Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A temporary strip of prairie resurgence

with 38 comments

By the spring of 2020 a construction site in southern Round Rock had already replaced a swath of prairie along Meister Lane on the east side of Schultz Lane. Last year I posted a commemorative picture about it. The construction site is still there, and yet when I drove by on the sunny morning of May 7th this year I found to my delight that many prairie plants at the edge of the road, away from where the work is taking place, had come back up. Hooray for them! By next year the strip will probably be paved over or planted with a closely mowed lawn of non-native grass, but at least for now I had another chance to portray some wildflowers there in the way I used to. The picture above shows a developing basket-flower (Plectocephalus americanus) in front of some clasping-leaf coneflowers (Dracopis amplexicaulis). Below, you have a gaura inflorescence (Oenothera sp.) in front of some firewheels (Gaillardia pulchella).

* * * * * * * * *

In yesterday’s post I provided information about an American government plan to spend large amounts of money implementing critical race theory in the schools. While that is still a proposal, the current administration has already begun discriminating against some people based on their race. A recently set-up program to provide debt relief to farmers is not open to farmers who happen to be white. Not surprisingly, some of those discriminated-against farmers are suing the government for violating their equal-treatment rights under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 16, 2021 at 4:37 AM

38 Responses

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  1. Fabulous images, Steve! In the second photo, I see a fairie-like creature hanging onto the flower. Have a great Sunday!

    Peter Klopp

    May 16, 2021 at 8:29 AM

    • Gaura flowers typically send parts out in multiple directions, making my work as a photographer difficult. Those disparate parts give your imagination plenty to work on.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 16, 2021 at 8:39 AM

      • Hehe, some flowers just don’t cooperate well with photographers but you still succeeded in making a lovely image. I have gaura in the garden, so it’s very interesting to see it growing wild.

        Ann Mackay

        May 18, 2021 at 5:55 AM

        • While I occasionally see a cultivated alien gaura species used in landscaping here, almost all my encounters are with the several native kinds that grow wild here. They were out in their usual large numbers along highways a month ago.

          Steve Schwartzman

          May 18, 2021 at 6:43 AM

          • What a lovely sight that must be!

            Ann Mackay

            May 19, 2021 at 6:18 AM

            • As I’ve said so many times, people from elsewhere need to visit Texas during our spring wildflower season.

              Steve Schwartzman

              May 19, 2021 at 6:21 AM

  2. Nice shots (as usual). You might want to check out the short strip of N Old Chisholm Trail Road in Round Rock just North of Old Settlers Blvd/FM3406 – Passed by there the other day and saw many natives in the final strip between the road and scraped bare dirt. Took a few shots with my phone of the white poppy against the blue sky, Gaillardia, Bluebonnets gone to seed, Gaura (out of focus – blowing in the wind) and a few different vines climbing on a sugar hackberry. (If my memory serves me well). Again, the foreground/background choices you’ve made are educational and inspiration .


    May 16, 2021 at 11:20 AM

    • I appreciate your tip. With the weather forecast offering good chances of rain every day in the coming week, I probably won’t be able to get up there for a while. Let’s hope the rain emboldens the wildflowers. As for these two pictures, I think of them as artsy rather than educational, though one can still learn about the depicted species from their portraits.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 16, 2021 at 12:12 PM

  3. Oh, I shouldn’t have read about the discrimination. It is so infuriating that so much discrimination and racism is not only tolerated nowadays, but that it is glorified. In my industry, we regularly discriminate against Americans of all sorts, . . . which is partly why I do so much of my own thing nowadays.


    May 16, 2021 at 2:04 PM

    • Anger can be the beginning of opposition to injustice. I’ve begun speaking up because I feel I have to. If not me, who? If not now, when?

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 16, 2021 at 2:57 PM

      • Nowadays, I care less about speaking up. I do not like offending anyone, but will if necessary. Those who get offended certainly had no problem offending me. While still working, I was informed that we could not hire Americans because, if we did, some on the crews might disapprove. Is it even legal to say that about hiring or not hiring those who are not American?!


