Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Two surviving colonies

with 29 comments

In my April 22nd post I sadly reported this year’s loss to development of a great piece of Blackland Prairie in Pflugerville. I still held out hope of seeing good wildflowers, as I had in the spring of 2020, on the adjacent piece of land that hasn’t yet become a construction site. When I did check out that remnant on May 9th it disappointed me, as the wildflowers there were much less expansive than last spring. Oh well, such are the vagaries of nature. Even so, I found one happy group of clasping-leaf coneflowers, Dracopis amplexicaulis, as you see above, near the larger red-and-yellowful stand of firewheels, Gaillardia pulchella, shown below.

Here’s an entry for the “Why can’t they get this figured out once and for all?” category. So you call a company to pay a bill, as I did yesterday. (I’d tried to pay online, had entered all my information, and then the company’s website generated a system error, as it had on other occasions.) The person on the phone asked for the account number and the name on that account. Fine. Then the person asked for the birthday and last four digits of the account holder’s Social Security card. Fine. Then the person asked me for my name and my relationship to the account holder. Okay. Then the person asked for the address, and I gave our house number and street and said it’s in Austin, Texas. This was getting tedious. Then the person wouldn’t go further unless I also gave my ZIP code. I explained that anyone who knows a street address can easily look up the ZIP code online, so the ZIP code provides no additional confirmatory information. The person on the phone was nice and understood what I was saying but explained that management makes her ask for the ZIP code every time anyhow. I told her my opinion of a management that can’t get a website to work properly and that asks customers for unnecessary information, and she and I had some laughs together. At least for her and me this wasn’t one of those wasted days mentioned yesterday in a quotation by Chamfort.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 20, 2021 at 4:31 AM

29 Responses

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  1. I so get this.


    May 20, 2021 at 4:37 AM

  2. I’m happy there was still a nice field of flowers for you to find!


    May 20, 2021 at 7:32 AM

  3. In our dehumanized world, to laugh together with a representative of an incompetent company after so much frustration is truly a rare event. I am glad that you were able to do that, Steve.

    Peter Klopp

    May 20, 2021 at 7:57 AM

    • Not all phone representatives act so human, as you’ve no doubt found out.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 20, 2021 at 8:07 AM

      • … if you are able to talk to a representative. Spending a long time at the phone waiting is very frustrating to me.

        Peter Klopp

        May 20, 2021 at 8:11 AM

        • Like all of us, I’ve done plenty of waiting on the phone, often while an announcement ironically keeps telling me how important my call is to the company. At least this time, to the company’s credit, I didn’t have to wait long to speak to a representative.

          Steve Schwartzman

          May 20, 2021 at 8:18 AM

  4. Glad you still found some flower fields! These are both amazing.

    M.B. Henry

    May 20, 2021 at 2:31 PM

  5. There are very few areas like that to be lost here. Most of our losses have been stands of old growth trees, some of which were cut for British Navy masts and much else simply cleared for human endeavor. There are still a few stands but most of our current forested areas are second or third growth.

    Steve Gingold

    May 21, 2021 at 3:24 AM

    • At least you’ve gotten that second or third growth. Here, once land is covered with buildings and roads, it’s unlikely to ever return to being natural—unless civilization collapses, that is.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 21, 2021 at 6:05 AM

      • In a way collapse is why we have second growth. The loss of small farms has led to two things. Farm land being developed similar to your situation and forests being regenerated. So once it is developed it is gone here also.

        Steve Gingold

        May 21, 2021 at 10:00 AM

        • With regard to civilizations collapsing, I’m reminded of the ancient Mayan cities I’ve seen in Central America and Mexico that got completely covered by the jungle in less than a thousand years. Archaeologists occasionally find new ones so thoroughly hidden that people hadn’t suspected anything was there.

          Steve Schwartzman

          May 21, 2021 at 10:19 AM

  6. Where in Pflugerville were these areas. I lived in Bradford Park at the top end of Louis Henna in ‘97-01. Would use Schultz Lane to get there


    May 22, 2021 at 7:11 PM

    • This is on the west side of Heatherwilde Blvd. a bit north of Wells Branch Parkway. The field that’s become a construction site is just north of the field shown here. The field on the corner of Schultz Lane and Meister Lane was one I treasured for years but it, has been a construction site since 2020. I managed to salvage some pictures there recently in the narrow strip of land along Schultz Lane not yet destroyed destroyed:

      A temporary strip of prairie resurgence

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 22, 2021 at 8:39 PM

      • Hello; did you dig up a nice square foot, mark the news corners and try replanting in your back yard….?


        May 26, 2021 at 4:11 AM

        • I’m not a gardener, so I didn’t. I know people who have rescued native plants from places that were about to become construction sites.

          Steve Schwartzman

          May 26, 2021 at 5:22 AM

  7. I know I repeat this every year, but these look like calico prints to me. Either would make a wonderful sundress, but I think I’d prefer the second, with a pair of red shoes, just for fun.


    May 22, 2021 at 8:51 PM

    • And so I’ll suggest once again that maybe you could induce a company to make a fabric from a picture like the second one. I’ll lend the photograph but you’re on your own for the red shoes.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 22, 2021 at 9:04 PM

  8. Those are very beautiful pictures, we need to save honeybees so they can pollinate the flowers.


    May 22, 2021 at 9:40 PM

    • Also remember that we have many species of native bees and other insects that pollinated our wildflowers before honeybees were imported from Europe, and that continue to do so.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 22, 2021 at 10:17 PM

  9. That’s a bummer. We need to save the bees.

    Grace Guzman

    May 25, 2021 at 5:50 PM

    • Fortunately we have many species of native bees and other insects that pollinated our wildflowers before honeybees were imported from Europe, and that continue to do so. Of course all of those insects now have less land in its natural state.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 25, 2021 at 6:35 PM

    • By the way, did you know that the name Guzmán means ‘good man’? While we think of it as a Spanish surname, it was the Visigoths, who spoke a language related to English, who brought the name into Spain over a thousand years ago.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 25, 2021 at 6:38 PM

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