Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Mini-meadow Monday

with 40 comments

I’d call this little space covered with mixed wildflowers a mini-meadow. Photographed on May 21st just off Yaupon Dr. on the far side of my neighborhood, it offered up the white of a rain-lily, Zephyranthes drummondii; the red at the center of some firewheels, Gaillardia pulchella; yellow galore in a slew of four-nerve daisies, Tetraneuris linearifolia; and last but not least, as well as least in size while greatest in numbers, a starry sprinkling of least daisies, Chaetopappa bellidifolia.

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And here’s an unrelated quotation for today from Izabella Tabarovsky, who came to America from the Soviet Union at age 20:

Over the past year, as I have watched instances of American censorship multiply, and extend to speech, books, movies, opinions and plain facts, memories from those early years of my American life, when I first began to grapple with the consequences of living under censorship, have resurfaced. I have been flabbergasted to watch the staff of publishing houses become enraged over the publication of authors they disagree with, designate those works as harmful and demand that they be “cancelled.” I have been utterly perplexed to discover that some California schools have banned venerable classics such as Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men and Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, because of concerns about their use of racial slurs and stereotypes. Of course, we don’t want children to read racist literature. But believing that these particular works propagate racial hatred requires the same mental contortions that Soviet censors exercised when they laboured so hard to imagine all the ways a work of art might lead citizens astray.

You’re welcome to read the full essay, which is entitled
What My Soviet Life Has Taught Me About Censorship and Why It Makes Us Dumb.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 31, 2021 at 4:10 AM

40 Responses

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  1. Your mini-meadow has so much to offer for the soul hungry for some colour after a long dreary winter.

    Peter Klopp

    May 31, 2021 at 8:25 AM

    • Once again there’s a big latitudinal difference. As bad as February was, no one here has thought about a cold and dreary winter for some time now.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 31, 2021 at 8:36 AM

  2. A maxi-bouquet in a mini-meadow.

    Steve Gingold

    May 31, 2021 at 8:56 AM

  3. Such variety in a small space.


    May 31, 2021 at 9:22 AM

    • That’s common here. Call it floral promiscuity.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 31, 2021 at 9:55 AM

      • I think the correct term is biodiversity… although I like the floral promiscuity term, too. Today’s photo reminds me of the scene outside my back fence this year. Although last year it was a monoculture (almost) of Lolium perenne, and this year the wildflowers were heavily infested with the invasive Centaurea melitensis, they have returned in spite of the mowing contractors’ attempt to mow them down on 7 May. And every now and then I surprise a Silvaginus floridianus munching away on something in my backyard or in the berm. Texas wildflowers and native plants – love ’em or lose ’em.


        May 31, 2021 at 12:54 PM

        • You might say the established term “biodiversity” lacks the zing of the neologism “floral promiscuity.” The two times I wandered around outside your fence I did see a lot of diversity, including unfortunately the Maltese invasive you mentioned, which is also rampant in some places in my neighborhood. (I had to look up Lolium perenne to find out it’s a European rye.) I hope we end up with more of the love ’em than of the lose ’em.

          Steve Schwartzman

          May 31, 2021 at 1:26 PM

  4. We regularly watch and read the blog of a German journalist resident in Russia and learn constantly how free they are now and how restricted we are. The tables have turned…


    May 31, 2021 at 3:33 PM

    • I don’t know. As bad as things are becoming here, I can’t imagine the Russian dictatorship is better.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 31, 2021 at 4:02 PM

      • I think we are victims of western propaganda Steve… I am not convinced Russia is a dictatorship any more. But the narrative is upheld to justify foreign policy moves.


        June 1, 2021 at 10:37 AM

        • But think about dissidents like Alexei Navalny, and the fact that Putin is essentially dictator for life (as Xi is in China).

          Steve Schwartzman

          June 1, 2021 at 10:41 AM

          • Navalny is a right-wing extremist with very little following in Russia. I have seen some of his videos from a few years ago and I cannot imagine that many Russians want him to have any amount of power. He is nasty. Putin may not be an angel, but he has done wonders for the economy and has all but smothered the power the oligarchs used to have. And when we talk about democracy…. well, look at the electoral systems in our own countries!


