there this year. It’s another example showing the vagaries of […]

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