Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography


with 34 comments

This morning Facebook popped up a post from a group I’d never heard of: World Wildflower Photography. The post showed a cemetery in Walburg that had dense bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis) in it. Walburg is a small settlement in eastern Williamson county, much of which has remained rural. Nevertheless, when I searched online I discovered the little town has two cemeteries. Noting the names on a couple of the tombstones in the post’s photographs, I searched in an online cemetery registry and determined that the right cemetery was the one belonging to St. Peter Lutheran Church (which incidentally is a mile away from its cemetery).

Despite the (much needed) rain coming down in Austin, we set out for Walburg and hoped the rain would let up by the time we reached Walburg. It did. Only a minute after we arrived, and before I’d had a chance to take a single picture, another car pulled into the driveway. A couple visiting Texas from North Carolina had also seen pictures of the bluebonnet-covered Walburg cemetery online and had come to check it out, too. Small world, no? And in the middle picture, how about the stylized flower decoration among all the real flowers?

© 2022 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 13, 2022 at 4:00 PM

34 Responses

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  1. What a beautiful resting place with all those bluebonnets!

    Lavinia Ross

    April 13, 2022 at 4:36 PM

    • An adjacent part of the cemetery has no wildflowers at all and looks so boring. I’d choose to be buried under wildflowers any time.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 13, 2022 at 5:29 PM

  2. Texas bluebonnet is one of the most excellent of lupines. It could only be better if it were Californian.


    April 13, 2022 at 4:53 PM

  3. If it’s not too far, you might want to put this place on a seasonal photographic trip. Nice shots, Steve.


    April 13, 2022 at 5:15 PM

    • There used to be a couple of even closer wildflower-laden cemeteries but they didn’t last. As you say, this is one to check out again next year. Several fantastic ones exist below San Antonio but this has been a poor wildflower spring down there this year.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 13, 2022 at 5:33 PM

    • The Walburg cemetery is about a 45-minute drive from home.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 13, 2022 at 5:40 PM

  4. Beautiful shots, Steve! I especially love the windmill one! Happy spring!


    April 13, 2022 at 5:28 PM

  5. Definitely a slice of heaven on earth.

    Eliza Waters

    April 13, 2022 at 7:19 PM

  6. That is sure an entertaining story and a precious find! I’m sure those whose beloved ones are buried in this cemetery will be happy to pay them a visit during this beautiful season!

    Alessandra Chaves

    April 13, 2022 at 7:25 PM

    • Because the death dates on a lot of the tombstones are from a long time ago, I wondered how many descendants are still in the area who would visit the cemetery. It seems that at least some are. One side of the cemetery this morning looked like what you see in these photographs. The other side, intentionally or by chance, had no wildflowers. Only a very small fraction of all American cemeteries allow wildflowers—unfortunately.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 13, 2022 at 9:43 PM

  7. What a successful trip; everything was coming up blue bonnets for you.


    April 13, 2022 at 9:58 PM

    • Yes, better than roses for a native plant photographer. Our success came at the first stop. After that we cruised the prairie for quite a while hoping for another great wildflower spread. We found a few that were okay, but not as good as the best of the things we’ve been seeing for two weeks. I already have a lead for a place to visit tomorrow.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 13, 2022 at 10:02 PM

  8. Lovely shots


    April 13, 2022 at 10:24 PM

  9. How beautiful this is ! Thanks for sharing.


    April 14, 2022 at 1:53 AM

    • You’re welcome. Are you aware of any wildflower-covered cemeteries in your country or elsewhere in Europe?

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 14, 2022 at 4:09 AM

  10. Definitely a good choice for a final resting place. Although the residents may not enjoy it as much as their visitors.

    Steve Gingold

    April 14, 2022 at 2:26 AM

    • I appreciate the insight of your second sentence. It reminds me of what Andrew Marvell wrote in the poem “To His Coy Mistress”:

      The grave’s a fine and private place,
      But none, I think, do there embrace.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 14, 2022 at 4:12 AM

  11. This is so beautiful! A wonderful place to rest and visit them too! I bet there are birds there as well. 😉💙


    April 14, 2022 at 12:16 PM

  12. Your comment about the division of the cemetery into florally-rich and somewhat barren areas reminded me of the Broadway cemeteries in Galveston. It’s so funny/sad to see the profusion of flowers in some of the cemeteries, and scalped lawn in others. I’m always interested in the German Lutheran communities in Texas, and this was a new one for me. I’ve known several Texas Wahlburgs, but none with this spelling of their name. When I was poking around, I found a fascinating survey of the people buried there. I’ve never seen this format used, but it’s really clever and useful.


    April 14, 2022 at 9:08 PM

    • I’ve never seen a document arranged that way, either. I like it.

      And yes, I remember how the Broadway cemeteries in Galveston are like this Lutheran cemetery, with wildflower areas in some places and barrenness in others. I’m afraid most people side with the mowers—alas. From what does your interest in Texas’s German Lutheran communities arise? Speaking of which, a few of the tombstones in Walburg bear German inscriptions.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 14, 2022 at 10:29 PM

      • When I was serving congregations around the state, many of the pastors and congregants had deep Texas/German roots. Some older people I knew (now gone — they were in their nineties in the 1980s) had great-grandparents who arrived from Germany at Indianola when it still was a port, before it got wiped off the map by hurricanes. One woman’s grandparents walked across the prairie to Victoria from Indianola. Beyond that, there were several Lutheran congregations in the 1980s that still regularly held services in German. One of my seminary friends once served the congregation in Dime Box, where German services still were held.


        April 14, 2022 at 10:42 PM

        • Ah, that explains it. We drove through the quaintly named Dime Box on our purposely indirect route to Lake Somerville on April 6. I suspect German services there are now a thing of the past.

          Steve Schwartzman

          April 14, 2022 at 11:03 PM

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