            June 1, 2021 at 1:31 PM

  5. What isn’t to love about a mini-meadow? On my recent trip to Nebraska, I reveled in seeing lots of mini-spreads of wildflowers along the highways and interstate. Even in Nebraska the wildflowers were just beginning to show all over the countryside.

    Before the last “corrupt” election we heard from numerous people who emigrated from socialist and communist countries speak out and warn about what they have observed happening here. None of this happened overnight. I find myself angry that even back in the 60’s and 70’s when I was a young, impressionable girl, the brainwashing was already taking place in our country. It took many years for me to question the so-called “facts” I was taught all through school. I am not sure what can be done at this point.


    June 1, 2021 at 8:14 AM

    • In Nebraska you saw wildflowers that were just beginning to show all over the countryside, while here in Austin the great spring wildflower display has been winding down.

      Illiberal ideology, which has been making inroads for decades, surged last year. I also don’t know whether it can be stopped. Nevertheless, I felt I had to speak out against it, as refugees from totalitarian countries have been doing here. My father, who escaped with his family from the Soviet Union in the 1920s, would be speaking out if he were still alive. I’ve taken on his role.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 1, 2021 at 8:36 AM

      • I appreciate the links and reading you have provided here.


        June 1, 2021 at 8:40 AM

        • Thanks for letting me know. Because of your trip you may have missed a bunch of posts, some of which also had links to good articles about freedom.

          Steve Schwartzman

          June 1, 2021 at 8:44 AM

  6. I was delighted to find several rain lilies yesterday. All were well past their prime, though not yet with fully-formed capsules, but they still were fun to see. Another find was basketflowers. They had barely-formed buds; as I recall, your basketflowers were ahead of ours last year, too.

    The paragraph you’ve included certainly is apt. I nearly came unglued when I read about the recent Lockheed-Martin ‘training session.‘ I was particularly surprised to learn that “the ‘roots of white male culture’ include traits such as rugged individualism, “a can-do attitude, hard work, operating from principles, and striving towards success — which are devastating to women and minorities.”

    Strange. I’ve never felt devastated by those traits — in myself, or in others.


    June 1, 2021 at 9:44 AM

    • The continuing rain here has kept on bringing up rain-lilies, much to my satisfaction. Let’s hope you get to see some that are freshly flowering rather than past their floral prime. Over here we’ve had basket-flowers in various stages for weeks now, also much to my delight. From what you say, you’ll have them for weeks ahead, while ours head off to seedland.

      In a surprisingly short time we’ve gone from a free nation to an indoctri-nation. Some “woke” brainwashing in the United States has gotten as bad as any in the old Soviet Union or Communist China. I know that many people are understandably wary of speaking up for fear of losing their livelihoods, yet that’s the only way to stop totalitarianism from getting more entrenched. My fantasy is that all the people in the “training” session you linked to got up en masse, called out the trainers as racists, and drove to the nearest sympathetic lawyer to file a lawsuit for discrimination. Imagine if every such company were hit with dozens or hundreds of lawsuits. The time for passivity is long past. The battle has to be taken to the enemy, and very specifically: the plaintiffs must name every “trainer” individually as a defendant. There have been a few little victories already:


      Steve Schwartzman

      June 1, 2021 at 10:18 AM

  7. That’s a beautiful meadow and a wonderful natural bouquet.


    June 1, 2021 at 4:38 PM

    • This is the kind of sight we revel in here every spring. That profusion is decreasing now as the long summer settles in.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 1, 2021 at 5:33 PM

  8. Oh heck, for California, that is light duty! We outlaw more than that. Statues of Father Junipero Serra and Christopher Columbus are out. Santa Clara is supposed to get rid of their statue of Saint Claire. It is embarrassing.


    June 2, 2021 at 12:59 AM

  9. I like this shot a lot. It has more of a composition than some other field shots, and a nice juxtaposition between the orange flowers and single white flower.


    June 5, 2021 at 5:59 PM

    • Thanks for letting me know. Profuse wildflowers are a fact of life in central Texas, so my perpetual quest is to find new ways of filling a photographic frame with them.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 5, 2021 at 7:37 PM

  10. […] recent post showed you a mini-meadow in bloom along Yaupon Dr. on the far side of my neighborhood. From the same area on June 2nd, here’s […]

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