Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Bluebonnet in the fall

with 34 comments

The warm autumn in Austin this year has led to various “spring” wildflowers blooming out of season. So it was for this bluebonnet (Lupinus texensis) at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on October 23rd, which had risen from its basal rosette and was already forming an inflorescence. The behaving-as-expected, which is to say seasonal, flowers in the background were purple fall asters (Symphyotrichum oblongifolium). Oh well, now I guess I’ll have to break down and show you a picture of them in their own right, too.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 21, 2020 at 4:21 AM

34 Responses

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  1. A JOY to my eyes!!!!!!

    marina kanavaki

    November 21, 2020 at 5:27 AM

  2. It’s interesting to note that we too are experiencing plants and flowers blooming out of season. I am the oddball out there picking greens for the fawns to give them a bit of variety now that the leaves have all blown from the trees. I am glad you “broke down” to show off those lovely asters. They’re such a happy little flower!


    November 21, 2020 at 5:57 AM

    • You’ve made me wonder how far north the out-of-season blooming is still going on. It’s continued down here in the four weeks since we visited the Wildflower Center, and now we know it’s gone on in central Oklahoma, too—even with no leaves left on the trees. I may still show more of the prodigies from here in the weeks ahead. Eventually it’s gonna get cold, isn’t it?

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 21, 2020 at 7:17 AM

  3. Beautiful to wake up to!


    November 21, 2020 at 6:10 AM

  4. I remember you mentioning your discovery of these developing bluebonnets. I’ve seen plenty of basal leaves, but nothing like this. I’m intrigued by the plant’s color; the hint of lime in its green pairs well with the purple asters. It hardly seems possible that nearly a month has passed since you took these photos. Before long, the bluebonnets will be blooming again, but in season.


    November 21, 2020 at 7:11 AM

    • I wish I’d gone back a week later to see and of course photograph the bluebonnet already flowering. Other posts have borne the names of the prominent colors in them, like red and yellow four days ago. While I considered calling this post “Green and purple” or “Purple and green make a good scene” (nothing quite rhymes with purple), the strangeness of a bluebonnet flowering in October won out. One or two more prodigies will probably still show up in posts this season.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 21, 2020 at 7:27 AM

  5. Beautiful snap


    November 21, 2020 at 8:07 AM

  6. The abundance of flowers in your southern location highlights the difference between the Interior of BC and Texas. Here at the Arrow Lakes, it would be hard to find just one flower around this time of the year. Lovely floral compositions, Steve!

    Peter Klopp

    November 21, 2020 at 9:28 AM

    • Just yesterday I spent time with Maximilian sunflowers that were still blooming. Asters, Mexican hats, and various other wildflowers are still around, even if in diminishing quantity.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 21, 2020 at 10:00 AM

  7. Purple asters are right up there with goldenrod among my fall favorites. Someday I hope to visit the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and see bluebonnets in person.

    Lavinia Ross

    November 21, 2020 at 10:22 AM

    • If you get to that point, let me know and I’ll show you around the area. Spring and fall are the two best times here, though even in the summer furnace we still have wildflowers.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 21, 2020 at 10:27 AM

  8. Gorgeous images, Steve. The first comes together beautifully with its colors, clarity and aperture. I enjoyed our visit to the Lady Bird Wildflower Center.

    Jane Lurie

    November 21, 2020 at 1:02 PM

  9. Not where I expected to see color when I read your title … a nice surprise!


    November 21, 2020 at 1:09 PM

    • Bluebonnets and other early-season wildflowers have been giving us lots of pleasant surprises these past few weeks.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 21, 2020 at 3:46 PM

  10. I love this post and the way the two photos complement and contrast. The bluebonnet (and wow! blooming now?) point upward to the hazy pink/purple, then the happy asters bring up the rear. Great pairing.


    November 21, 2020 at 5:22 PM

    • From what you say, this pairing deserved an airing, and I’m happy to have obliged. Originally I included only the first picture, given the rarity of bluebonnets in the fall; in the end I came to feel I owed viewers a clarification of all that amorphous color beyond the green of the bluebonnet.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 21, 2020 at 5:48 PM

  11. Thanks for caring enough for the airing of the pairing–and for sharing.


    November 22, 2020 at 4:09 AM

  12. The purple background and the symmetric lupine leaves look great together. What a gorgeous array of asters!


    November 23, 2020 at 8:24 PM

    • The combination of purple and green appeals to me, too. I suspect regular watering at the Wildflower Center had something to do with how gorgeous the array of asters looked.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 23, 2020 at 9:16 PM

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