        May 16, 2021 at 4:29 PM

        • As you say, with people who have no problem offending you, there’s good reason to offend them.

          It’s not legal to hire or refuse to hire on the basis of nationality. People get away with it, but that doesn’t make it legal. People get away with lots of illegal things.

          Steve Schwartzman

          May 16, 2021 at 5:12 PM

          • Not only do they get away with, but they justify it by claiming that Americans in our industries are racist.


            May 16, 2021 at 5:31 PM

            • All the more reason to push back against the true racists.

              Steve Schwartzman

              May 16, 2021 at 5:44 PM

              • Have you seen my other blog at Felton League? I am not presently able to write for it, but when I did, I sometimes discussed another sort of hater. Now that racism against those who are not Caucasian is vilified, racism against Caucasian is more tolerable. Also, some of the sort of animosity that racists crave is redirected towards homeless and the impoverished.


                May 16, 2021 at 5:55 PM

  4. Very nice photographs, as usual. My understanding of the Federal and State governments is that they cannot discriminate. So, the farmers suing may have a case, if I understand the constitution correctly. But I could be wrong. For the sake of curiosity, when my son was applying to colleges, there were a number of small grants floating at the State schools for certain minorities. Those grants, as I recall, were from non-profits and alumni organizations, never from the state itself. Some were very specific. For instance, there was one for the children of Portuguese immigrants in the USA. It was frustrating to navigate all those small grants and find that he did not qualify for any of them. He ended up enrolling in a private school that funded part of his education based on accomplishments. I was relieved to find a simple solution and that I did not have to try to find out which group we belong to in order to help fund his education.

    Alessandra Chaves

    May 16, 2021 at 3:47 PM

    • The federal and state governments can’t discriminate—except when they do. I’ve been waiting a long time for the Supreme Court to finally step up and uphold the 14th Amendment. I hope this will be the time.

      As for the search for a scholarship for your son, maybe as a Brazilian you should’ve started pronouncing every final s as sh to pass yourself off as Portuguese.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 16, 2021 at 5:00 PM

  5. Basketflowers! I saw some online reports of them at Brazos Bend and had planned to go out there today, but rain put an end to that. At least I know they’re out there, and getting ready to bloom. The ability of wildflowers to recolonize is remarkable. Where the prickly pears are blooming along the Hwy 146 construction zone, they’re now surrounded by some small Palo Verdes, and what I take to be tickseed.

    I’ve seen some Oenothera curtiflora appearing here and there — the so-called ‘small-flowered’ or ‘velvet leaf’ gaura. I wondered if that might be the species you’ve shown here, since it often bends under its own weight. In any event, any gaura’s better than no gaura, and this is a pretty one. Those burgundy stamens are quite something.


    May 16, 2021 at 4:13 PM

    • In my experience, paloverdes, huisaches, and of course mesquites are quick to colonize a property. (Alas, the February freeze seems to have killed the huisaches in my area; every one I’ve seen is brown and apparently dead.)

      These were the first basket-flowers for me in 2021. Unfortunately the great colony of them I photographed last year has become a construction site this year.

      I think this was Oenothera curtiflora. I hesitated to say so because in the flowering strip I took pictures of that species as well as one of the smaller gauras, and afterwards I couldn’t always distinguish the pictures of one from those of the other.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 16, 2021 at 5:08 PM

  6. It is heartbreaking how we are still ‘paving paradise to put up a parking lot.’ We NEED our native plants!!

    Eliza Waters

    May 16, 2021 at 8:33 PM

  7. Breathtaking, my friend. Especially the first one.

    marina kanavaki

    May 17, 2021 at 3:54 AM

  8. The composition is unusual, and quite nice. A bright center, dark leaves and a soft but colorful background.

    Lavinia Ross

    May 17, 2021 at 11:24 AM

    • Unusual indeed, and that’s why I’m happy with it. It’s different from the many other portraits I’ve made of this species.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 17, 2021 at 6:30 PM

  9. […] my May 16th post about prairie resurgence I reported on a resurgence of racism in America. What made it particularly egregious was that the […]

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